Travels with V
Mountains, rapids, and wild walks
Part five, Nikkaluokta - Storforsen
There’s a small harbour down by the lake Laddjujauvri, and here’s where passenger boats leave for the other side of the lake. Andreas Sarri, Enok’s grandson is the captain and he takes us and some twenty other passengers to a landing in a wide delta. From here it’s just seven kilometers to Kebnekaise tourist station, and that’s where most of the passengers are headed. But not us, we walk back to Enoks in lovely sunshine. From time to time we watch redwings jump some five meters ahead of us, keeping their distance but not flying away. They constantly glance back as to say: “well come on then!”
Laddjujauvri is a long and narrow mountain lake surrounded by high and steep mountains with dramatic slopes. One morning a cloud has passed powdering the higher grounds. And when the wind blows over the lake its water turns light green, almost making it look like mediterranean water.
The days of our great journey into the far north of Sweden pass quickly and it’s time for our last leg of the trip. But first we have a quick stop at Jukkasjärvi and the famous ice hotel. But you have to pay to just see the interiors, so we stay outside. It’s lunch time and we’re really hungry, and we just can’t find a single restaurant anywhere. Our only option is in a village center where we can pick our own hamburger ingredients from a freezer and in a seating room with a big fire in the center cook the stuff ourselves. We’re joined by a gang of elderly bikers who have come here from Stockholm on big black shiny motorbikes now parked outside.
Next to the village center lies Jukkasjärvi church, a wooden structure typical for Lapland. A famous Swedish artist, Bror Hjorth made and painted the altarpieces depicting Læstadius, a legendary and sometimes infamous preacher who led a mission in Lapland. His harsh preachings are quoted here: ”Læstadius said: You drunkards, you thieves, you whores and whoremasters, CONVERT!”
Now we turn south to the mighty “Storforsen”, which translates to “Grand Rapids”. It’s Europe’s highest unregulated waterfall, 82 meters in total height and it’s a dramatic part of the Pite river. It’s not entirely untouched, some adjustments have been made to facilitate timber floating. That activity ended in the 1960’s and artifacts and huts used by the rafters are now on display in a forest museum.
Storforsen is a very popular tourist attraction and lots of people are moving about watching the spectacular currents or having a picnic. There’s a dried out riverbed called “Döda fallen” (Dead Falls) where pools of clear water are used for swimming. And in another part of the Dead Falls they built a stage, and what a magic place for a concert!
The surrounding forest is also great for walks, having a bit of an enchanted vibe.
We’re lodging at the quite stylish Storforsen Tourism and camping, and we have a perfect panorama view of the rapids from our balcony. We love to sit and just watch it run as the northern summer sun ever so slowly sets. But in mid summer the nights are never dark in Lapland. For a few precious weeks it’s always light and these nights are magical. We hope you’ll see it too one day!