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Sarek National Park—Day Four August 25, 2014

Posted by Jenny in camping, hiking, travel.
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Morning of the fourth day.

Morning of Day Four.

The night of the third day was, I believe, the night we all had pasta. The great thing about this dinner had nothing to do with its flavor. It was that we got rid of most of that darned bulky pasta that had taken up so much space in our food bags. In the morning I was able to rearrange my pack so that my sleeping bag was on the inside of my internal-frame pack instead of strapped to the outside.

We followed a program in our dinners. Not only did this give us a feeling of togetherness, but also, Christian had a grab bag of condiments stashed in the depths of his pack designed to go with that evening’s dish: dried mushrooms or garlic, for instance.

He would go around the campsite as each pair of us sat boiling our water beside our tent, and cut a clove from the garlic for each of us with the picturesque knife he wore in a sheath attached to his wide, medieval-looking belt.

After my stream-bath that day, I had hoped to dry out my clothes a bit, but there was a tad too much dampness in the air for that to be of use. When I woke in the morning, I saw sunlight shining through the tent. I stepped outside only to see that mist and sun were rolling alternately across the valley. It was beautiful, but not good for drying clothes.

Antler still-life.

Antler still-life.

In the morning Christian gave us a talk about navigation and compass-work. He didn’t warn us at the time, but he would give us a test later on in our trip. We packed up and proceeded southeast down the Ruohtesvagge valley. We were able to follow an unmarked path most of the way along this major corridor of  Sarek. It remained clear except in marshy areas.

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You can see the “herd path” in the foreground.

We had a stream crossing early on, but this one was not difficult.

Christian wades the stream.

Christian wades the stream.

Notice in the photo above that Christian wears high leather boots. Everybody in the group had sturdy leather boots of some sort—except me.  I wore my lightweight Merrell trail shoes. If you don’t look closely at them, they look like no more than running shoes, but the soles are sturdy Vibram material. These are the shoes I wear for my stream hiking in the Smokies—in warm weather. I am indifferent as to whether I get my feet wet. My waterlogged socks stay warm, and I can either wring them out or simply let the water work itself out as I move along.

So by now I had decided to revert to my Smokies style of hiking. I simply waded through the water in my Merrells, and on the far bank I wrung my socks out. I always had plenty of time to do this while others in the group put on and took off their water shoes. I was still glad I’d brought the Crocs—I used them as camp shoes, with a dry pair of socks.

After a while people began to comment on this peculiar approach, and at the end of the trip a couple of folks took pictures of my shoes.

As we walked along, someone pointed out this pair of eggs.

A pair of speckled eggs.

A pair of speckled eggs.

 

Good-sized glacier between those peaks.

Good-sized glacier between those peaks.

In the early afternoon we came to a major stream crossing. We stopped to have lunch before making our way across.  With my experience of being swept downstream the day before, I stared at it apprehensively. However, it turned out to be shallow, so despite the fast current, I got through it without any trouble. I had also figured out that I needed to lean forward and keep my knees bent to keep my center of gravity from shifting backwards with the heavy pack.

It wasn't as bad as it looked.

It wasn’t as bad as it looked.

We were now headed toward a major crossroads of valleys in Sarek, where the Ruohtesvagge meets the Guohpervagge and the Alggavagge.

The blue X's mark our route on Days Three and Four.

The blue X’s mark our route on Days Three and Four.

The river grew wider here, but we  would have a bridge for the eventual crossing.

The river grew wider as we went along, but we would have a bridge for the eventual crossing.

I liked these islands of grass.

I liked these islands of grass.

During the last hours of that day’s walk, a young woman named Sofia led the way. I learned that she was an apprentice in the art of becoming a mountain guide. She did a fine job in picking out the best route among paths that forked around various obstacles. We also had in our group a very experienced man, Bjorn, who volunteers to assist in leading groups for the STF outings association.

We arrived at our campsite for the evening, the central junction featuring several civilized items: an outhouse, a bridge (one of two in Sarek), and an emergency telephone.

Our dining room.

In this photo taken at our dinner that evening, Sofia is at left in blue jacket and Bjorn is next to her in red jacket.

It was a beautiful evening.

Luminous sky.

Luminous sky.

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Comments»

1. Tom - August 25, 2014

how many miles/kilometers was the group making a day?

Jenny - August 25, 2014

It varied between about 8 and 15 km per day, or roughly 4 to 9 miles. The going was quite slow due to the stream crossings, the boggy areas, and talus fields (especially in the later sections).

2. Al - August 26, 2014

In a Amateur Radio magazine just received I read an interesting article about the city of Kiruna, maybe not too far from your trekking location.
It had to do with mining, ham radio and the earliest AM radio broadcasting station in the Swedish arctic.

Jenny - August 26, 2014

Kiruna is not far to the northeast of Sarek (I should say, not far in terms of Lapland distances). Sounds like a good article!


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