Tours › 2007 › Såmmarlappa › 29/8–4/9

Wednesday 29/8 – Tuesday 4/9

Week three

Wednesday 29/8

I slept rather well, going up at 06:45 in a pretty fair morning; the temperature was just above freezing, but there was no actual frost. The weather improved more after breakfast, and I stood outside talking to the German man for quite some time until he left, and then the Dutchman came in to have breakfast. When he was done I "continued" the discussion with him instead, but come 9 o'clock I was left to my own devices again. I cleaned that which needed to be cleaned inside, and did some other minor things while I was at it, before I felt the need to go for a walk around 10.

I ladled out the boat and crossed the river, walking down to my ford in nice and warm weather, but off to the west there was an approaching haze. I managed to get across the stream without getting wet, but only barely. I therefore stopped at the other side to build some more, and I had just started when from the western haze a rain fell in the sunlight; I was obviously at the edge of it, for it was moving southeastwards and in that direction it looked much more intense. I returned over the ford and followed Goahtnjunjesjåhkå upstream until the start (or end) of the ravine, and when I reached that point the drizzle stopped. That point also turned out to be an excellent blueberry spot, so I set about picking – a lot.

When I had filled another of those plastic bags I followed a faint path up the nearest slope to have a look around, returning down diagonally over a number of mires. The sky was now overcast but the cloud base was high, so visibility was unobstructed. I found another path which led straight down into the forest where the shrubs started, and from there I went my own way; finding passable passages through the vegetation was fairly easy, and eventually I ended up on the "main path" that leads due west for a while from the ferry.

Tarradalen 14
South through Tarradalen
Låptåtjåhkkå 1
Måskásjgájsse 8
Snowy Måskásjgájsse
Rain 1
Rainy Måskásjgájsse
Rain 2
More rain
Goahtnjunjesjåhkå 4
The end of the Goahtnjunjesjåhkå ravine
Måskásjgájsse 9
Higher vantage point

I was back at the cottage at 12:15, and seeing as how it was now getting a bit lighter again I had lunch out on the bench, and a veiled sun brought some warmth to it. When it was fully clouded again I went inside to listen to the sports proceedings, and then I rummaged through the shop, starting to write down the expiry dates on the various items in the inventory list. By then it had turned somewhat cold, not to mention windy and rainy, so I was glad to spend some time with the radio.

Later in the afternoon the weather swung back to fairly nice but the chilling wind remained, and as I stood in the shop debating with myself which products to offer at a reduced price to facilitate consumption two guests came from the north. To no one's surprise they were Germans, but the elder part of the pair spoke some Swedish and she had also been in Såmmarlappa before. I then made my decision and wrote some SALE! signs before returning to my room to read in the yearbooks. Another two then came out of Sarek, followed by three Swedish women who had stuck to the Padjelanta trail. After some shopping and talking with the Sarek couple it was time for dinner fortified with freshly picked blueberries...

...following which another two Sarek travellers arrived, but they wanted to press on for a bit before making camp, even though they were feeling somewhat cold. I went on reading and solving crosswords, and later in the evening I made a large batch of popcorn and put out a bowl to the guests – something which was met with great appreciation. This also expedited the social interaction between the guest groups, and the resulting conversations carried on for a long time. Outside it was still cloudy but there were also some clear parts here and there, and I went out for a little photo tour before hopping into bed at 22:15.

Evening 1

Thursday 30/8

Morning 1
Morning 2
Rain 11
Måskásjgájsse 10

During another of my usual early-morning outings I was gladdened to discover that the sky was clear and displaying a full moon; there was also a thin layer of frost in the around-freezing temperature. When I got up for real later in the morning some extra clouds had found their way to the visible firmament, but it was still very fair. The German women left at 08:45 and the Swedish ones shortly thereafter, but the couple was a few steps behind in their tasks. I did some simple chores while I waited for them to finish – I of course wanted to make use of the nice weather for a day tour – and when they left before 10 I went out with them.

Go to day tour report »

I had employed the bowl-with-treats trick again to check for daytime visitors, this time using the leftover popcorn, but again no one seemed to have disturbed anything. As usual upon returning from a day tour I lowered my body into Darrhaädno, and somehow it felt a bit less cold than last time around, the lower ambient temperature notwithstanding. The nearby haze had now lifted entirely, but off to the northwest Vuoksákvahta was shielded in mist. Soon a trio of Germans (one of whom spoke Swedish) came from the south, electing to tent outside. I baked some scones while the campers went in to prepare food, and outside the haze had returned all around.

