Friday, July 11, 2014

Hike to the Tarfala station, Thursday, June 26th

This blog was originally posted on the Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic Blog on July 2, 2014.

by Tyler Kamp and Vadim Velichkin

We woke up at seven, ate our breakfast and went to Nikkaluokta, where we arrived at nine o’clock. At Nikkaluokta we spent some time organizing our luggage and finally we were on the trail at half past nine. The gods smiled upon us that day so we had the perfect weather.

The trail that we chose to walk is a part of the Swedish King’s trail (Kungsleden). The major part of the trail went through a valley, with forest growing on both sides of it. The slopes were gentle so this part of the trail was not very physically demanding. On the way there were a lot of interesting things to observe, both natural and artificial. We crossed several moors and mountain rivers. After approximately one and a half hours of walking we have come to a lake where we saw a traditional Sami winter hut. Also, we saw two reindeers that we followed for a short time. The view was spectacular with the mountains standing like timeless giants. Whenever we felt tired we stopped and enjoyed the nature around us. On the way we also came across a meditation stone. At about twenty past three we reached the Tarfala valley and we knew that the hardest part was yet to come. There were tears, a lot of whining and some blood, which basically was Hanna cutting her hand.

At some point we had to cross the snow. We noticed the U-shape of the valley, which hints that the valley has been covered with ice before. Also, we were vigilant to the change in vegetation. Once in the valley we could no longer see any trees. Instead we saw low vegetation in form of lichens, moss, grass and flowers.

Eventually we arrived to the Tarfala station at half past five. We got to know the staff, who received us with open arms and a hot dinner. Since the environment at Tarfala station was new to us one of the scientists held a presentation about the safety rules, after which we were shown to our rooms. Finally we ended our day by enjoying the hot steam in the sauna and watching the Sun disappear behind the mountain tops.


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