I love the very north of Sweden. This is the mountain area called "Fjällen" and home to some of Swedens most amazing National Parks (Abisko, Padjelanta, Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet). Endless areas of wilderness, perfect for making multi-day hikes.
This is a long time dream coming true, visiting this amazing national park and hiking almost 2 weeks in this fantastic place!
Late morning, Saturday 22 July 2006, 11:00 o'clock
Location: At Tarrekaise, beside lake Tarraure / Darrávrre
Today we have a relatively easy hike in front of us, only 13 kilometres and the terrain doesn't look too challenging. The perfect excuse to make a lazy start to the day, and leave our campground a bit later then usual. The sun is shining brightly bringing us into a good mood. I toss my backpack on my back again and it feels lighter then before, I most be getting used to the weight! Hahaha, or maybe it is because we ate up some of the supplies ;-)
Our aim for the day is Såmmarlappastugan. So far we have hiked two days, day one from Kvikkjokk - Njunjes and day two from Njunjes to Tarrekaise, and like the first two days this leg of the hike will also mainly continue through a forest of birches.
After about 4 kilometres we arrive at a 'major' crossing on the hiking trail, should we go straight ahead or turn to the left?? When we planned our trip we opted for the shorter and easier trail towards Såmmarlappa (which means straight ahead). This is the route that most people take and this is also the official Padjelantaleden trail. But if you want a bit more off the beaten path trail that is more challenging (lesser huts and much more distance between them, less bridges = more wading through rivers, and in general a bit more difficult terrain), then turning left might be the right thing for you.
We thought quite a bit about which route we should take, but on retrospect I liked our route, so I am happy we just walked on. The route to the left is part of the Nordkalottenleden. When you follow this trail, you have several choices in which direction you would like to hike. Crossing the Norwegian border for example, or maybe follow the trail more northbound towards lake Virihaure, which is also our aim to reach in a few days time.
The best memories of this day? I guess that must be this moment you see in the photo. The sun is shining so nicely, the mosquitoes are taking a break somewhere in the woods, and as they are taking a break, why shouldn't I? Just after crossing a little river, about halfway through the day we settle down on a nice improvised bench. This spot is perfect to stretch the legs, give our backs a little break and warm up some hearty soup, which tasted delicious! The trail is even easier to walk then I imagined. If it wasn't for the load on our backs, it could have been a nice stroll in the park. Well, I guess almost, hahaha, as the distances are somewhat longer here ;-)
Maybe the lovely lazy stop on the way is my best memory of this part of the hike, but this second part of the day is without a doubt the most beautiful! We finally leave the forest area a bit behind us and the landscape opens up. The surface isn't an easy hiking trail anymore, over lots of boardwalk and a nice even trail through the grass, but instead we walk over a somewhat uneven rocky surface. In front of us the views open up, and our hiking tempo goes down considerably. We've reached the 'Fjällen' speed.
We don't go slower because the trail is difficult, or because we are tired. Neither are the backpacks too heavy or we need a break. No, the reason is something totally different. We finally have left civilization behind us, not only in the sense of surrounding, but also mentally. In this enormous empty mountain area, there is no urge to haste and hurry on. There is no reason to run and be at a place before a certain time. Here you are to enjoy, to soak in the surroundings, its immense beauty and to relax the mind. This is Fjällen' speed, leaving the hasty life behind and finally come to ease. We pause often during this part of the hike, just to sit on one of the big boulders on the side of the trail, while we enjoy and stare over the landscape displayed in front of us.
The last bit of today's hike is the toughest part. From the more open landscape you dive into a dense forest area, winding and twirling up and down, left and right. Climbing over a fallen tree, jumping over a little stream hoping not to get the feet wet, ducking for an overhanging branch.
It is getting late, and the sky is getting dark, letting us know that rain is quickly on its way towards us. And despite our relaxed mood we do decide to hurry on. And we hurry on and on. Not only is this the toughest part of the trail, it is also a part that seems surprisingly long. On the map it is only a few centimetres, but in reality it is quite a bit more. But we made it! And just in time for the rain to arrive as well.
Såmmarlappastugan is located on a nice spot in the dense forest. But one side of the mountain hut has an open view, and that is towards the river. And a lovely view it is! We are welcomed inside with a nice piece of home baked cake, a pure luxury in this remote area. The 'Stugvärd' on this occasion is a young woman, who is bursting with energy and good spirit, and seems to cherish this place and spoil the guests that arrive. This is a good place to end the day, which has been another wonderful day in the Fjällen. I stare out of the window and slowly start to wonder what tomorrow might bring......
The last three days we have been hiking through the valley of the river Tarra (Tarradalen) and the river is a major obstacle if you want to go towards the west. The only way to do so is to cross the Tarra River at some point. And here at Såmmarlappa is one of these rare chances to do so. They have a little cable ferry which makes it possible to cross the Tarra River without getting wet feet. This route is not a 'normal' route to take though, as there are no official hiking trails on the other side of the river.
Staying at the log cabin of Såmmarlappa itself or put up your tent on their grounds, seems like the best option during this part of the hike.
If you are looking for alternative places, you might discover that your options are very limited. Because of the dense growth of trees and shrubs, there aren't that many open areas to accomodate your tent. The views from these places aren't the most breathtaking either (just trees and the hiking trail), and on top of that it might be hard to find a stream with fresh water. So we didn't see a better option then to stay here, on the grounds of the log cabin of Såmmarlappa. The clear advantage of course is that you can use their facilities for a minor fee. And at this place that was absolutely perfect! The Stugvärd was a busy bee, making sure that the mountain hut was in tip top condition and everyone received a warm welcome. We even were served fresh baked cake upon arrival! A luxury I never imagined possible in a remote area like this, with no power and no running water.
The Log Cabin is rather small with 18 beds. But as demands aren't that high, it doesn't really fill up, not even during high season. The inside is cosy and warm and as a real bonus they have a relatively big assortment of provisions. The camping spots are located on the side of the river, slightly removed from the log cabin. But I need to give a word of warning though: the ground isn't very level, making for a rather bumpy sleeping place.
The Mountain Hut is open: 24/2 - 23/4, 29/6 - 10/9 (2017).
Costs per person per night: 360 SEK for members of the STF, 460 SEK for non-members (during summer season). When you are putting up your tent it will cost you 150 SEK/night for STF members and 250 SEK/night for non-members. (prices 2017)
Simone & Åke, Såmmarlappa, Sweden, July 2006
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