We get up early, because before we head to Jäckvik, where our first leg into Pieljekaise National Park starts, we have a challenge waiting for us this morning: we have to find a place to park our camper.
Due to the Corona pandemic, we cannot plan long-term in 2020 and flights to Scandinavia are not available to book at all: until shortly before our departure, it is not clear whether we will be able to travel freely through Europe at all this year. We are denied entry to Norway, while the entry regulations to Sweden are eased, to our relief, shortly before our vacation. Fortunately, we can borrow a camper in the family at short notice. So the trip can begin. However, we cannot find a suitable parking space for the camper during our trekking tour on the Kungsleden from Germany.
Parking spot for camper needed in Arvidsjaur
At the campground, they can’t and don’t want to help us with our somewhat unusual request. It does not seem to occur too often that camper travelers want to park their vehicle for nearly two weeks. We also can’t just park at the roadside for two weeks. Not only are we not really comfortable with the idea, the maximum parking time in Arvidsjaur is only a few hours and the parking spaces are also too small for a large vehicle.
We therefore visit the tourist information office. The nice young man denies when we ask for parking spaces for motorhomes and at first seems a little helpless. But after a short while he has the saving idea: the owner of a nearby workshop is a nice guy, he says. We should ask there. After explaining our problem to the owner, he agrees: in the yard of his workshop we are allowed to park our vehicle for the next two weeks! Happy and grateful for the unexpected and uncomplicated help, we make our way to the bus stop.
On the bus to Jäckvik – now we are about to set off
By bus we set off at noon from Arvidsjaur to Arjeplog and on to Jäckvik. The way is familiar to us, because we have already started from Jäckvik once before: two years ago when we walked north to Saltoluokta.
Arriving in Jäckvik, we find that the small supermarket has been replaced by a much larger ICA. However, the assortment aimed at hikers has unfortunately become much smaller. We buy three freeze-dried dinners per person and two chocolate muffins. We could also still buy gas here, but we don’t need it this year.
ICA Supermarket Jäckvik
The new ICA supermarket in Jäckvik has only been around since February 2020. Unlike the small old supermarket, there is now no longer a large assortment aimed at hikers. If you want to fill up your supplies here, you’ll still get all the essentials: Freeze-dried meals, gas, mosquito repellent.
The smallest library and Tesla Supercharger in a town with 32 inhabitants
In front of the supermarket we eat a muffin and admire the probably smallest library I have ever seen. In a small box are a handful of books that you can borrow here. Another thing impresses us: there are several Tesla Superchargers in the gravel parking lot. Jäckvik is really not the center of the world, but in Sweden the network of charging stations seems to be well developed.
Then we set off. Right after Jäckvik, the trail goes uphill for about five kilometers. We soon start to sweat, which attracts the mosquitoes as well. At the top we have a great view back. We can overlook the first day’s stage of our tour of two years ago from Jäckvik to the north and reminisce for a short while.
Lapland romanticism starting shortly after starting in the Pieljekaise National Park
Then we hike across a treeless plateau, on which we make surprisingly fast progress. When the view opens up ahead, we are amazed once again. In front of us are the mountains of Pieljekaise National Park illuminated by the evening sun.
Unfortunately the trail takes us back into the forest and a short stop at the Pieljekaise hut shows us that we won’t find a campsite here: the terrain is steep and blocked. Instead, we hike further down into the valley and our hopes of finding a campsite diminish. A young man coming towards us dampens our expectations even more. The next campsites are at least five kilometers away at the second bridge. But well, it doesn’t help, that’s where we have to go now.
Pieljekaise National Park
Pieljekaise National Park was established in 1909 and is named after the mountain of the same name, which can be seen from far away in the surrounding area. The name means “ear mountain” in the Sami language. The rather small Pieljekaise National Park is unique because of its primeval birch forests. Dogs are allowed in the national park only from 01.01 – 30.04. or on the Kungsleden all year round.
Pieljekaise cabin consists of two huts. It is open for day guests. However, if you want to spend the night here, you have to get a key beforehand. With this key you can open the small dormitory with four beds. The key can be picked up at the ICA in Jäckvik or at Handelsbod in Adolfström for a fee.
Around the hut you can not camp, because it is very rocky and heavily covered with vegetation. Cost for the overnight stay is (2020) 150 SEK/person.
Roots and boulders all around us – and no hope for a place to sleep in Pieljekaise National Park
The path is covered with roots and stones and we make only slow progress. While Manuel goes ahead and is even optimistic to be able to camp before the second bridge, my motivation is no longer the best. Suddenly we find a small trail at the first bridge, which leads us to a flat place without bushes, but with a bench and a fireplace. This is our sleeping place and a lot earlier than we expected. We immediately pitch our tent and even the mosquitoes can’t spoil this find. The view over the lake is fantastic and also the weather seems to improve further.
After dinner, my feet just refuse to get warm. The exhausting day has worn me out so that my body has no more energy to warm up. Luckily Manuel had some of his warmth left for me. At some point during the night I wake up because I am way too hot. Barefoot I step out of the tent again and look over the lake on which fog is just rising. Wow, what a magic moment. As I slowly cool down again, I realise that it is these moments that I enjoy so much up here!
Start in Jäckvik
Day 1: Jäckvik - Campsite
On the section from Jäckvik southwards, the Kungsleden leads repeatedly through forest. Especially on slopes there are also many stone boulders, so it is recommended to start looking for campsites early. If you do not do this until you are tired, you might be surprised that you have to walk a few more kilometers until you find a good spot.
Campsite after the Pieljekaisestugan
Behind Pieljekaisestugan the terrain is steep and wooded. There are no good campsites. However, about 1.3 km after the hut and before the first bridge, there is a wonderful campsite with a bench and a fireplace.