This was a day of work, consisting of the washing of clothes and windowpanes. The latter was an arduous affair as the many mosquitos in the early season had left marks everywhere, and since Lars had not done anything about it everything really stuck to the glass. I hung the wet clothes to dry in the wind outside and attacked the interior window surfaces, using the radio to alleviate the boredom. This task plus a thorough cleaning of the common areas occupied all the time until lunch, and afterwards I started with the exterior panes. My clothes were drying nicely but they still had some time to go, and all the while the weather changed between overcast and not fully overcast but there was no rain; the day was well chosen for the activities at hand.
Later in the afternoon two people came from the north and bought some things before going on – I advised them about suitable campsites – and shortly thereafter another two arrived from the south, but they continued northwards at once. A bit later a group of three Germans came by, also with no intention of staying – they were planning on entering Sarek through Álggavágge and then walk on the western/southern side of Rapadalen towards Kvikkjokk. Since the terrain along that route is rather difficult – especially the part below Bielloriehppe, which in Swedish fjeld lore is known as Infernot (The Inferno), and the outright perilous Gådokjåhkå later on – and since they themselves had not been to Sarek before I did my best to dissuade them from this itinerary, instead arguing in favor of taking the Smájllájåhkå bridge at Skárjá and staying on the path on the eastern/northern side of Ráhpaädno to Aktse.
In the end they resolved to try for one of the "shortcut" valleys of Lullihavágge, Gaskasvágge or Jiegŋavágge, thereby sidestepping The Inferno and emerging near the Gådokjåhkå bridge high up the slope, finally to return to Kvikkjokk via Boarek – an approach with a much more realistic chance of success, even though the osier around Stuor-Irkes and the glacier streams from the Oalgásj massif might yet cause trouble, so I reminded them of the alternatives. One of them then bought a total of eight postcards before they left; I hope they had a nice tour without insurmountable hardships down the line.
Being alone again I had dinner, after which the clouds started breaking up, and I spent some time outside before a few remaining mosquitos drove me inside again. I spent the evening by reading and looking over maps of other regions, treating myself with some popcorn. I could see that it was raining up in Fierrovágge, so I brought in the still slightly damp clothes and hung them in the common room; not too long thereafter a short shower passed by. As I went to bed at 22:15 for the second consecutive "empty night" the cloud cover was unbroken, and it felt darker than usual.
In the middle of the night nature called, and on my quick visit outside I noted that it was not cold, there was no wind, and the clouds were scattering, revealing a number of stars. I then slept till the morning weather report on the radio, at which time the actual weather was of a similar nature as earlier. Since it was growing more clear as the morning progressed I decided to go for a shorter tour on the other side of the river, which I started at 9.
From the ferry landing I proceeded southwards along the brink; the sun was veiled but it was rather warm anyway, and among the shrubs a good many flying things were to be found still. Once I reached Goahtnjunjesjåhkå I started "constructing" a ford by placing medium-sized rocks in suitable places – a process which was not very easy, even though I managed to get a workable passage about three quarters of the way eventually; the last portion was deeper than the rest, and I obviously needed to finish the job from the other side. This was something which would have to wait, however, for standing in the stream for so long had finally taken its toll on my boots, and some moisture found its way into the right one.
I then left the water-work behind and walked diagonally across the more or less flat ground beneath Goahtnjunjes itself, during which I heard a helicopter pass; from what I could tell in among the trees it set down somewhere in the vicinity of the Vuoksák rapids before returning south, flying low. I followed a reindeer path through high grass and the like just under the first rises, but then I turned up one of the lower ones, continuing upwards over some mires; the ground was growing more autumn-like now, but so far only a few leaves on the trees were turning yellow.
I was now high enough that I could see to the abovementioned rapids, and using my binoculars I concluded that I had been right – on the open expanse before the rapids I counted four people with a tent-hut and what looked like a rigid-inflatable boat. I continued up onto a bare hilltop just above the tree line, from where I had a good outlook over both the campers and the cottage – and by observing the latter I became aware of a couple of hikers arriving from the north who paused on its porch.
