We decided: Today is a rest day! There is a lot to discover around Saltoluokta, as it is an ancient settlement of the Sami people. In the surrounding area you can find the remains of traps (fångstgropar) where the Sami natives once caught larger animals. If you take a closer look in the hilly, grassy landscape you can even see the traces of earth ovens (Härd). The remains are over a thousand years old. You will find information about where these historical remnants can be found at the reception of STF Saltoluokta Fjällstation.
Today we lie lazily in the grass enjoying the warm autumn sun
The weather shows its best side once more and the sun shines from the sky as if it wants to make up for the last days. And indeed, we are perfectly happy! After only a few kilometers along the border of the Stora Sjöfallet National Park we are idling by a small lake. From there we walk cross-country and a little later we are sitting at the picturesque river Ávtsusjjåhkå. Once again we enjoy the pure water, which you can drink here without hesitation. We also find it a pleasure to be on the trail without backpack and a plan.
The sauna in Saltoluokta has panoramic windows with a wonderful view
After about 8.5 kilometers and five hours of hiking and many little breaks we head back to enjoy the sauna before dinner. By the way, this sauna has a small disadvantage: in Saltoluokta there is a gender-separated sauna (update 2019: from now on the men’s sauna is open for women during the last hour). But apart from that it is fantastic, with a large panoramic window and an incredible view over Lake Langas. Here I get to know a Swedish woman who just came from Padjelantaleden. She was travelling alone and we talk about the fears but also the freedom that comes with it.
Don’t miss the outhouses in Saltoluokta!
By the way, the outhouses in Saltoluokta have a special feature: in addition to the regular toilets in the sauna house, there are also four compost toilets with a classic Kungsleden feeling. It’s worth trying them all, as each of them has been designed with great attention to detail. One makes you feel like you’re a king sitting on a real throne, the next offers a forest atmosphere with a campfire, the third takes you to the underwater world, and the last one is all about comics! In addition, there is of course the appropriate reading for every toilet visit!
At dinner we are confronted with a bizarre scene
The dinner at Saltoluokta frequently offers a bizarre picture. Next to people who spend their annual holidays in Saltoluokta and who appear perfectly styled for dinner every day, there are hikers like us who have completed a trekking tour. The latter of course is wearing the same outfit every night and most come with only socks on their feet, as they got rid of the dirty and heavy hiking boots at the entrance. Visually, you can easily identify these two groups.
But it becomes interesting when looking onto the plates. My dining room neighbor can’t even manage to finish her first portion. Due to the long way eating freeze-dried food every evening I have an enormous backlog of energy and I shovel food on one plate after the other. And it just tastes so heavenly good here! But the lady next to me looks somewhat bewildered.
Dinner in Saltoluokta
In Saltoluokta a three-course menu is served in the evening, with a buffet for starter and main course. Unlike in Kvikkjokk, here you cannot eat á la card, but you have to check the weekly menu in advance to see what is available for dinner. Reservation until 15 o’clock for the same evening.
Northern lights complete this perfect holiday
After sauna and dinner we intend to go straight to bed. At twilight we brush our teeth and peer up at the sky again. In this last and starry night seeing some polar lights would be the perfect ending to our holiday. First I am not sure if it is just my wishful thinking, but I see a slight green stripe across the sky. It remains dark for a while after that and we walk down to the landing pier in search of a better place to observe the sky. Meanwhile it is pitch dark and freezing cold. But then the sky suddenly glows again! Fascinated we look at the green lights dancing above the lake Langas for about half an hour. We simply can’t imagine a better way to end this vacation!