This article is part of the series “2018-02: Ski tour near Kvikkjokk”.
Day 8 and 9 of my winter journey 2018
After the first night in the tent (it was a cold one!) we were eager to continue the tour. The tent was packed and so were the pulkas. We started by skiing through powder snow – a slow movement. I guess I hardly reached 2 km/h in average and I definitely was much slower when I had to go uphills. We looked for a good place to access the river again since it was much easier to follow the stable snow on the snowmobile tracks. After a while we found a good place to enter the river bed. Mostly the winter trail followed the river, only twice it continued on land where the river is narrow and had open water.
After some kilometres the river bent southwards and our trail left the river to continue more westwards. We continued the snowmobile tracks that led through forests and over smaller bogs.
We started to think about reaching the mountain hut Njunjes but weren’t at all sure if we would reach it before darkness. Anyhow, we didn’t had any pressure, since we had anything with us which we need for tenting:
- a tent (of course)
- down filled camping mats
- very warm sleeping bags and vapour barrier lines
- warm clothes from head to foot
- a lot of food
- a paraffin oil driven cooker
- … and much more …
The way was easy but the pulkas were heavy loaded and after hours of walking I started to get tired and exhausted. That’s one of the reasons why I hardly made any photos. Another reason was that both my cameras refused to work in the morning with temperatures round -30 °C. It became warmer, but it was still round -25 °C, although it had become cloudy and overcast that day quite early.
Beside of a longer and a shorter rest we continued skiing, now with the defined goal to reach the hut. It started to get dark but we knew that we only had to go another hour or a bit more to make it.
After a while it went so dark that we skied with headlights. The buildings of Njunjes had come into view but they were on the other side of the river. When we were on a level with Njunjes we realised that the river became a quite deep ravine, probably with open water and quite impossible to cross …
… but we were really lucky: there was a metal chain bridge that led over that very ravine. It was quite a fight to climb up the slope after crossing the bridge, but with a lot of pulling (and without our skis) we managed it.
Soon Jonas found the open winter room with was made for people like us who like to travel off-season. A stove, wood, a bunk bed for two people, hooks for drying clothes, a table and two stools – anything to stay here for a night or two.
Day three was a day off. It was warmer than the day before and mostly dim and cloudy. I took pictures of the chain bridge, the mountain hut and the landscape (as far as it was visible)
After breakfast we attached new climbing skins to my skis and took a ski tour. First cross the river again and right to the sun. Then up some minor hills through sparse birch forests and eastwards to meet the branch to the hut that we had missed the day before. The skins worked well but it was almost a pity to have them attached to my skis since they slowed me down when skiing downhills through the loose powder snow. The sun was hardly visible through the clouds and the landscape almost looked sepia – like an old black and white photo.
First it only snowed a bit but when we finished our tour and arrived at “our” mountain hut snowfall increased. While Jonas was busy sawing and chopping wood I took a small nap.
In the evening we planned to continue to Tarrekaisestugan the next day – the next mountain hut in the west – and probably to continue and tent again in the wintry forests.
Photo #2 in this blog article is made by Jonas Balbasus.