Tours › 2005 › Northern Kungsleden › Day 4

Tuesday 9/8

Stage map 4

Alesjaure – Vistas

Horizontal distance:17.5 km
Vertical distance:+140 m, -320 m
Time:6 h 15 min
Lunch break: 30 min
Dinner:Beef with mashed potatoes
Night accommodation:Cottage
Stage classification:Easy
Map points:Alesjaure, Vistas

I woke up at 06:45, courtesy of my clock, but feeling tired I opted to stay in bed for another hour. Once I got up, I noticed that the ground was all wet, so it had obviously rained during the night. The valley-clouds from last night were still present, but had now descended even further. I had breakfast, and then set out at 09:45.

The trail to the Vistas cottages went via the Sámi encampment, breaking off from the north-heading trail along Alisjávri's eastern shore. Or, at least, that's what the map says, but I just couldn't find the junction; there were, not surprisingly, paths going in all directions within the encampment itself, where the only living creature I encountered was a dog that looked me over with a mixture of curiousness and caution. After a while, I did find some kind of path heading in the right direction, upwards between Visttasvárri and Doaresoaivi, so I followed that. It was sparsely marked with cairns of varying definiteness, and not very well trodden, but eventually, after ascending for a while, it joined up with a decidedly more clear trail coming from my right-hand side – I must have passed it down at the encampment.

Bridge 1
The bridge over Aliseatnu
Alesjaure cottages 3
The Alesjaure cottages, from the other side
Hut 1
A hut in the Sámi encampment
Unna Visttasčohkka 2
Unna Visttasčohkka in clouds

Shortly after that, upon reaching Bajip Čazajávri, I entered the clouds, and visibility dropped to perhaps a hundred meters. I didn't last long, though, since I came out of it before the Tjatjajaure hut at Vuolip Čazajávri, but it had started to rain lightly. Having passed the highest point of the day, I embarked upon the descent into the vast Visttasvággi, which maintained a ceiling of cloud. Just at the steep slope down to the bridge over Moarhmmájohka, I met a couple coming up from the valley. They asked me if it was far to Alesjaure, and were most happy when I told them that they had come more than halfway; I estimated that about 6 km remained to them. I made a short break at the bridge and put on the rucksack's rain cover.

Tjatjajaure hut 1
The deteriorated Tjatjajaure tourist hut
Moarhmmá massif 2
The Moarhmmá massif, still clouded
Visttasvággi 1
First (almost-)view of Visttasvággi
Bridge 2
The bridge over...
Moarhmmájohka 1
Visttasvággi 2
Visttasvággi, from its floor

Not much of interest transpired then, seeing as how the trail presented few difficult or otherwise noteworthy features, and the cloud base stayed low. That was rather a shame, since Visttasvággi is otherwise a valley of great contrasts: rich green vegetation at the bottom, between dramatic high alpine slopes – not much of which was visible. I paused for lunch at 13:00 right north of where the trail crossed one of the larger brooks flowing into Visttasjohka. The rain, which wasn't much to begin with, had long since ceased.

The last part of the walk progressed through periodically dense woodland, where the full implication of the Germans' predicament were brought home to me: nothing but mud. Going was tough, and wet. Feeling rather impatient about reaching the cottages, I was relieved to find a sign claiming 0.5 km as the remaining distance. Sure enough, before long (at 16:00) I almost walked into the wall of the outhouse; the cottage site was almost completely concealed by the forest when coming from that direction.

Visttasjohka 1
Visttasjohka, flowing sideways (!)
Visttasvággi 3
Some more...
Visttasvággi 4
...shots of...
Visttasvággi 5
...overcast Visttasvággi
Tree 1
A lone tree
Pool 1
Interestingly colored pool
Visttasvággi 6
Visttasvággi again
Visttasjohka 2
Visttasjohka, with the ravine of Unna Vistasaš
Trail 1
A sample of Visttasvággi's luxuriant vegatation

When I arrived at the cottages, there was already a couple there, plus a tent across the stream. The woman of the couple was having problems with one of her shoes – the outer sole had disengaged! Luckily for her, someone had forgotten/left behind a pair of moderately fitting boots at the last cottage they had visited, so she got backup. She intended to use the "new" pair during the muddy part the day after (they were headed for Alesjaure), and then switch to the crippled ones on better ground. I wonder how that went.

I talked for quite a bit with the warden, who as it happens was also from Östersund. During our chat, two guys came from the lower part of the valley and joined the conversation, which then drifted towards hunting, fishing and the climbing of peaks. They weren't staying, though; they just bought some supplies and then went on towards the Nallo cottage. When the weather is clear, one has a splendid view through Stuor Reaiddávággi towards Nállu due west of the Vistas cottages, but as it was, only the closest part of that valley could be seen.

I spent some time considering whether to spend the night in a bed inside or in the tent outside, but finally decided upon the (dry) comforts of the cottage. A group of three arrived soon after, and they pitched a tent down by the bridge over Visttasjohka. It looked as though it was about to clear for a while, with prolonged sightings of both sun and blue sky, and I was beginning to regret my decision; it wasn't for nothing that I had brought the tent in the first place. But the clouds soon reaffirmed their hold on the land, after allowing just the quickest of views of the peak of Nállu.

Unna Reaiddávággi 1
The mouth of Unna Reaiddávággi
Visttasvággi 7
Looking north along Visttasvággi
Reaiddáčohkka 1

The couple had prepared dinner at around 17:30, but found that the amount of food generated was way too much for them, so they offered that which they did not want or need to me. Since it is always a shame to throw away food – especially in the fjelds, when you have carried it all with you – I accepted, thereby saving a package myself. My benefactors planned on making an early start the next day, so they called it a night while the evening was still young, but I stayed up reading.

At 21, there were four newcomers, having walked the 33 km distance from Nikkaluokta in two late days; they had started this day's journey at 14:00, having slept in the tent until 11:00. After chatting a bit with the warden, they went across the stream to tent among the abundant camp sites prepared there.

Myself, I was beginning to appreciate having chosen the cottage over the tent, as it made drying the various wet items easier, and more comfortable. I had a robust evening snack, complemented with some crispy thingies I found in the "take what you want, leave what you don't" compartment, and read some more before crawling into bed at 22:15. By that time the clouds had descended again, reaching their lowest level yet.

Vistas cottages 1
The old Vistas cottage...
Vistas cottages 2
...and the new one


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