Table of Contents
Section distance: 190,6 km
Hiking days: 10
Total distance: 1.894,5 km
Day 110: Abisko – Lappjordhytta
02.09.2022 | 24,8 km
After three days of rest, the setting off from Abisko into the next section – the northern part of the Nordkalottleden – is not easy for us. That applies especially to our backpacks, which, with the winter clothes and food for the next ten days, bring a considerable weight on the scale. In addition, about 25 kilometers are planned for each of the first two days of the hike.
In the footsteps of the railroad builders
However, the first kilometers are quite easy to walk. Parallel to the road we follow Rallarleden, a path that was created for the construction of the railroad line and is today converted into a hiking trail. Again and again we find information signs and thereby follow the history of the railroad construction in the area with excitement. This region was also fought over during the Second World War, as it was already an important transport route for iron ore at that time.
However, the moment the Nordkalottleden leads us back into the DNT hiking system, the trail also becomes more challenging. We now walk crosswise to the valley and have to cross one hill after the next. In between are small valleys. Our progress is much slower and our feet hurt from the new shoes and the heavy backpacks. At Pålnostugan we take a short break before we start the steep ascent to Lappjordhytta. Here we meet Hans-Christian for the first time. He will accompany us from now on until Kilpisjärvi. But today the Nordkalottleden only takes us a few kilometers further up to the Lappjordhytta.
Day 111: Lappjordhytta – Altevasshytta
03.09.2022 | 24,8 km
I wake up in the morning and have no desire to continue walking. My mood is down after the exhausting day yesterday. I have no desire for the strenuous Norwegian trails, the heavy backpack and the eternal moving on. But staying is of course not an option either. Therefore we have breakfast and set off. The weather is great, but I still find the day extremely exhausting. Maybe I am also a bit groggy.
Little things that make you happy
However, the landscape around us is gorgeous. The Nordkalottleden leads us up to almost 1000 meters and then through barren landscape, before we slowly descend again. My highlight is the sighting of a snow hare in the short grass on the way up. We keep a list with our animal observations and the snow hare is not yet on it. But the list has reached a considerable length by now!
As we descend, we can see into the valley to our left, where the Innset husky farm is located. We had considered spending the night here, but then decided against it, because we would have to walk a few kilometers detour. Arriving at the dam, advertising signs tell us that we could also have someone pick us up, but we have already booked the Altevasshytta and now it is too late. We reach it shortly after and don’t regret staying here. The dog room is very cozy and also gets warm quickly after lighting the fire.
A glowing sky
In the evening the sky is completely clear. We set the alarm clock for midnight and go to sleep early. And indeed we are lucky: although it is uncomfortable to get up in the middle of the night, I am wide awake again when I look out of the cabin window. A bright green arc is clearly visible. So quickly put on the warm jacket and get out of the hut. We are greeted by bone-chilling cold. And all around us the aurora borealis are dancing.
I have not seen them so intensively and really visible in every direction of the sky before. And on the photos you can even see red lights. But they were not visible for our eyes. It’s a pity that we only have our cell phone cameras at this moment. For half an hour we stand in front of the hut and watch the show. Then it gets too cold. The auroras continue to dance, but we want to go back to our warm bed now.
Day 112: Altevasshytta – Gaskashytta
04.09.2022 | 12,3 km
On the third day we decide to do a short leg. Originally we had considered skipping a hut here and put in another long day. In the end, however, it was probably good to listen to our bodies. The sun is shining and we take several long breaks. During one of these breaks we just fall asleep leaning against a rock. While we take a nap, Hans-Christian overtakes us, who will also take a shorter stretch today. The trail today even has a few footbridges over wet spots. For Norwegian trails unusual and I am immediately somewhat reconciled with the Nordkalottleden.
After only twelve kilometers we reach our destination for the day, the Gaskas hut. We meet an elderly couple from Tromsø in the main hut. Actually, we only wanted to say “hello” briefly, but then we stay for quite a while and chat. She is a history professor and tells us a lot about the Sámi, reindeer husbandry and the tensions between the indigenous Sámi and the Norwegians within Norwegian society. Finally, we say goodbye and head over to the old cabin. Again we set an alarm and again the sky glows green. Today, however, the auroras are much less intense and so we return into the warm hut very quickly.
Day 113: Gaskashytta – Vuomahytta
05.09.2022 | 17,1 km
Nordkalottleden takes us over a mountain on the way to the Vuoma hut. The slope is gentle, but several kilometers long. We meet two hikers who come in our direction wrapped up thickly. A short time later we understand why: when we reach the top, an icy wind is blowing. After about ten kilometers it is time for a break. Behind a stone band, Hans-Christian has sought shelter from the elements and takes a short rest. We cower with him in the makeshift windbreak. Despite gloves, hat and thick down jacket, we can’t stand it for long. We quickly eat our midday snack.
And suddenly it is cold
As we continue walking, we keep our gloves on. It is the first time that we are walking longer with gloves and the autumn is now clearly noticeable here on the Nordkalottleden. We notice that in the future we should probably plan breaks a little more strategically and no longer make them at the highest points.
We reach the Vuoma cabin quite early and find a cozy dog room there. After we have turned on the fireplace, we decide to eat our dinner in the new main hut. From the outside it looks great with the big panorama windows. From the inside it is even more comfortable. Sofas and even armchairs are arranged along the large windows and it is hard to beat the coziness.
NPL chat evening on Nordkalottleden
On one of the sofas sit Helene and Auguste, who also walk Norge på langs. So far we only know each other from Instagram and from our NPL chat group. Great that we also get to know each other in person tonight. While we are exchanging ideas, a storm is coming up outside. It’s raining and the wind is whistling around the cabin, but we’re inside and it’s nice and warm and dry here. Cheers to the great huts of the DNT!
Day 114: Vuomahytta – Dividalshytta
06.09.2022 | 18,6 km
There is not much sign of the storm the next morning. Sun and clouds alternate and in between it rains a little bit. We walk with rain gear as a precaution, but we don’t really need it. But today we have dramatic light moods the whole day and discover rainbows again and again. In addition, the beginning of autumn colors the leaves of the trees and the Fjell in the greatest colors. It is amazing how fast this happens up here. We cannot get enough of the great landscape and the warm colors.
A wild river, a deep gorge and an enchanted valley
The Nordkalottleden leads us through the Dividalen National Park. The trail alternates between forest and open countryside. The Ánjajohka accompanies us most of the day. Sometimes it flows wide and gently, then the river has completely eroded the slope. And just before the Dividalen, it meanders in a deep gorge. What a great day! On the last section we follow the Dividalen and the Divielva. Here, all of a sudden, the vegetation is completely different: we even discover alders. We had not expected that so far north.
The last climb leads us to the Dividalen cabin. About halfway we meet a Dutch couple, which tells us that they are looking for a campsite, because it was quite crowded at the hut. Oh no, that’s not good news, especially since there’s no dog room. Lando has to stay there in the entrance room. We master the climb and first reach the old cabin.
Caution: School class next door
Trekking poles leaning against the wall tell us that someone is already here. We open the door and find Auguste and Helene. But no one else. Great, then our bed is safe. We still want to take a look at the main hut, but then we find out that a school class with twenty people is staying there. Ok, then we’d better stay in the old hut!
Day 115: Dividalshytta – Dærtahytta
07.09.2022 | 24,3 km
The next day is completely cloudy. Today, after a few kilometers, a rather wide river crossing is on the schedule. The water level is not particularly high and we try to get an overview in advance and to find the best way. We actually get across the river mostly dry. At higher water levels, however, the crossing, which is certainly a hundred meters wide, might be challenging.
Are we vanishing in the swamp today?
Despite the gray weather, we have the best mood today. We enjoy the wide landscape and the special autumn atmosphere on the Nordkalottleden. However, today also a long announced marshy spot is awaiting us, which we have a bit of respect for. We do not want to sink into the mud. Markus, who is walking a few days ahead of us, has suddenly sunk in here up to the hip and had trouble to fight his way out of the swamp.
About half an hour before the two lakes, between which the “hole” is said to be, we meet a couple coming towards us. She is splattered up to her chest with mud and tells us that her husband had to pull her out of the hole. Fortunately, the two of them can describe to us pretty accurately where the hole is and how to get around it. With this knowledge we feel well prepared, but between the two lakes we still very carefully put one foot in front of the other. In the end, however, everything goes well and we escape the mud bath!
Cabin with reindeer view
However, the Nordkalottleden to Dærtahytte drags quite a bit at the end, as we walk at the foot of a boulder field. We have to pay special attention to every step. But we are rewarded with the super beautifully situated Dærtahytte. The dog room here is the nicest on our whole tour: there is even an own sofa and a wide bed where the both of us find space. Dry-footed we also get from here to the main cabin, where we enjoy our dinner with a view through the large panorama windows. Meanwhile, a herd of reindeer grazes peacefully in wide circles around the cabin. We can observe the animals from our window seat great.
Day 116: Dærtahytta – Rostahytta
08.09.2022 | 16,8 km
When we left Abisko, the section ahead of us on the Nordkalottleden felt really long and our motivation was not so high. But little by little now our backpack is getting lighter and lighter and the great autumn atmosphere, cozy huts and nice people make this section a very special one.
Trail Angel also exist on the NPL
From Dærtahytta we follow the trail further to Rostahytta. Since it is only about 17 kilometers, we can take our time in the morning. At Rostahytta we experience some trail magic again: the hut keeper is currently on site and maintains the huts. During the day he was fishing and caught several trout. He gives us one of them and we share it with our fellow hikers. Auguste and Helene even brought oil and Hans-Christian, the Dane who has been walking with us for several days now, collected some garden angelica during the day. Björn Sarstad showed it to us in Kvikkjokk and also encouraged us to try it. Up here it is called simply Angelica for short, after its Latin name – Angelica Archangelica. The spicy and slightly bitter-pungent taste fits great with the trout. What a feast!
