The first part of the “Hiking North” trip series (the Moskkugaisi Traverse) is done and after two days of pizzas, burgers and beer at friend’s place in Kilpisjärvi I’m feeling ready for the next trip (the Poroeno-Reisaelva packrafting). And before the next trip it might be good idea to share some initial thoughts from the first trip.
I have to say that the trip turned out being a bit harder than I expected but it was doable anyway and gave me an idea about the type II fun the Alaskan racers often talk about…
After some five hours of sleep we started the trip from Signaldalen at Thursday morning 09:30 a.m. and finished it to the roadside South of Kilpisjärvi at about 03:15 a.m. on Saturday morning. According to the Social Hiking map based on our Yellowbrick beacons we covered 119km and gained 3274 vertical meters of altitude. For me that feels like quite a bit too much as measured from a paper map the distance should be more like 90km, though the height gain seems right. But on the other hand the beacons seem to be on right places and GPS shouldn’t lie. So who knows, maybe we covered 119km in 41,75 hours?
We started from the parking area at the bottom of the valleys and started to walk up the trail to the peak of Bárrás.
After visiting the peak we ascended back to our backpacks and started the walk towards the rest of the peaks hauling our backpacks up to a pass at 1063m and visiting the Pältsan from there.
After summiting the Pältsan it was very clear that we had underestimated the time needed for hiking over 3000 vertical meters (of which well over 2000 meters with 15 kg backpacks). This meant that we couldn’t start the high route traverse of the Moskkugáisi during that day as it wouldn’t be wise to do it in the dark and camp sites are hard to find up on the ridge. So we camped on the fjell side: two man under a small one-man tarp… I also had a summer weight sleeping bag and as the temps were below zero had a bit cold night.
We left the camp at 07:00 a.m. and headed up to the Moskkugáisi followed by a spectacularly scenic high traverse to the ridge leading to Juoksvátnjunni.
The last peak to visit was the Juoksvátnjunni with cool sharpish rocky ridgeline leading to the summit.
After the last summit we walked to the trail leading from Pältsastugan to Kummavuopio, walked a bit along the trail and then inflated our packrafts and started the float down along the Kummaeno river.
To our surprise the Kummaeno offered quite poor packrafting. It was fun for a while but soon we got frustrated with the very rocky rapids and several sections too shallow for packrafting. The going was also slow and we were again running out of daylight. And we were also miserably wet and cold. We took out at the edge of Oaggujeaggi bog, made a quick fire using a gas stove as a lighter and had a proper one-hour break with hot food (the first and only proper break excluding the camp).
After the break we packed the rafts and started walking along the trail to the abandoned farm of Kummavuopio. From Kummavuopio we headed towards the road on the Finnish side of the border following very wet snow mobile trail and doing two river crossing with packrafts in the dark and enjoying a section of quite bad brush between the rivers. This was then followed with a few kilometers of forested uphill to the road where a friend picked as up at 03:15 a.m. (Sorry, no photos from this sections as it was dark and I was tired and too busy to get the trip finished.)
I have to admit that I was quite tired after the trip but I did enjoy it in a twisted way. I don’t really recommed doing the trip this way but as it’s a spectacular route in my opinion I’ll be writing later about better ways to do it…
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The Social Hiking map gives you a good idea about the trip but I forgot to use the #HikingNorth hashtag on some tweets so it’s missing some tweets but the missing ones are available from the Yellowbrick YBlog page. Pictures linked to the map are coming later when I get the two other trips done…