After dinner a thick fog descended out of the west, and at long last it started to rain, during which two people came from the south. When the clouds lifted somewhat we could see that the precipitation had come in the form of snow above an altitude of about 700 m; it was already starting to clear, and the resulting world of white was rather beautiful. I felt a bit tired so I lay down to rest while listening to the radio, from which I was roused by a lone Swede coming from the north. While I talked with some of the cottage guests the rain returned, and also this time it snowed on the surrounding slopes, but now the boundary reached a bit lower. The entering of my bed followed directly upon my evening snack and the evening weather report.

Snow 1
Snow 2
Snow 3
Snow 4

Friday 31/8

Gárddevárre 5
Snow 5
Snow 6
View 13

Despite the cold weather there was no frost in the morning, but another attack from the western fog was imminent. After breakfast this resulted in more snow, and now it was also appearing in the form of flakes down at the cottage, but they all melted on contact with the ground. Still, this development was detrimental to the Germans' morale, as they had been hoping for warm weather – and their continued route would only take them higher up. The snowfall did not last for long, however, and as the clouds parted and a weak sun came out the white coating on Goahtnjunjes et al started withering away.

With everyone gone before 10:30 I collected all the burnable garbage I had stored up until then and loaded it into the little incinerator, making a fire in it and leaving it to do its work. I then did some things in the shop upon which two people came from the north, having camped by Darrhaädno just below the hut; they were obviously not staying, but they did buy some chocolate (like most everyone else...). They also mentioned that they had seen a bear the day before between Tarraluoppal and here, so there was clearly an ursine presence still even if they were less likely to appear on or near the trail anymore. The weather was still pretty cold and the wind added to that feeling, so I remained inside up until lunch.

After said meal a man appeared on the southern trail – he had actually started in Tarraluoppal that morning and passed by without my noticing, but then turned back to take some photos, and then he continued southwards. I spent the afternoon inside as well, with radio and yearbooks, eventually making a fire in the heater to fight off the growing chill. After another light snowfall the weather changed for the better although the wind remained strong, and then an older Danish couple came from the north; I had no particular problems understanding the man, but I often drew a blank on the woman's articulation. As I was taking out things needed for dinner preparation another older gentleman arrived from Tarrekaise, and I quickly identified him as Kurt, a 75-year-old fellow who is a bit of a legend in the area – he scurries to and fro along the trail around Kvikkjokk and Padjelanta many times a year, every year, for many a year, but this was the first time I had seen him on my watch.

Vuoksákvahta 5
Snow on Vuoksákvahta...
Måskásjgájsse 11
...and on Måskásjgájsse
Måskásjgájsse 12
Sun 9
The sun cometh
Cottage 13
Cottage + gårsså
Sun 10
More sun
Såmmártjåhkkå 4
Powder remaining on Såmmártjåhkkå
View 14
Strange photo effect
Måskásjgájsse 13
Måskásjgájsse again

When dinner was over more clouds approached from the north and a haze passed by, but the wind died down somewhat. I lay reading in my book while the sky cleared anew, and later on I went out to photograph, taking the ferry to the other bank to get a good perspective on Måskásjgájsse. Now it was windless and very nice, but also rather cold, so the warmth of the cottage certainly had its pull. I went to bed after 22, noting that the temperature hung just around zero.

Evening 2
Evening 3
Evening 4
Evening 5

Saturday 1/9

The weather appeared not to have changed very much come the morning, but there were some light flakes sailing down from the sky. As August was now history I summed up the monthly visitor statistics and put the sheet into an envelope which I sent with the Danes, for transfer to the closest mailbox. Kurt left before 8, but before the Danes were to depart they enlisted my help in taking a photo of them standing outside in front of The View, as this day marked their 44th wedding anniversary. When they had gone I went to the incinerator to remove the ashes, and then I sweeped the cottage floors thoroughly. The sky now held only a few patches of blue, but the risk for rain seemed low, so I went to the boat to do some fishing at 10.

