Scandinavian wilderness hike 17- Snowstorm on the way to Kilpisjärvi

When I start early next morning it is grey and the temperature reaches just 4 C°. I follow the Dividalen for a while and then climb out across dry birch forest. Dividalshytta offers a very nice view across the valley, but unfortunately it has started to rain again. There must be visitors, but at this early hour everything is still quite.

                                                                Leaving Dividalen

Soon the rain changes into snow, and a storm begins to unfold. Higher up the landscape is already white, and I begin to ask myself if it is clever to continue, but push on.

                                    The start of a snowstorm

I am sweaty and hot from the descent, but now the cold wind makes me shiver. I try to walk faster to generate more warmth, but the orientation in this almost whiteout is not so easy. I only wear my thin overgloves, definitely not enough, as my fingers get increasingly numb. Up here it is freezing and with the windchill the temperature feels easily like below - 10 C°. I urgently need to wear more clothes, but that is a heavy task in the howling storm. I try to use a big boulder as a windbreak and be very careful to avoid that my primaloft gloves get blown away. On top of the Climalite pullover I am wearing, I now put my windshirt. It takes a long time, and I get increasingly cold, but finally I have managed to put on the extra layers. For a moment I contemplate if it wouldn't be wiser to hike back to Dividalshytta, but in some way I like to rumble with the elements, so I carry on...
A big help is, that sometimes I can follow the footsteps of another guy, who is in front of me. When somebody else is mad enough to push through this, I can do that as well, I tell myself...
Finally I have crossed the highest point and descent into Skaktardalen. The storm eases, snow changes into rain and the landscape gets green again. 
Although the river reaches only up to my knees, the 50 meter long crossing is rather uncomfortable under these conditions, but poses no real problem.

                                                     An uncomfortable crossing...

Although the wind further eases and the rain almost stops, I feel still cold, so I accelerate my speed, to get warm again. I meet some hikers, like usual mostly from Germany, and finally reach the broad valley leading to the Daerta hut.
The blue sky is back again and the occasional showers create a number of beautiful rainbows which persist for an unusual long time.

                                                     Rainbow over Daerta

It is still quite early in the afternoon, but as the trail climbs back to higher altitudes from here, I decide to install myself in one of the cozy huts. It amazes me again, how comfortable the Norwegian huts are. My own living room is not so nice...

                                               Cozy Daerta hut

When I later head for an evening walk, I feel comfortable wearing my down jacket, something very rare so far...
Although this was a rather tough hiking day, I feel great! Probably not at least because I rewarded myself with the hut...

                                                                 After the storm

Late in the evening I get an unexpected, but very nice visit: Lucy and Ed, the young british couple with whom I walked together two days ago, arrive!
I have already lit the stove, and now we chat in candle light until deep in the night.

When I start very early at dusk the air is still and crisp, it looks like a nice day is going to envelop. I climb out of the Daertavaggi across barren Boulder fields. Traces of water on the rocks are frozen and an ice cold wind is blowing, therefore I put on gloves, Balaclava and wind jacket on top of my climalite pullover. 

                                                             A cold morning

I am fascinated by the mountaintops showing a layer of white after yesterdays snow. The ptarmigans I meet, now at the end of august are already grown up!

                                                         Snowy mountaintops

After ascending to another rocky high plain, I enjoy the fantastic views across this wide open, autumn fjell landscape. How great to be here!

                                                              The fjell has turned yellow

A herd of reindeer passes close by, the perfect foreground to the snowy mountaintops.


Around 11 the sun is out, and I can remove much of my clothing!
At Rostahytta, where I stayed 1992 as well, a crew of Norwegians is working. I chat a bit with them, and learn that they are constructing a new hut for dog owners. So far dogs are not allowed to enter the Norwegian huts, but as more and more people are accompanied by their pets, they react on this demand.
I continue ascending Isdalen, a spectacular valley enclosed by rugged mountains. This cleft I could already spot early in the morning. 

Beautiful Isdalen

First the valley is quite green, but when I get higher up, I am again in a rocky mountain landscape, with some lakes.

                                               Upper Isdalen

When I cross the swedish border, I make camp in a vast area, with spectacular views to distant mountains. As the sky is clear, it is no wonder, that as soon as the sun disappears behind the hills, the temperature already plummets below 0 C°!
But at least this is one of the few evenings on this hike, when my socks and shoes are dry!

                                         Back in Sweden    

In the morning the tent is coated by frost, but even though it is a little chilly, I enjoy the clear, blue morning.

A clear and frosty morning

As I took some leftover coffee from Daerta, I take a break when I reach Gappohytta and while I am sipping my hot brew, I have some conversation with the guests who are about to get ready for the day.

Coffee break at Gappohytta

I leave the immediate vicinity of the mountains now and hike across green hills, with big vistas back to the snow capped tops. In the valleys the first birches reappear.

View back over Gappohytta to the border mountains

At a lake, somebody with an obvious strange humour has hanged a pike. A warning for hikers?

What does that mean?

The still afternoon air feels very warm at 12 C° and there are even Dragonflies taking a sunbath!

           Sunbathing in the afternoon

I pass by Goldahytta and soon get to Treriksröset, the point where the borders of Sweden, Norway and Finland meet. It is marked by a huge cairn which mirrors in the lake and makes for a nice foreground when looking back to the border mountains.


I continue on the finnish side of the border, and soon reach the Kaukkamajavri cabins. One of them is open and free to use for the public, the other is reserveable and one has to pay a modest 11 € for it. I already love these rustic log cabins, which seems to be much more appropriate in the wild, than the norwegian "palaces" A bunk bed and wood is provided, so there is enough comfort for my taste. 
I have a nice conversation with two young, finnish heavy metal lovers who cook here, but later, I have the hut to myself.

                                           Kuokkamajavri cabin

The next day is rather cloudy,  but when I climb up to a pass the sun illuminates the Kilpis lake, while the rest of the sky is overcast.

                                      View from a pass across Kilpis lake

The trail passes across Malla nature reserve, and the closer I get to Kilpisjärvi, the more dayhikers I meet. Around noon, I reach the hikingcenter, which offers camping and rooms. 
To reach the village I borrow a bicycle and pedal the 5 Kilometers to a supermarket, where I buy provisions for the next 8 days to Kautokeino and urgently needed new trailrunning shoes. Still far from Kilpisjärvi, somebody had told me, that this is a good place for getting new gear...
But the real highlight of my stay in Kilpisjärvi is the evening buffet. It is always unbelievable what large amounts of food a long distance hiker can swallow...



Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen