Another small part of Kungsleden (Winter 1997)
Kebnekaise Fjällstation - Nikkaluokta (19 km)
At the end of our winter vacation in northern Sweden, we had one day left. Because we had not been very successful on the Kungsleden from Abisko, we wanted to do at least one more day trip. The trip Nikkaluokta - Kebnekaise Fjällstation seemed to be good, and we were curious to see the Fjällstation in wintertime.
The public bus traffic was considerably reduced compared to summer season. The only bus to Nikkaluokta left Kiruna in the afternoon, but we had rented a car for the last days of our vacation to be more flexible. We got the best offer from Europcar, a VW Golf well equipped for winter with spikes, for DM 120 per day. Since we had not gone on longer distances, they even rated us cheaper than offered at the end.
So in the morning we went on the 70 km-drive to Nikkaluokta. We met only a few cars, and although there were some snow drifts, it was easy to drive.
A bus had just arrived in Nikkaluokta, which transported a group of children for a day in the snow. We went to the main building. Because we wanted to go only one direction with skis, we needed a transport for the other one. In Kiruna we had seen an information about the "Bandvagn", a kind of scooter-bus, which should be on service between Nikkaluokta and Kebnekaise Fjällstation, but now we could not find any hint when and where it would operate. A man with a scooter and trailer sledge just arrived instead, he was looking for a swedish couple which had called him for a transport to the Fjällstation.
There were two seats left in the trailer, we could get them, and the problem was solved. Sitting in this sledge, we could hardly see anything and the ride was very shaky. After a few minutees, the driver stopped, came to us and asked if everything was o.k. Yes, of course.
Fourty minutes later we had reached the Fjällstation. We looked around, it was about an hour before noontime and rather quiet now. We drank a coffee and a piece of blueberry cake before we started skiing. In a corner in the basement of the building I spotted a pulka, which only could belong to Mark. We could not see him anywhere. We wrote a small note and stuck it to the pulka.
The first 3 km were quite comfortable and we had fun. The trail was winter-marked and was descending, so we could let the skis run at a comfortable speed. And we had only a light backpack today.
The upper 15 cm of the snow were fresh powder snow, and
one could proceed softly like on a thick carpet without effort.
Soon this winter-marked part of the trail ended, and we proceeded the along the Ladtjovagge in some distance from the slope of the Darfaloalgi. It was snowing, but the visibility was not bad. The orientation made no problems, but without the well known red crosses it could have been very bad in bad weather. However, one could expect to meet a snow-scooter here from time to time.
We had reached the lakeshore of the Ladtjojaure now and the winter trail leads across the lake. I always feel that you never can experience infinity better than on a structureless lake. While you walk and walk, you do hardly notice any changes.
Near the boat landings at the eastern lakeshore, a kota offered a fine resting place. My clothes were a bit damp, although the tour ad not been a big effort so far. I had put on a down west, but it took only a few minutes until I started to freeze. Probably, it would have been more effective to put on dry underclothes.
Now, we had rested long enough, and we went on for the rest of the trip. The trail passed through a birch forest here, and we met some snow-scooters here. At 4.30 p.m. we were back in Nikkaluokta and looked around in the shop.
As a fan of fried potatoes, I could not resist to order
a pytt-i-panna. And we enjoyed the arts exhibition in the upper
store of the restaurant. Although the weather had not been at
its optimum, it surely had been a very nice trip.