While I was lying in the aforementioned vessel the sun made intermittent appearances; the clouds were breaking apart to the southwest, but before the hole had had time to reach the position of the sun more clouds moved in to fill the gap. It was a bit chilly and out of a northern haze there also came a few short and very light showers containing both rain and snow. After a while I pulled myself all the way across and jostled my way through the bushes to a bank of stones exposed by the receding water, where I stood casting into the current. While I was doing so I saw a lone guy on the trail from Tarraluoppal, but he only stopped long enough to read the distance figures on the signpost beside the cottage before going on south.

A new haze was approaching, bringing more short showers, but behind it to the north the sky was mostly clear. I then continued a bit upstream to a small parallel watercourse which is marked on the map, close to which there was another stony bank to cast from. Just then the sun came out and it was nice and warm, and I also had a good view of the cottage from where I stood (nothing went on there, though). Since I had brought a food pack I decided to seize the opportunity before what I could tell was an imminent reappearance of occluding clouds.

Fishing rod 2
Gone fishin'
Darrhaädno 15
Low water
Darrhaädno 16
Cottage 14
My home
Rain 12
Rain to the north...
Rain 13
...and the south
Cottage 15
Cottage in mixed weather
Darrhaädno 17
Calm view
Panorama 8
Panorama over Tarradalen seen from the brink of Darrhaädno, with centered cottage

I went on fishing for a while, enduring more light showers borne by a westerly haze which after it had passed hung around Darregájsse for quite some time, but finally I returned towards the ferry, this time using the easy route. I did not pass the river immediately, though, but instead I continued south along the brink and stood looking at the camping headland, waiting for the sun to show itself again to get some good photos. When this had occurred I entered the boat, trying my luck with the rod for a while longer before I finally yielded and went back to the cottage at 15.

Cottage 16
Headland 1
Camping headland
Måskásjgájsse 14
Nice blend of colors

A group of five middle-aged Germans then arrived, and they shopped like there was no tomorrow and then set about preparing a snack for themselves. They also told me that they had seen an elk along the trail which was very keen on being captured on film (or memory card), offering a range of poses for its excited audience. A bit later two people came from Sarek and another two from Tuottar, and they all stayed. It was now very fair outside and most of the guests chose to do whatever they were doing outdoors, so I could have dinner in peace.

Not long thereafter a Swedish guy came walking from Njunjes, and he alerted me that he belonged to another group of five – this would bring the number of residents up to 14, which was the highest during the whole summer season (there had been at most 11 a few times before). Soon enough two more members of this group arrived, and I made room for them among the other guests. Eventually the last two also reached Såmmarlappa, and there was a bustle in the kitchen as everyone made dinner at once. I kept to my side and read in the yearbooks, and by the time I had my evening snack "only" the two quintets remained up. The late evening was cold and a bit cloudy but only darkness hampered visibility; it was entirely calm and some stars could be seen. I made my rounds and then went to bed as the last person after 22:30.

Rain 14
Evening 6

Sunday 2/9

When I exited my bed at 06:45 it was snowing from very low clouds, and it had obviously been doing so for a while already; the boundary between green and white was just atop the closest woodland hill, and radio reception was worse than usual. The Sarek travellers left around 07:45 while everyone but the other pair was still having breakfast. Later in the morning the snow turned into a drizzle instead, with the effect that the white stuff that lay on the lower slopes started to get washed away. By the time the German group left, however, it was back to flakes, and about half an hour later the Swedes also departed directly followed by the remaining two people.

I went through the garbage bins sorting out the things which should not be where they were – not an unusual occurrence after such a large number of visitors at once – and then sweeped the cottage. Then I went out to the shop to put up some more signs indicating reduced price, and I brought in the food items I had kept in the earth cellar to the vestibule (which was getting cold enough now), for easier access. I also started on the list of things that should be done before closing, and scrubbed the floor in the common room properly. Outside the weather was rather dreary, and the snow had shifted back to rain, so I spent the remaining time until lunch listening to athletics on the radio.

Snow 7
Snow 8
Cottage 17
Snow 9
Snow 10
Snow 11

In the afternoon two Dutch people came from the north; since they had been tenting along the way they were rather wet, and they jumped at the chance to stay indoors. I passed the time with crosswords and yearbooks until another two campers arrived – they were part of a group of five Germans, and even though the cost of accommodation caused some frowns they were eager not to spend another night outside, but they said that they would have to confer with their comrades before making the final decision. Once the stragglers showed up that decision was reached quickly, and they all came in.

