Part II: Pieskehaure - Staddajåkkå - Staloluokta
I got up a 8 a.m. and stated that it was impossible to do a longer hike today. My legs seemed to be heavy as lead. Carola's knee was swollen, a kind of problem that she has when a trail has many rocky sections. A day trip with a light backpack would be fine to recover.
We could see the Sulitjelma Glacier from the kitchen of the cabin, and it was very tempting. The weather was excellent today, and the glacier looked very close. However, to go to the mouth of the glacier and back would be a hike of 20 km, and that was too far for today. But we estimated a total of 10 km to a viewpoint, and we would be satisfied to see it from there. We checked the map, and at half past eleven we started with only one light backpack.
At the beginning, we followed a path to Norway. A ford indicated on the map was as easy as all the fords had been.
Then we crossed the wild Lairojåkkå on a bridge and followed a visible path in some distance from the river. The path ceased very soon, and we could not see the glacier any more. An ascent across the eastern slope of Lairo was necessary to get to the supposed viewpoint.
After a two-hours hike from Pieskehaure, the glacier was in sight again. An icy wind came from the glacier. The panoramic view was impressive. The mouth of the glacier had collapsed, as the cabin wardens had told us, and a new one had formed, but it was not visible from our position. We stood there for a while, then it was time to hike back.
We discovered the tiny fjällgentiana, a kind of gentian with blossoms of just 3 mm size, and a herd of reindeers passed by, and we thought that we could be more than pleased with that day. We were back at the cabin around half past three.
We knew that eating a lot would be the best compensation for the previous three days, so we bought snabbmakkaroner ( noodles, cook 3 min), and on the cabin warden's recommendation a can of köttbullar (meat balls). It was at more than usual, but at early evening, we had finished with everything. Right then the cabin warden came and invited us for dinner. There would be waffles on the menu with Hjortronsylt, a delicacy out here in the wilderness. Of course, we could not resist. They also wanted to thank us for carrying the letters. It was a wonderful evening, we heard stories, studied books about animals and plants, learned a lot, and again, it was rather late when we returned to our room.
Our fitness was back. At 10 a.m. we said goodbye to the friendly cabin wardens and left Pieskehaurestugan. The path ascended slightly, but was very easy to go. In sunshine, with a lighter backpack and after a day of rest it was a pleasant hike. We met a German couple and stopped for a talk. We had met just five hikers now since we had left Padjelantaleden at Tarrekaise. Without much effort we reached a place near a renvaktarstuga around 4 p.m., where we wanted to camp. We crossed Haddit-jåkkå, where fording can be a problem sometimes, but today the water was low and we could step from stone to stone. It took quite a while to find a nice campsite. There were many, but some were too stony, some not picturesque enough, some too high ( too windy) and some too low (too many mosquitos). It took a while until we were tired enough to make our decision. Soon after dinner we retreated into the tent. "Close to paradise" - that was hardly exaggerated here at this quiet place.
I had imagined to get up in the morning only after the sun had warmed up our tent, but there was no sun. At 4 °C we sat on a stone for breakfast without any sunshine. It took us until 11 a.m to pack everything together. It was easy to see that the trail was not so well marked from here. We had just passed the border between two communities, and Jokkmokks Kommun, where we hiked now, obviously spent less effort on the maintenance of this trail than Arjeplogs Kommun had done.
But it was not difficult to walk. We hiked along Kailavagge, a wide valley formed by glaciers. Sometimes we did not see the trail and sometimes we did not see markers, so we were a bit slower than normal. The weather was improving.
At the exit of Kailavagge the landscape opened into a still wider valley, and it was so impressive here that we stayed for a longer rest before we hiked down the Staddajåkkå to the cabin named after this river. As usual for the SNV, there were several cabins, each with a six-bed room. Only one had guests, a German couple, and the cabin warden suggested us to stay in this cabin. She already had cleaned the other cabins to prepare them for the end of the season. We wanted to get up very early and we did not want to disturb other people, so we convinced her to open another one for us.
We went to sleep early, but when the mountains at the northwestern horizon were hit by the last sunlight, I had to go out once more with my camera. At first I believed that these were Sarek mountains, but after examining the map I found out that the left one was Akka from a distance of 100 km.
If possible, we would try to go from Staddajåkkå to Jokkmokk today with a combined hiking-, helicopter- and bus tour, and we managed it. We did not get up so early, but when we started the cabin was at least as clean as the day before and could again be closed for season. We were confident to reach Staloluokta in time, because the trail was just 11 km and easy, and if necessary, we could quicken our pace a bit.
It was a flat trail along the valley, and we frequently looked back to the Sulitjelma mountains. The distinctive little cone on the Svenska Stortoppen was mostly obscured by a cloud. At half way we saw Stalostenen in the middle of the vally, a large rock of 10 m that is said to contain a small cave. Around noon Virihaure and Staloluokta came into sight.
A number of hikers waited a the helicopter landing site with their backpacks. We were happy to see that there would be no competition for the seats, some wanted to go to Ritsem, and others had tickets for Lapplandsflyg. So we had a chance to get a flight with Norrlandsflyg. However, no one was present in their office.
The Norrlandsflyg helicopter arrived for a stopover on the way to Ritsem. We talked to the Kjell, the pilot, and he agreed to pick us up on his way back.
We strolled through the village and took a closer look at the church, before we went back to the landing site. We had to be patient for an hour, but eventually Kjell hovered down with a passenger from Ritsem, and we could board the helicopter. The flight across the mountain range was like entering a different world. After arriving in Kvikkjokk, we went to the self-service restaurant at the bus station and ate a piece of pizza. We spent the rest of the time on a bench in the sunshine. It had been a beautiful tour with beautiful landscapes and few, but friedly people. Though, I hoped that our next tour would lead us deep into into the Sarek again.