Day 3: Aktse – Pårte: 25km +100m/-150m
Flat day, but long day. We started as soon as possible, because of the length, for sure, but also because of Tjaktjajaure, the big lake of the day (10km of day trail is on it!), that is waiting for us. We’ve heard different things about it, and we are now a bit puzzled about it. The only common thing we heard was: “It is safe to cross it, but it’s in a bad condition”.
The day begins with the same pattern as yesterday, 3km flat lake as a start. A beautiful view (did I mentionned it was blue sky and sunny ?) on the lake and Skierffe, our missed target of yesterday. A small hill in front of us easy to pass, before going down to discover Tjaktjajaure. We did not see it in advance, slaloming in the pine forest. All of the sudden, a big sign “You’re going on this lake under your own responsibility”. Charming! Beyond the sign, it looks like the Moon. No trace at first of a lake, desolate landscape of stones, ice blocks (icebergs ?), and the trail winds up and down around small hills towards the other side.
Tjaktjajaure is a huge reservoir whose level can vary by 35 meters. The problem in winter, is that it get frozen very early, then the water dissappears under, all the ice collapses down to the new water level, freezes again, … resulting of a very strange landscape, with cracks in the ice, ups and downs, …with loud crack noises and water steam coming out from ice cracks…We’ve been told to stay on the trail, no problem, it hasn’t cross our minds to go off-track. We’ll ask to the dog sledge’s guides later on this steam: He had never seen that before… Well!
We took a deserved rest on the other side of the lake for lunch, half the trip is done. One’s eating, the other’s playing in the snow (I won’t give names). But the road is still long, and it would be nice not to finish at night. Hit the road, Peaches!
The second part of the day is flat, for real, and long. The landscape get’s more and more fairy with the sunset light in the middle of this flat and endless birch forest. Thumbs up for Peaches that keep the pace up all the way, without complaining. Strong! The sun waited for us to arrive at the Pårte cottages before going down. Good timing, despite a loonng day.
Same process as the previous days, but this time we have a whole part of the cottage for us (with a big kitchen and 10 beds, we’ll sleep good!). It took us unfortunately a couple of hours to make a decent fire with wet wood and bad methods. We’ll have to work on that for next time, with the wood chopping!
This long stage is over. Tomorrow is a short and mostly downhill stage. It smells almost home. So soon, too soon! We would have stayed a week extra here, in the middle of (almost) nowhere! No mobile phone, no internet, no work, no problems … H O L I D A Y S!