Sitting on the hilltop I ate the lunch I had brought in the little rucksack, turning my back against a steady wind coming out of the southwest. In that direction the clouds that had been hanging around Stájggá were getting lower, and it was apparently raining in Gurávágge. As I observed the quartet walked off in the direction of the rapids, from what I could tell carrying fishing rods, and the cottage visitors left too. I remained where I was for about half an hour, but then darker clouds were approaching from the southwest; Stájggá had become entirely concealed and Darregájsse had acquired a cap. I went more or less straight down, following an especially long ridge into the forest, where I found a few cloudberries. I ended up close to the campers' expanse, from where I crisscrossed through the shrubs via open streaks, coming out onto the dry heathland just south of the ferry.
Not long after I had returned at 12:45 a light shower appeared from the southwest, and being inside already I fired up the stove in the common room and hung the boots above it to dry. Around 15 two guests-to-be arrived in a light rain, putting an end to the lonely nights as it were, and while the new arrivals dipped themselves in Darrhaädno two more came, with whom I sat talking on the porch. Then another pair appeared – it was their intention to tent nearby, and after talking things over among themselves they went to the headland. It was now raining in full, and after a communal trip to the shop two Germans arrived from Tuottar, one of whom spoke Swedish. During my dinner preparations yet another pair came in from Tarrekaise, but they wanted to sleep in their tent outside.
At 19:30 the total was increased by two once more when a couple of hikers with umbrellas came from the vicinity of Njunjes; they were unsure whether they would tent or not, but eventually they chose to come inside. The headland people also came in to shop and prepare food, but that appeared to be the end of the bustle for now. The rain had stopped but the wind was changing, bringing keen gales. Most of the guests were preparing to retire for the night, but the tenting crowd remained in the cottage until late, playing cards. Eventually, as I started blowing out the candles on the other tables et cetera they "caught the hint" and wrapped things up, and I could go to bed at 22:45.
The morning came with partially clear skies, sunlight upon Gárddevárre and only a light wind. The guests were leaving at different intervals, and I picked up the inventory again; the campers came in to have breakfast and given their (lack of) speed I knew that I would be "stuck" until lunch, so I set about baking some more bread while a shower or two passed outside. Finally at noontime the last ones left, and after doing the cleaning they were supposed to have done I sat down to eat myself.
It was now sunny and rather fair, but the northerly winds came in strong bursts, and following a short bout of sun-rain two Germans came from the south: an older man who spoke very poor English, and a young woman who spoke pretty good Swedish. Some time later a lone Norwegian man arrived, and I talked a bit with him. Another single hiker then came and bought quite a few things before following my direction to the headland, but after that I felt that I had to stretch my legs a bit as the weather had now cleared once more.
Thus I set out without specialized equipment or food pack at 15, taking the ferry across the river. I then followed a southbound path, seeing the camper start pitching his tent on the eastern side, and I again ended up at Goahtnjunjesjåhkå, although this time I found myself at the "ford" I had used during the Rivggotjåhkkå tour. There I noticed an increasing amount of drops that rode in on the wind, for right above there was no cloud which could have given rise to them, and one of the familiar rainbows soon appeared. I cut across the land through the shrubs and then followed the base of the rises to the meadow/heathland/mire close to Vuoksákjåhkå.
There I had a surprise, for the tent hut was gone – not to mention the four campers and their boat; conceivably they had packed up earlier in the day and paddled off down the river while I wasn't looking. It was pretty fair but a shower was approaching, so I headed back home, this time trying out the way close to Darrhaädno; this came with another surprise, as finding my way between the shrubs was much easier than expected, barring the final portion which took some investigation before I found a suitable route. A drizzle had come into being towards the end, and while I was in the boat it increased slightly, but I made no hurry.
Inside the cottage there was a new arrival – whom I had already seen from the other bank – and soon another single walker came. So far everyone was German, but later on a couple of Swedes reached us from the north. Now there were large clouds about all the surrounding peaks and the weather changed back and forth between sun and rain, with some substantial gales thrown into the mix. After dinner I started reading through the pile of SFK yearbooks that lay on a shelf in the warden's room while outside a strong northwesterly wind howled and the clouds expanded. By 21 everyone else had gone to bed, and just about that time the rain-bringing mist had left Såmmarlappa behind, followed by a rapidly clearing sky resulting in a very nice evening for my enjoyment before bedtime.
The following morning was, however, completely overcast, with a low cloud base to boot, but at least it was windless. The world championships in athletics had just started, so I spent most of the morning, forenoon and early afternoon listening to that on the radio. All the guests departed in sequence well before 10, when the headland-camper came in to leave some trash before continuing; he was planning on following the trail to Pieskehaure and beyond. After his departure a heavy rain started, and for the rest of the day it was on and off in that regard – but mostly on.