Then one more pair knocked on the door, but they only wanted to shop and pause inside for a bit. They also asked if I had any info on where it was possible to pass the reindeer fence that goes up the northwestern outrunner of Vássjábákte as they were planning on entering Njoatsosvágge, preferably through the pass between Vássjábákte and Skiejákvárásj. Since I had performed just such a crossing the year before I related how things were then, but I also suggested that they inquire as to present conditions in Tarraluoppal; the wardens within the national park are usually members of the local Sámi villages and would likely have a bit more intimate knowledge on the subject. The rain continued after another dinner-with-blueberries, and I lay in my bed relaxing with the help of my book and the radio all the while until everyone else had entered their respective beds.

Monday 3/9

Vuoksák 2

The rain went on through the night and into the morning as well, and the clouds were rather low. After breakfast the intensity increased and it gradually turned into snow, and the slopes began growing white again. As I was out of fresh bread I started another baking round while the Dutchman and Dutchwoman readied themselves to face the elements once more. The group took it easy, though, even hanging their tent up to dry, and one of them went on a little fishing tour. When lunchtime drew near there was only a drizzle outside and it was also somewhat lighter although the clouds stayed low. I did some light cleaning in the auxiliary room before I ate, and finally the Germans started packing.

When the rain stopped I went out to ladle out the boat; the amount of water I had to displace was the highest yet. I then looked over the contents of my pantry and made a loose plan for the remaining days, and at long last – 13:50 – the German group saw fit to start the stage of the day. After they had gone I did some cleaning in the cottage, took out the trash, and continued ticking off tasks on the list. Later on a couple arrived from the north, one of whom was a fellow warden not currently on assignment.

Another four then turned up – they were to camp further down the trail but wanted to buy a few things first, and I talked a bit with their "leader", telling her about what campsites there were. Towards the end of this another pair of Swedes emerged from the forest, and they went to the shop together with the other warden and his wife. After a collective dinner the sun showed itself for the first time for two days and the clouds were lighter and higher across the board. Not much more happened that evening except for a few showers, and by 22:00 we were all in bed.

Goahtnjunjes 2
The sun breaking through
Candles 1
A warm light inside

Tuesday 4/9

When I opened my eyes just in time for the weather report the sky contained nothing but cloud, but most of the surrounding area was in full view. The warden couple left at 08:15, before which I stood talking some with them on the porch, but the other two took their time. A patch of blue had now appeared in the northwest and the risk for rain seemed remote, so I washed some clothes and hung them out to dry. It continued to clear mainly to the west, and just as the other two were leaving I packed my little rucksack for what I judged would be the last longer tour of the season, walking down to the ferry at 10:15 with the intent of climbing Vuoksák.

Go to day tour report »

The man outside the cottage turned out to be – wait for it – a German, but he had a Swedish companion who was currently inside. I spoke some with both of them in turn; they would be continuing to Tarrekaise today as they were somewhat short of time. When I was alone I lowered myself into Darrhaädno (now it was definitely colder again), and then I sat down to have a snack. After a short span of time a trio consisting of a thitherto unknown couple and the very well known Kurt came walking on the trail; Kurt had been to Stáloluokta and back, today coming all the way from Tuottar.

Everyone had dinner in due course, and in the middle of my washing-up I chanced to look out the window and my eyes fell on a lone man who was approaching at a leisurely pace; he turned out to be another tour guide of STF's and we conversed a bit outside. He was rather impressed by the exploits of the elderly Kurt, whom he had first seen going in the other direction on the trail between Stáloluokta and Tuottar, and then been overtaken by earlier this day after Tarraluoppal.

Måskásjgájsse 15
White Måskásjgájsse
Window 1
Looking out my window
View 15
More autumny now

The evening was a very fair albeit chilly one, and I brought the partially damp laundry inside for the night. There Kurt was "educating" the two people he had come in with about both the region he knows like no other as well as practical things like how to maintain a good fire in an iron heater. I went on reading in the yearbook, throwing frequent glances out the window at the pretty dusk sky. I had noticed the early signs of an approaching front to the west, and by the time I went to bed it was come, pulling a high blanket across the sky.

Panorama 9
Evening 7
Evening 8
Evening 9


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