Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Sarek National Park, part 2, Vassjavagge

Since it was 24 hours of daylight, we got it all wrong already the first night and fell a sleep at 3 a.m and woke up at 11. Refreshed and looking forward to another day of sun and spectacular cloud formations above us. We had decided that we just didn´t have the time to trek all the way up the Rapa Valley to find a decent crossing over the river so we could return to Kvikkjokk and finish our journey there. That would mean competitive walking again and we were here to live and enjoy. So we set our sights for lake Abbmojavre, which the map showed was located below a steep mountain wall.

“My first thought today…” , Sundip claimed whilst we hiked down into a marsh and came across some flies, mosquitoes and out first viewing of a group of apprehensive reindeer; “….is whether one really needs a mobile phone or not. I am seriously thinking about dumping mine. People just have to wait until the time is right to talk.”

Sarek at this time of the year, just when glaciers and snow is melting, is crisscrossed by small streams and rivers are wide and deep. But it means that there´s drinkable fresh water pretty much everywhere. And the sun was so hot during the day, so we really needed every deciliter. The long tailed skua (Stercorarius longicaudus) accompanied almost every step we took and guarded their territories fiercly. We stopped a lot, stuck our feet in the cold streams, ate good food and took long rests. We even slept for awhile.

The older I get, the less I understand the young man´s stress of continuously performing, setting new personal records, doing long distances and pretty much always being tired and not noticing the small details that make up a full picture of life. We reached Lake Abbmojavre quite late, around 10 p.m and the sun was for a couple of hours hidden behind a steep mountain wall. We had to cross the wide and hip deep river, water was strong and fast, but we managed to hop on a whole series of rocks to pass and put up camp.

Next morning we set of like rockets, without packs, having made the Lake a two night base camp, as we wanted to try to make it all the way, like 30 Km:s return to the Skårki glaciers. There were literally thousands of lemmings scurrying around the rocky landscape we passed through. There was still a hard snow cover once we reached over 1000 meters, which made trekking so much easier and we moved fast up through Vassjavagges beautiful valley and when we reached the top of the valley, we were humbled by an extra ordinary view over Gådotjåkkhås and Biellrohoppe´s alpine peaks and glaciers on the west side of the Rapa Valley. We stayed a long time, sitting and enjoying the views, but realized that we were to tired to make it another 5 km:s to enter one of the glaciers of Skårki, so we slowly descended and returned to camp. We still did a good 23 km:s, if it matters.

The problem is, when at altitude, surrounded by irrational mountains, most of the time, you have to plan properly when it comes to the time. But since it was an all day daylight, we just took things as they came. We kept altitude on the way back and avoided a very rocky area and arrived at camp just before midnight.

“I never want to leave this area” , Sundip said whilst eating dinner.

It was easy to understand what he meant. No people, no stress, no obligations, no irritation, fresh and crisp air, no Internet and no mobile phones (even though I carried my sat.phone just in case, but I only used to order a taxi to pick us up at the same place were we were dropped off). I realized that this fast, modern, always ready to communicate, is just too much and makes a human almost depressed.

This is part two of the Sarek series of three, the first one can be read here!

The last part will follow on Friday.

Please see this slideshow from Sarek!



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