Day 117: Rostahytta – Gappohytta
09.09.2022 | 19,5 km
From Rostahytta we leave Nordkalottleden for two days. There are two parallel trails here, both almost the same length. I cannot say with certainty why we chose this one. It was probably coincidence. The way to Gappohytta leads us over a pass and I was looking forward to the view for days. Now, however, dense fog billows in the valley.
We delay our start a bit and when we use the very weak reception behind the hut to book a hotel in Kilpisjärvi, the sky suddenly opens up. We still look amazed at how quickly the fog is blown out of the valley before we start the sweaty climb. The view at the top is worth it, even if the clouds still hang low in the peaks of the mountains.
Catch of the day: an Arctic char
For the last time we cross Sweden for a short distance today. And we catch a fish! Completely without a fishing rod, because the Arctic char got lost in a very shallow area between the stones. That gives us a chance to catapult him out of the stream with the help of the hiking poles. Two days in a row of fresh fish – that’s great. Of course we share with our co-hikers Helene, Auguste and Hans-Christian tonight as well. In the left-over cupboard of the hut we still find powder for mashed potatoes.
Day 118: Gappohytta – Goldahytta
10.09.2022 | 12,3 km
Behind the Gappohytta we split up, while Auguste and Helene walk the leg to Kilpisjärvi in one day, we take our time and divide the way into two sections. The first one leads us to the Golda cabin. The path is fantastically beautiful and the autumn colors now shine even more intensely.
The Goldahytta, on the other hand, is dark and uncomfortable and the dog room tiny. We reach the cabin early and are briefly pleased that we have minimal network reception. Unfortunately, the reception is not enough to really use the Internet and so I write only a little on the next blog article, while the afternoon flies by.
Day 119: Goldahytta – Kilpisjärvi
11.09.2022 | 20,1 km
On the way to Kilpisjärvi we pass the three-country point between Norway, Sweden and Finland: a monstrous yellow concrete block that spreads very little charm. A stone reminds of the opening of the Nordkalottleden in the 90s. At this point, the Nordkalottleden, which we left two days ago, joins us again. We walk around the border stone for a short time, but actually we are much more interested in the Finnish hut just behind the border. We do not want to spend the night in this one, but of course it is good to know what the equipment of the huts in Finland looks like.
On the further way to Kilpisjärvi, there are now significantly more tourists on the trail, who make a day trip to the three-country point. There is even a shuttle boat that takes tourists to just before the stone. For the last few kilometers we walk on the street, as the trail is quite exhausting for us today. Although the Nordkalottleden leads parallel on a hiking trail, we just want to arrive and that as quickly as possible. So the road seems to be very convenient for us, and two hours later the small town of Kilpisjärvi appears!
Shortly before we get there, someone waves to us at the side of the road. It is Hans-Christian, who is waiting for the bus here. In the last few days we have crossed paths again and again and have met in the evenings at the huts. Once again we realize: it is the company that makes hiking sections something very special! Before our ways separate, we say goodbye.
Day 120 – 121: Rest days in Kilpisjärvi
12.09. – 13.09.2022
The hotel in Kilpisjärvi is probably the most expensive of our entire trip. From here, many Finns start their personal adventure to Halti, the highest mountain in Finland. We also want to continue in this direction, but without climbing the mountain itself.
Looking for a valuable package
But first we have to locate our package. Manuel’s parents sent us a package with the replacement device for our broken Garmin InReach Mini. It should have arrived here at the hotel, but nobody can find it. This remains the same the next day and in the afternoon we are called to the small office of the hotel. We are offered an additional night’s stay at the hotel’s expense so that they can continue searching for our package.
We have almost given up hope when the hotel manager actually knocks on our door on the second day and holds our Garmin in his hands. He had come all the way from another hotel 200 kilometers away to search with us. And it turned out that our package was on his desk the whole time. Since we had not made a reservation at the time the package arrived, it could not be assigned. Therefore, the hotel staff opened the package and then put it in a bag on the desk of the hotel manager. However, since everyone was feverishly looking for a package, no one paid attention to the bag.
More problems with the Garmin InReach Mini
The only thing missing now is the activation of the Garmin. And here we encounter the next challenge. The device is refurbished and cannot be activated. Garmin support first has to forward the case to the USA. In the end, we have to leave Kilpisjärvi without an activated device. That doesn’t suit us at all, because precisely on the section ahead of us we would like to have functions such as checking the weather and the ability to make an emergency call.
But since we can’t change that now, we enjoy our last day in Kilpisjärvi in bright sunshine. There is a fantastic dinner, we visit the sauna of the hotel once again and overcome ourselves to take a bath in the lake, which gives the village its name. It is not warmer than 4°C all year round and really cold at the beginning of autumn!
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