Suddenly I caught sight of a reindeer that was standing at the edge of the water on the other side of Darrhaädno, and as I watched it swam across to the "stone beach" below the "outlook bench"; it stood calmly looking at me for quite some time before an arriving guest scared it off. This guest was only interested in getting something from the shop, but right behind her were two other Germans who wanted to stay. I had an afternoon snack and conversed with the guests, and then two older men came from Tarrekaise, bringing a written response to the letter I had sent via hiker-mail some days earlier.
After dinner it looked as though it was about to clear for a while and I went out for a short stroll; this was however only a temporary change, for soon enough the blue patches were covered up anew. Inside the two Germans tried to start a fire in the baking oven of the stove, which was met with very limited success and quite a bit of smoke since there is no outlet from that compartment, and while suppressing a snicker I gently put them straight.
After 21 two Britons came from Sarek, having walked from Akka to Aktse and then through Njoatsosvágge. They shopped and then went to survey the headland, but after some discussion they decided that they wanted to make use of the cottage and tent just outside instead. Having pitched their tent they came inside to eat and to dry their shoes, while the others were going to bed. I could then have my evening snack and continue reading in the yearbooks as I waited for the Britons – who were becomingly quiet – to finish their activities. At 23:15 they finally exited the cottage, entering quite a hard wind outside, and having seen them out I jumped straight into bed.
The wind had subsided a great deal during the night and there was no rain, but the clouds remained. The younger Germans left at 09:30 and half an hour later the older ones headed back towards Tarrekaise, while the Britons had breakfast inside and I listened to the competitions and fashioned some fly lines for fishing purposes. The weather was now improving to the west, whereas over Darregájsse the clouds were impenetrable, but they were just high enough to reveal that the first snow had fallen on Måskásjgájsse. Just after the final two had left a group of three Finns came out of the north, having made a circuit via a very difficult parallel alternative to Linné's Route and a quick peek into Njoatsosvágge. Their Swedish was rather good and we talked for a while before they continued along the trail towards Kvikkjokk at noon. I took the time to clean the common room and then had lunch...
...in the middle of which a middle-aged German man arrived from Tarraluoppal. He intended to stay despite the early arrival time, and he also alerted me to an approaching group consisting of four adults and three children. It was now pretty fair and nice albeit windy, so I set out on a walk at 13:15, going to the ford construction site. There I found that the water had risen with the recent rains, so I waded across in a pair of sandals "belonging" to the cottage (which saved me from getting my own sandals wet) and started dumping rocks into the stream from the southern side. I didn't keep it up for long, though, as my main objective was something else – I wanted to see if I could find the cloudberry field I had chanced upon when I was returning from Rivggotjåhkkå. I located the small tributary brook by which I knew the field lay and proceeded upstream, and after a while I saw the familiar orange bulges appear by my feet.
I dumped the little pack I was carrying, brought out a plastic and started picking – there were large amounts all around, and collecting the valued berries was a simple matter of proceeding from one plant to the next. As I was picking the weather cleared for real and it got rather warm, and during periods of non-wind some gnats and the like made their presence known. When I had scoured the area in question to my liking, gleaning what was ripe I started walking down again, bringing a shock-full bag (about 2.5 l) of yummy cloudberries back with me. I walked out on a ridge overlooking Goahtnjunjesjåhkå from which I followed an intermittent path of the faint variety to the "upper ford", where I put on the sandals and walked across, returning to the cottage around 15:45.
The German was sitting against the lee wall enjoying the sun, and he told me that no one had come or gone while I was absent. I had a quick-and-cold bath and then put on my shorts for what I presumed would be the last time that season, sitting down on the bench with a crossword while the other man shaved. When the sun passed into some high veils and the temperature started dropping as a result I went inside, and shortly afterwards three people came from the north with a desire to raise a tent, so I sent them to the headland.
Dinner came and went while the veils spread across the sky. Two Swedes came from the south, and then the promised group of seven arrived, which brought the guest number of this August above that of last August. Some joint and rather extensive shopping followed, and after everyone had eaten I offered some cloudberries to all interested parties and spoke for quite some time with the Swedes, both inside and outside. In the latter domain it was back to overcast but also calm and pleasant albeit somewhat chilly. In the cottage, on the other hand, it was warm and cozy as the stove was lit, and everyone including me went to bed in good time.
