As noted elsewhere it was finalized towards the end of the preceding winter that I would be acting as warden of the Såmmarlappa cottage in Tarradalen northwest of Kvikkjokk this autumn. Since this was to be my first warden assignment I was of course very excited about it, and a good deal of advance thought went into it all. I had not been to that particular cottage before, but I had come somewhat close to it from two different directions the previous summer, so I knew the larger area fairly well.
Regarding practical considerations, most of the provisions for the assignment were acquired via proxy in May, and then conveyed to the cottage by helicopter – usually the acquisition process takes place when there is still enough snow to drive stuff out with snowmobiles, but since I personally entered the equation pretty late that option had already passed. In just this case it did not matter that much, however, since the STF caretaker was flying out to Såmmarlappa in June anyway, to set up one of its hallmarks – a ferry over Darrhaädno, right by the shore of which the cottage lies.
This ferry also makes the place much more interesting for prospective wardens, who by the very nature of their mission spend a long time in that place, as it opens up the west side of the river for exploration. Since the nearest bridge is about 10 kilometers away one would otherwise be confined to the east side, which consists of dense woodland and steep mountainsides, whereas the opposing side is flatter and more open, which makes for a much wider range of choices for day tours and walks. Lastly, personal transport is only provided to the point where the roads end – Kvikkjokk in my case – and from there one has to walk the remaining distance to one's place of work.
At the start of the summer I called Lars, the warden whom I would be relieving, to decide upon a time of meeting and to talk about Såmmarlappa in general. The main building itself is from the 1960s, but it was renovated on the outside three years ago and on the inside two years ago, which makes it appear very fresh in all respects. Earlier the warden's room had been a small space offering rather spartan living conditions, but during the interior facelift it was exchanged for what used to be a guest room with six beds, thereby increasing the site's attractiveness in the minds of applying wardens at the cost of two beds for guests (going from 18 to 16). Another positive thing I learnt was that Såmmarlappa has an earth cellar, which makes summer engagements easier in the way of what kinds of food can be kept.
The packing list was of course different compared to a regular tour, but I'm not going to give all the boring details here. Instead I will content myself with noting that apart from the usual stuff – which now excluded things like tent, camping stove, sleep mat and sleeping bag – I also brought all the clothes I would be needing, a small rucksack to be used for day tours, fishing gear, and a number of fresh food items unsuitable for long storage. The combined weight of the latter was pretty much the same as what the food module usually weighs, and the total weight of everything I was to convey using muscle force exceeded 25 kg, out of which around 23.5 kg were on my back.
Since my maternal grandmother lives in Jokkmokk which I would be passing I arranged to stop there for a day on my way up from Östersund, and as fate had it my uncle would also be making a visit at the same time, being on his way down from an STF tour in Sarek. Jokkmokk was also where I bought all the vegetables, cheese, eggs and the like I wanted to bring, and then off I was to Kvikkjokk where I would be spending the night before starting the trek.
As the bus, which held only a few people, passed into the west the weather deteriorated; in Årrenjarka a light drizzle had started, and when we were approaching Kvikkjokk the clouds almost seemed low enough to be touched. I got my own room at the fjeld station and immediately proceeded to make dinner, which I ate in the outlook room that on a clear day would have provided a good view of Bårdde. A momentary break in the lowest cloud layers revealed parts of Vállevárre and Nammásj, but then it was back to white all around. I made some preparations for the morrow and then went to bed at 22, listening to the roar of the mighty Gamajåhkå below my window.
Here, then, follows an abridged account of the events during the month I spent in and around Såmmarlappa, in every type of weather, illustrated by the usual range of pictures. Day tours have been placed in their own reports, which are linked to from the relevant pages.