Tours › 2013 › Tjäktja › 28/2

Thursday 28/2

Stage map 28/2

Celebration (part one)

Horizontal distance:12 km
Vertical distance:+120 m, -280 m
Time:2 h 45 min
Lunch break:
Dinner:Steak with potato gratin and cake
Night accommodation:Cottage
Stage classification:Easy

It was much calmer in the morning, but some gusts remained, and even though the clouds were fairly low visibility was good. It was snowing when I arose, but I could see quite far along the trail in both directions just the same. I shovelled my way up to the Germans, who were just on their way to the water hole, and after feeling the fresh snow they decided that skis would be a good idea. I finished shovelling and packed up the last things, and then went to the water hole myself, which was simplified by the fresh tracks. As I checked in with the Germans and chopped some firewood the sky cleared almost entirely, letting the sun out at last. After having lunch and taking out the recycling stuff I made a final round, and then departed at 12:30.

Trail 1
Bridge 8
Water-fetching run
Sun 7
Return from
Sun 8
Stronger sun

The weather was steadily improving, and making my own way in the fresh, unbroken snow towards the Tjäktja Pass was joyful. All the surrounding slopes were also entirely white, and it was a great feeling of winter all around. However, a new haze was coming up from Alisvággi and seemed to give chase; shortly before I reached the pass it caught up, and wrapped everything in a dense snowfall. It passed on just as I climbed the pass, but there was more heavy mist further off. I didn't follow the trail down, instead choosing a route of my own that better followed the shape of the slope and the condition of the snow upon it – not to mention the complete lack of contrast.

Tjäktja Pass 1
The Pass in sight
Tjäktja Pass 2
Tjäktja Pass 3
Almost there
Geargeoaivi 1
Geargeoaivi on the other side
Čeakčavággi 1
Descending into a misty valley

Down in Čeakčavággi I first skied off the trail in the center of the valley, but when another haze reduced visibility to almost nothing I saw fit to return to the line of crosses. Some time later I was just able to discern Lulip Suoričohkka to my right, and from then on the mist lifted very, very slowly. I saw a trio of skiers going up Reaiddánjunni, and then many more – before I realized that the many more were actually reindeer (the first three definitely weren't, however). Now that I could see the lay of the land reasonably well I broke off again, rounding some low hills, and then came straight upon the Sälka cottages at 15:15.

Čeakčavággi 2
More snow
Trail 2
Trail through whiteness
Sealggá 1
Parts of Sealggá appearing
Trail 3
The Pass behind me
Fjelds 1
Stuor Reaiddávággi 1
Stuor Reaiddávággi
Čeakčavággi 3
Stuor-Jiertá emerging
Sälka cottages 1
The cottages in the valley center

Three people and two dogs, in the form of Gunilla, Britta, Janne and their respective canines, greeted me outside; Janne had hitched a ride with Erik Sarri from Nikkaluokta, who had transported out the people whom I had seen earlier. We talked for a bit and then had a snack inside before Janne went to fire up the sauna for us, while I did the same in the dog room in the oldest cottage where we resided. A wood-chopping session later it was time to enter said sauna, and we were joined by the four Germans also present.

Sälka cottages 2
Cottage and Reaiddánjunni
Sälka cottages 3
Cottages and Sealggá
Sälka cottages 4
Sauna burning
Dog 2
Simba, Janne's li'l dog

Being clean and, in Janne's case, shaven, we walked over to the wardens' cottage and were treated to a mighty fine feast complete with birthday cake. The mirth went on well into the evening, and I had time to both get very drowsy and then recover from it. Suddenly a strong wind picked up from nowhere – which felt oddly familiar – and I thought it a good idea to secure my skis properly before Janne and I retired at 21:45, putting some more logs on the fire.

Wardens 1
The Bunch


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