I slept well until the wee hours, and then slumbered on and off until 06:15 when I had set the alarm. The sky was about halfway clear, with lower clouds off to the west, and a wind was blowing. On the inside of the outer door of the building I found a written forecast which spoke of rain in the afternoon and considerably worse conditions on Sunday, so my good timing continued to hold. I packed up, had breakfast, and left around 07:45 in the first rays of the sun which had just cleared DarregŠjsse.
My body felt good despite the demanding stage of the preceding day, and the rucksack was hardly noticeable anymore. The first bit shifted between stony and muddy, or both, but then it got drier before the larger rocks beneath Hilldo took by. Walking was comfortable in the cool air, but the sun was growing in power and was only partially obscured by foliage. The meadowlands that followed were welcoming in the warming light, and the high vegetation was both lively and dry. I had passed one tent in the forest right at the start, and now I passed another one at Luoppal – as is usual there.
Going up onto the outrunner involved a series of duckboards followed by slanting rock faces that were, thankfully, also mostly dry. At the heath-covered top the wind cooled me off and the views were better than before – more like my first visit to this spot. After saying goodbye to Tarradalen (literally, in fact) I proceeded across the rockier portion to the eastern edge, below which the stones were wetter and I had to walk with increased caution. Down in the forest it was back to leafy, and after meeting a single hiker going up I emerged next to the Njunjes cottage.
There was no one about, so after a short break involving chocolate and water – and checking for travel options, now that I was back in signal-land – I went on eastwards. Almost at once I met two people, and then I found myself surrounded by trees again – which now included a few coniferous ones. Here the path was rather good, and shortly after meeting another couple I reached the jungle at Njunjes, which was now on the verge of withering.
The continued path was still good (and wide), but was growing stonier in the small scale as the coniferous component increased beside it. At the spread of NjunjesjŚhkŚ I temporarily lost it, however, but quickly found my way back at the main suspension bridge over the main course. The new trail section appeared in slightly better condition this time around, but still lacked a fair bit of use. When the trail passed close to Darrhašdno a bit later I decided that it was time for lunch, and went out onto the cliffs beside a white water portion at 10:45, enjoying the warmth of the sun.
Having eaten I entered a reservation for my return journey, and then got back on the track, maintaining a fairly high tempo. The path shifted between nice and somewhat stony, and often had a dry character with many needle-bearing trees on the sides, with a few mires in between. The sun was now passing into high clouds more often – most of the time, in fact – which made it more comfortable to walk. My arrival at VŠllebšcken gave me plenty of time to make it to the boat, so I lowered my tempo markedly from then on, which also made it more comfortable to walk. From there the forest was damper, with more leaves, and the last bit was quite luxurious. The sun was also making a few return appearances, and before I knew it I had reached the boat landing around 12:45.
The Swiss guy was waiting in the adjacent shelter and came out to say hi. As I waited beside the water I swatted at a noticeable number of mosquitos – the first in quite some time, but not at all bad – and now it was back to mostly cloudy. The boat this time was driven by Helena, BjŲrn's partner, and there were no upstream passengers – and neither were there any other downstream ones than the two of us. We talked a bit during the ride, and once in Kvikkjokk I chanced upon HŚkan Hultberg, the meteorologist who runs the Swedish Alpine Club's fjeld weather courses, so I talked some with him as well before going up to the fjeld station. He would be going out to PŚrek the next day for this year's course coupled with an "open house" at the old research station there belonging to the famous Sarek explorer Axel Hamberg, co-organized by SFK and Laponiatjuottjudus.
I checked myself in, being allotted a bed in a four-bed room, and then had afternoon tea with my last piece of bread in the self-service kitchen. After that I checked out the whole facility, which I hadn't had time to do on the way out, finding most parts of the newer building to be in considerably worse condition than the older one, which was actually quite cosy and rustic, evoking feelings of both Saltoluokta and VŚlŚdalen. Having phoned Rebecca to report in I went out to the external sauna, which had apparently just been renovated, and found it quite good; I was its only occupant. After spending some quiet time in the lobby I went out for a short walk, but quickly returned inside when rain even more quickly arrived out of the west, were the clouds were now quite low.
More people were arriving, and as dinner time approached many of them – us – took up seats in the lobby to wait for the restaurant to open. The food was very good and, quite importantly, plentiful, and I treated myself to dessert as well. Good job, Kvikkjokkers! Here's my menu:
- Main course: reindeer tenderloin with baked potatoes, roasted vegetables and red wine sauce
- Dessert: white chocolate panna cotta with wild berries and meringue
- Also included: buffet of various salads and breads
Feeling quite stuffed I went out between showers in the cool air, and then spent the rest of the evening relaxing in the room or in the lobby, also feeling quite content with this ending to my 11th wardenship in the fjelds.