Viajar a pie

"Viajar a pie" is Spanish for "Travelling on foot"

Category: Lapland

Slide Show

Telling stories with words is easy. Without them it’s a different language. This is about Nordkalottleden.

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Ultralight in the arctic

Handy scale in Alesjaure

At nearly max weight for the trip with 11 days worth of food

One of the issues with ultralight or lightweight hiking is overcoming the fear of being unprepared for the conditions. It’s something you learn with practice but that fear comes back when you face a new set of conditions. This is particularly true when you’re about to travel to an isolated place with potentially severe weather.

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Gear Performance Analysis

Shelter / Pack / Sleep system / Clothing / Shoes

Nordkalottleden was a bit off the typical 3 season conditions of a temperate climate and I had to make a few adjustments to my gear list to reflect that. There was also quite a bit of uncertainty as I was not so sure about what to expect so it was a bit of a challenge to gather a gear list I could trust and was still reasonably lightweight.

As usual, gear and technique are one in this discussion. It’s not possible to understand one without the other so this will not be a fancy presentation of cool looking equipment but a hands-on essay on how my gear and me got together in the arctic fells.

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Logistics

Access / Ressuply / Huts / Maps / Transport

Planning for this route wasn’t easy. There’s little information, either on the net or in print, and only little bits can be found in english. In the following lines, I’ll try to fill that gap from the (necessaryly limited) perspective of a one time hiker. Don’t expect a deep knowledge from the area. I’ll just try to provide all that info I couldn’t find easily, if at all, and I know now.

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Information

Terrain / Hiking / Trails / Signalling / Infrastructures / Weather / Obstacles / Season

The Lapland highlands

Terrain

Tundra

The northernmost tip of the route goes through the arctic tundra. Actually, I think it is not yet technically tundra as the terrain Nordkalottleden goes through is still forested and as far as I know the tundra is tree-less by definition but on this rolling hill landscape trees are small and the route often takes the high areas on the hills where trees are absent.

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Afterthoughts

Expectations vs. Reality / About hiking in Lapland / People / Pace / Would I do it again?

Beyond the gear, the terrain or resupply logistics, there are memories not so straightforward to talk about which are yet a good part of the experience.

Tornetrask with a low “roof”

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First Impressions

The blurred letters say “Nordkalottleden”

“What the hell am I doing here?… I want to go home…”

It eventually happens in most trips. There comes a moment when your morale weakens and you start wondering if it’s worth it. Usually, you soon decide it is, after all.

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Idea

I started planning for this trail back in 2005 to eventually put the idea back. In part, due to the lack of information in a language I could understand, oddly enough in this information era where everything is supposed to be available on the internet.

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