Tours › 2014 › Vistas › Summary


And what a great summer it turned out to be! Having such warm and dry weather for such extended periods of time in the fjelds is not that common, although not unheard of, even though at times it could be a bit too good – many people were exhausted after sweating for hours without shade. Heck, it was taxing enough just to sit outside at times! There were quite a few visitors all in all, and I was glad to be able to count Emma among them, but the majority only stopped by to shop and then camped outside (usually across the bridge, where a small tent village often formed) – no doubt a direct consequence of the weather – and the grapevine had it that the situation was similar across the whole region. As for me, I had a great time in Vistas, which is a great place to start with, and the contrast to my many winter visits was strong – I knew well the lay of the land, of course, but the colors and the life were a welcome change.

In fact, it felt as though this year saw a veritable explosion of living things, plants and animals alike. Flowers abounded, and having all those non-timid elks come by was nice indeed. There were lots of rodents around as well – something surely looked positively on by the various birds of prey and small predators that depend on them. What was not present in large numbers were, happily, the mosquitos. For long periods they were almost completely absent, and during others they only existed in pockets (which arriving guests had usually found, bringing their contents with them) – but in either case the cottage clearing was mostly, well, clear, so being outside was never a problem.

During my last custodianship of Vistas I was very active and did lots of long, high, steep, deep, demanding stuff, but this time around it was pretty much the opposite. Owing in no small part to the continuously fair weather, I was often content with just sitting on the bench and looking out over the Vistas vistas rather than actually going somewhere – and that was perfectly fine. In fact, when the weather was at its warmest I intentionally refrained from going out every day, instead choosing to rest on-site between the day tours, and I did not feel like I was missing out on anything at all. An easy summer, in that regard – although that climb to Vássačorrojávri later on was perhaps a bit on the adventurous side...

While the weather was largely good by any reasonable standard, it also put a metaphorical finger on a pressing point, made disturbingly evident by my month-long vantage point on two glaciers that melted before my eyes. Climate change is undeniably real, and given the last century's development re: glacial extent we may very well lose a substantial number of the ice masses within this generation. The research station in Tarfala measured the glacier-capped South Peak of Giebmegáisi to a mere .7-meter lead over the North Peak, so soon we'll have a change of champion in the peak league as well. All this is to me very worrying, signalling troubling times to come in other respects; there were intense rains and thunderstorms further south, causing large-scale disruptions, as well as a gigantic forest fire due to the drought – all of which are likely to increase in both frequency and severity.

It is therefore not with undivided joy that I look back on this summer, even though it contained much pleasant things as such. Apart from the above, both the lead-in and lead-out treks were successful, with the high point being right at the start with the high route – save for the loss of the hat, of course. It's a great alternative to walking down in the valley, which I had already done, although I would recommend going east of Guhppusčohkka like I did the first time around, and the greatness of the Jorbaoaivi plateau as a campsite cannot be overstated. I also got to visit Gaskkasvággi and do the Tarfala route – something I've been meaning to do for years – and even though the weather was not as perfect as it could have been, and the Giebmegáisi massif proved somewhat elusive, I count it a success. Good show!

Another thing I could mention is that I had brought a little solar charger with me to sustain my phone, and it did its job admirably. Small as it was it took quite a lot of time to reach capacity, even in strong sunlight, but since there was a lot of that I had no trouble getting a self-sustaining cycle going. It would have been problematic on the move, though, which is why I made sure to have the gadget's internal battery fully charged before starting the walks. Quite a few of the guests also had some type of solar panel with them – a clear adaptation to the modern age of technological toys and aids, as well as the growing notion of sustainability. I'm all for it.

Finally, there was something which hit me early on, namely that Vistas (and being a summer warden there) shared many aspects with Sĺmmarlappa. Here's a list off the top of my head:

  • cottage(s) situated in a clearing upon a trail in a lush, deep valley with steep mountainsides just behind
  • large stream runs past, with a grand view on the other side – with one particular mountain sticking out
  • easy access to said other side, starting with forest and then turning into a large open area (complete with a difficult-to-impossible shoreline just north of the crossing)
  • lots of berries in the area
  • well-utilized shop.

Am I right or am I right?

So there. A terrific way to spend a summer month, whichever way you look at it. Although the journey was not quite finished yet, for I still had a little tour to make...



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