Compact, the Akkamassivet is embedded in a mixed green lawn. Authoritative in a way. With an attentive look at the neighborhoods. In Sami mythology, akka or akkura, they are the female gods who represent all the wisdom and beauty of the world. The word is still used to refer to wise old women. With the Akkamassivet safe in hand, we will hike through three national parks, me and my sister.
Night 1: night train from Stockholm
One Sunday evening (July 2020) we got on the night train from Stockholm Central. As seasoned as we’ve become with two previous mountain hikes in the bag, we’ve of course loaded up on fizzy and chocolate cakes. We tape our feet together and look for potential tent sites on the map.
The next morning at 05:40 we have to change trains in Boden and then get off at Gällivare and take a bus to Ritsem. Since the last section of the road is so narrow that it can only be driven by minibuses, we have to change buses at Stora sjöfallet mountain station. The plan is to take the boat from Ritsem over Akkajaure, but since it is too windy, the boats are replaced by a helicopter. We take the opportunity to weigh our bags while we wait. 18.5 kg and 17 kg. On this occasion, both sandwiches have been rationed and painting has been prohibited.
Mountain hiking – day and stage 1: STF Akka mountain hut to Treparksmötet, 14 km, 13: 15-18: 30
A quarter past one we can finally start the walk. The helicopter leaves us one kilometer from the STF Akka mountain hut and from there there are thirteen kilometers to Treparksmötet where the three national parks are: Padjelanta, Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet. The hike runs through the Padjelantaleden in the Stora Sjöfallet National Park. It is easy to walk and almost completely flat. The river Vuojatädno thunders in the background and the Akkam massif watches over us. Somehow it feels safe. Think about what they have already been through.
Six thirty we arrived at the Treparks meeting and set up the tent. Here we are in the Sarek National Park and for the first time all day, the sun leans through the clouds. Thousands of mosquitoes feast on our bodies, so we decided to dine inside the tent. Luckily we do not ration red wine in 250 ml of tetrapak.
Between the mountains
who gave us birth
twists us together
your body and mine
and the heart
Here I am
Thus begins the North Sami epic Ædnan, which takes place in the area, among other places. I see him at the theater a few months after our walk. Good advice for those who want to visit the place with their imagination.
Day and stage 2: The meeting of the three parks in the mountain hut STF Kutjaure, 19 km, 9: 00-16: 30
On the second day of hiking, we leave the crossing of the three national parks and head through the birch forest towards the Padjelanta National Park. After a kilometer we pass Kisurisstugorna and then we continue the trail towards Nordkalottleden. The hike takes place in a bumpy and green landscape, we walk a long way like on a ridge. “Like The Tale of the Ring”, we affirm. Outdated comparison, I know, but everyone gets it. In one of the rivers you can dive fresh fish from a styrofoam box. Unfortunately, the box is empty. The last stretch goes through a flat and rather boring swampy landscape.
“Are you sure we’re not setting up our tent on the helicopter pad?” we once again asked the cabin world at STF Kutjaure mountain cabin. “Still, no helicopter will come here,” he says. Just as each of us rolled tortellini with freeze-dried vegetable mince and again moved into the mosquito tent, we heard the whirring of a helicopter. The tarp shakes and the gravel vibrates. Will it land on us? Will we take off and fly? A few minutes later, it falls thirty meters away, where the real plate of the helicopter is. Blew it.
The winds whisper my name, or is that effort tinnitus now again? For you who haven’t done it before: just go. It is not about being trained, sooner or later the body will figure it out.
Day and stage 3: STF Kutjaure mountain hut at the close of the naked mountain Vaisaluokta, 15 km, kl 9: 20-16: 30
On the third day, our hike up the mountain begins with the first raindrops of the trip. It goes uphill slowly and the rest cabin, which should be 7-8 kilometers from the stage, never seems to appear. In the end, yes (of course), we make spaghetti with canned shrimp stew and parmesan and eat it inside the log cabin. Even shrimp stew can apparently taste good on the mountain.
Then the hike continues on flat terrain for a while before descending. It’s quite rocky and snowy at times, making walking slippery. I slide down the catwalk once, but I manage with a bruise.
We have already had enough mosquito tent sites and this time we decided to camp on the bare mountain. A secure card for those who want to avoid mosquito hell. So just before the trail reaches the tree line a couple of kilometers from Vaisaluokta, we set up the tent. Why haven’t we done it every night? Will Google Maps ever include “beautiful tent sites”?
We melt snow for water and make truffle risotto to see freedom.
Day and stage 4: naked mountain through STF Vaisaluokta mountain hut to STF Ritsem, 3 km, at 10: 30-12: 00 (+ helicopter at 14)
A woman passing by our store tells us that the boat that passes over Akkajaure, which we intend to take later in the day, will be replaced again by a helicopter. It shouldn’t go until two o’clock either, which gives us plenty of time to hike the last few kilometers to the STF Vaisaluokta mountain hut. We take for breakfast for a long time, rye bread with arugula in a tube – and one with walnut cream.
The hike descends quite steep through the birch forest to the beach. Here the Circa Sami have their summer residence. We passed patch huts, houses and the cute Vaisaluokta church shack. Once we arrive at the STF Vaisaluokta mountain hut, it is two hours until the helicopter will depart. The water is freezing but beautiful and the beach so white that I have to put on my sunglasses. It is difficult to understand that the boat cannot function due to the strong winds. If it weren’t for the freeze-dried lunch, we could easily have ended up in Greece.
The helicopter takes us over Akkajaure to Ritsem where we camp overnight in the mountain hut. There is wifi and a small shop with ballerina cookies and cold popular beer. The view of the lake and the massifs is magnificent, otherwise there is not much to animate. The next day the bus returns home. First to Gällivare, from where we took the night train to Stockholm.
If there will be a fourth mountain hike? Are you following Fantasy travels on Instagram then you already know the answer. This summer (2021) my sister and I hiked the Jämtland trail. Stay tuned here for a post about it!
Read about previous mountain hikes: