July 10, 2004
Even if it was in the beginning of July it became a very cold night. The moisture from the ground condensed on the inside of the inner tent. The water then dripped down on my sleeping bag. The quality of the sleep was not very good in the wet sleeping bag. However, my new Therm-a-Rest mattress proved very comfortable. I regretted that I had not invested in one long before.
After a quick breakfast I continued south on the trail, and at about 2 PM I reached the Alesjaure Cabins. I can understand the people who decide to take the boat ride on this segment. You get the feeling that you never reach the cabins. The reason behind it is probably the fact that you are able to see the strategically placed cabins from a distance of several kilometers. The fording of the last stream before the cabins was easy this year. Many hikers get into problems here when they try to find a ford upstream of the trail. However, with some patience you will find an easy ford downstream the trail where the stream divides into several smaller streams. Jumping over the streams on the gravel bars will take you over without even wetting your boots. After a short break I pushed forward towards Tjäktja. As always it was interesting to find out what the ford over Sielmmanjira, just before the ascent to the plateau at the Tjäkta Cabins, looked like this year.
The weather was gradually getting worse, but it was not yet raining. Just before the reindeer guard cabin I took a late lunch break and prepared for the two steep ascents to the top of the Tjäktja Pass. The wind started to increase and there were some rain drops in the air.
When I reached Sielmanjira I realized that the water level was very high. But - there was a snow bridge across the stream a short distance upstream. It looked safe and solid, so it was an easy choice. A minute later I was across, dry, safe and sound. As I fought the steep uphill the sky was getting darker ahead of me to the south. It did not look promising at all. Just when I reached the crossing with the trail to the Tjäkta Cabins the rain started to pour down in less than a minute. I could really feel the cabin host looking at me through the window, and waiting for me to give up and take off for shelter in the cabins.
But I put on my Gore-Tex rain gear and continued forward. There was snow left in the pass on the north side, but if you followed the winter trail up it was no problem..
When I reached the highest point of the pass I took a break and admired the view south through Tjäktjavággi. The rain had stopped, but there was still a light haze in the air.
Today’s goal was to reach the Sälka Cabins, so I strapped on my backpack and descended slowly on the trail that was now slippery and wet from the rain. My walking poles proved very usable.
In some strange way the Sälka Cabins always seem to suddenly appear without notice. They are situated in a way that you do not spot them until you are very close by. This had been a long day, and maybe that was the reason why it felt as it took even longer than usual before the cabins finally appeared.
At last I arrived. It was 11:30 PM and it was dark and quiet in the cabins. I looked for, and found, a cabin that was empty so I would not disturb anyone by my late arrival. It did not take many minutes before I was sound asleep in my sleeping bag.