I got up at 07:30 at which time the clouds were low and a light rain was falling; the German man had already departed and the two Swedes soon left as well. After breakfast I went out to the shop to look things over, noting what was about to run out and thinking that before long I should start offering sale on some items. As the septet packed up the rain stopped and the clouds lifted, bringing a few glimpses of the sun all around. One of the mothers in the group purchased the last large chocolate bar and then they sat down on the porch, apparently waiting for some of their number who had gone out on some kind of lengthy morning tour.
As for me, after some chores I went down to the boat and pulled myself to the middle of the river and started fishing, experiencing a mix of weak sun and some drops that drifted in from a northwestern region of rain. At 12:15 the group was finally reunited and filed out, and I returned inside to have lunch and listen to the athletics not long thereafter, not having caught squat.
It took only a short time before a shower started, during which a couple of Swedes came from the north, and then the rainfall increased in intensity. Later in the afternoon another two people came in, wanting to have a sheltered break, and after them two more Swedes arrived with the intention of staying for the night; they elected to cleanse themselves in the river at once, and whether it was intentional or not this occurred during a time of especially hard rain. Regarding the two pausing people, they had discovered a buried bear inside Padjelanta, and since this is indicative of foul play they wanted info on how to contact the county administration to report their find (from looking through the local press after my assignment I could tell that they were successful in doing so).
Then another two Swedes came followed by three Germans, the latter having a desire to sleep indoors, but since they had no applicable membership to show which would make them eligible for a discount they balked at the charges involved, and ultimately decided to put up their tents outside and just use the cottage for the preparing of food and the drying of clothes, which is much cheaper. I talked some with the bear-finders before they went on around 16:45; by then all precipitation had ceased and the sun was to be seen amid some blue sky.
The evening came with many a cloud but also large patches of clear sky, and it was slowly getting better. I offered cloudberries to all who were present, which was gladly accepted, and then I talked for a long time with some of the Swedes. I had an early evening snack, and now it was almost entirely clear outside save for some clouds that hung over Darregájsse, and it was still and rather cold. Only the Germans were still up, and as soon as they went out to their tents I turned in too.
I slept well through the night, waking up to a calm, cold and semi-clear morning. Two of the pairs departed as early as 07:45, and I just had time to write a postcard to my former colleagues at Kebnekaise for conveyance with the third one. Outside it was getting better all the while, and as there was still no movement in the tents I started preparing for a day tour, writing a note with the usual "please clean up" points to the campers as I wanted to get as much out of the day as possible. I never had to put out that note, however, for just as I was about to do so its intended readers stepped in, and I could talk to them face to face instead. Having done so I then started on what promised to be a great day tour towards Buojdes at 09:15.
Upon returning I saw a pair of metal walking sticks on the porch, and inside I found their owner in the form of a lone woman who was of Austrian origin but also a longtime resident of Sweden. After saying hello I cleaned myself in the river – and whether I was imagining it or not it felt somewhat colder this time around than any of the previous instances. I had an afternoon snack while more and more clouds were appearing in the sky, and off to the northwest there was a haze.
Then a single Dutchman bearing a striking resemblance to Arvin Sloane from the TV series Alias came from Tuottar, and after a brief talk he went to the headland to tent. A short time later another lone man, a German this time, came from the same direction, but he wanted to stay in the cottage. By then the sun was a mere point of light in a thick veil covering the sky, none of the usually visible peaks were longer visible, and while I was speaking to the German man it started to rain.
I then had dinner together with him, continuing our conversation, and when the Austrian-Swede returned from a berry-picking foray she joined in as well. When the clouds lifted somewhat from Vuoksákvahta and Darregájsse it was clear that they had deposited some fresh snow upon them; Måskásjgájsse already had a white cap, but now the boundary reached much lower. The Dutchman came in to shop and eat, and I spoke some with him too. The evening was a calm one spent counting money, doing crosswords and reading yearbooks, and I was feeling the strain of the activities of the day in my knees. The sky was clearing again and it was getting colder fast, so I fired up the iron heater in my room, forgoing the gas-powered device this time. The guests went to bed one after another, and I followed suit at 22.