What can I write about this trekking tour? It was absolutely incredible and spectacular, a true adventure and perhaps one of the most beautiful vacations I’ve taken so far. We hiked the Nordkalottleden from Abisko to Røysvatn and from there we hiked the Gränsleden to Ritsem.
The vastness of the landscape cannot be captured on a photo
I’ll start with the scenery. This was definitely the trekking tour we did with the most sensational views up here in Lapland. Actually, we could keep my phone permanently in panorama mode for taking pictures, as every turn of the trail offered another stunning view. On a photo with normal image ratio it is impossible to capture this vastness, in fact, it was not even possible to capture the atmosphere at all.
This trekking tour has brought me to my limits
But then this trekking tour also brought me to my limits. Carrying food for us and dog food for Lando for 14 days is no walk in the park. At the same time, finding the trail was more difficult than on our previous tours and the trails themselves were also harder to walk on. All this ended up in us moving significantly slower. With about the same tour length as in previous years on the Kungsleden between Abisko and Vakkotavare and from Saltoluokta to Jäckvik, we were walking longer. In retrospect, it would have been good for me to take one more rest day. It would have been okay with our tour planning, but during the hike I couldn’t really commit to it. But I will definitely take this lesson learned with me for the next time.
Not one cloud in the sky with temperatures above 20° C – and all that in Lapland
The weather was also absolutely extraordinary. Except for the first two days and the very last day, the sun was shining without exception and somehow also somewhat mercilessly. There was not a single cloud in the sky. We have never experienced that in Lapland! On my previous trekking tours we were always happy when it didn’t rain and considered ourself lucky when the sun would shine for one or two days. This year, on the other hand, we were permanently fighting against beeing sunburned and had to take extended lunch breaks to avoid the strongest sun. Never before in my life have I had a sunburn on the back of my hand…but I don’t want to complain. The weather was absolutely great and I was happy about it every morning! But at the same time it is enormously exhausting to spend the whole day hiking in the sun.
The late melting of snow challenges us
Last but not least, it was a great adventure to ford through the rivers swollen by the late snowmelt. My fording experience so far was limited to a crossing of the Neckar at a shallow spot near the ruin of the Neckarburg. There was neither any significant current, nor was the water deeper than up to my calves. Before going on this trekking tour, we simply had not expected that it would lead us through so many rivers that we actually had to constantly hike with wet feet.
The lesson of this vacation: let go and take each day as it comes
Mentally, I struggled with the uncertainty during the first days. In the mornings we didn’t know if we would be able to make it the way we planned. Too many factors like the state of the bridges, swimming spots for Lando and fords that were not marked on the map lay ahead of us every day. However, as the days went by, I learned to deal with it a lot better and did not see the planned path as the only one. I realized that it was not so easy to let go of the long planned route and to see alternatives. Every mastered ford, bridge or other difficult passage gave me self-confidence and in the evenings I felt a deep satisfaction and pride about the achievements we have made every single day!
The sections of our trekking tour on the Nordkalottleden and the Gränsleden
Via the following links (will be added bit by bit) you will get to the detailed descriptions of each day:
On small trails
Day 1: Traveling, Abisko – Campsite at Kårsajåkka
Day 2: Campsite at Kårsajåkka – Campsite at Hoiganjohka
Day 3: Campsite at Hoiganjohka – Unna Allakas
Day 4: Unna Allakas – Cunojávrihytta
Day 5: Cunojávrihytta – Cáihnavággihytta
Day 6: Cáihnavággihytta – Campsite behind the dam
Day 7: Campsite behind the dam – Sitashytta
Day 8: Rest day in Sitas
Day 9: Sitashytta – Paurohytta
Day 10: Paurohytta – Campsite at Skuogejávrre
Day 11: Campsite at Skuogejávrre – Røysvatn
Day 12: Røysvatn – Gálavárddo shelter
Day 13: Gálavárddo shelter – Campsite at Sievgok
Day 14: Campsite at Sievgok – Ritsem
I will be doing this the other way round with my son mid July starting in Ritsem and it will be his first time and I want to make sure the fords are ok for him. How bad were the fords as in to what depth on your body. Could you point out where there were particularly bad ones and was it obvious how to get around them or any trick you realised. Also is it obvious the first night so it would have been your last night where to camp. It looks like there is a wind shelter on the most western part of Akkajaure Is there camping spots there. Thanks for your help.
sorry for the late response but we are on tour at the moment.
It is probably to late for you now but it would have been unreliable to say something about the fords anyway. Conditions in the mountains are different every year. This July was very wet so fords might have been hard. Best way to find out is contacting the local DNT section which is DNT Narvik. They are experts and should know best about the current conditions in the mountains.