Packrafthike gapyear – family farewell, gear list, adventure and science

Last stressy weeks at work. Nightly gear, logistics and route check-ups. Preperations got accelared. Hectic at times. Eventually the day arrives you shake hands with your colleageus. “See you in 400 days” with a deadpan grimace.

Walking on a ridge on the wild northeast coast of Tenerife

Walking on a ridge on the wild northeast coast of Tenerife

2 weeks before we leave on our expeditions to Lapland we go on a close-to-home farewell weekend-trip with Katrijn’s family. Eat, drink, bike, walk, laugh, fun. Immediatly followed by a 10 day family trip to the volcanic island of Tenerife with Steve’s family. A trip to a holiday resort island, which attracts 5 million tourists a year? Not our kind of destination you’ll think. But the island had more to offer then what we came for, watch the video impression…


What do you take on such a 55-day packrafthike in the subarctic?

Well, here is our gearlist for download, or click on the picture below. This is our full skin packlist, calculated with 10-day food ratio stretches. Is this ultra lightweight? Not in a distance. It’s lightweight in our mind with subarctic, mosquito-laden, summer-autumn climate conditions in mind. And some comfort too. Andrew Skurka’s blogpost on Stupid Light, just came in time to stop us from gram hunting 😉 I could write a full blogpost on our gear. Can you wait for a year?

Gear List Packrafthike Lapland - 1100km

Gear List Packrafthike Lapland – 1100km

Adventure and science

Not working for a year. You lazy horse. Why not combining all this with some voluntary usefulness for society. That’s why we shaked hands with Adventure and Science. This NGO facilitates partnerships between adventure athletes and the researchers who need them to collect data all around the world. From Mt. Everest to the Ocean, they have asked hundreds of athletes to make their time outside more meaningful. All of them become volunteers and make the decision to become adventurer-scientists because they have a strong desire to make more of their expeditions.

Adventure and Science

Adventure and Science

On our 1100km subarctic Lapland expedition we will be working for the Evolutionary Biology department from the Uppsala University in Sweden. We will do field data collection on Lichens, which are symbiotic organisms between a fungus and algae. Even if they are very important members of an ecosystem, their life cycle and biology is very little understood. Thamnolia vermicularis lichen grows all over the world in alpine and artic environments. It was not discovered yet in Africa or Antarctica but there is o reason it should no grow there. Because is an asexual species its wide distribution is quit a mistery among biologists. Some consider this lichen a very old species dating from Permian-Triassic when the Pangea continent still existed. Other think is spreading by birds, or by air currents. In lichen world this dispute is quit intense. By using a genetic approach (extracting DNA from it) scientists will be able to make a phylogenetic tree and solve its mistery. More then that the answers of this investigation will also help scientists and nature conservation people to understand the lichens migration patterns and their biology.

We are choosen as the first adventurers who will collect these species on such an expedition. It’s an honour.

Click for report and video on Joery's blog

Packrafting Grensmaas, last rehearsal before Lapland expedition. Click on picture for report and video on Joery’s blog

Oooh, before I forget, on the last weekend of June, we got a very nice, last minute, 24-hour packrafting trip wit Yves, Michael “Andreas” Jackson and Joery. Please visit his blog for a report with a nice vid. Joery is leaving in August for a 5 week wilderness packrafthike into the Mackenzie Mountains. Allready looking forward to his report!

We are ready. This is it. Let’s get the heck out of here. See you in September, when we are home for 3 days before leaving for the Great Himalayan Trail in Nepal.

Click here for live updates from our SPOT GPS Satellite Messenger

Click here for live updates from our SPOT GPS Satellite Messenger

Packrafthike Gap Year – Part 1/The Subarctic

[Update Tuesdag 11 July 2012 – MAJOR UPDATE on the first Sarek part, where we choose to cut through in western direction in direction of the Norwegian coast, right through Padjalenta National Park, packrafting the anciant glacial lakes of Virihaure, Vastenhaure, Sallahaure. 2 more days added on Lofoten. 2weeks till kick-off. First we’ll have a 10-day family retreat on Tenerife (Canary Islands). Download the full google earth map below]

Seamsealing the MLD eVent rain mitts, a monastic work.

Seamsealing the MLD eVent rain mitts, a monastic work.

We would like to present Part 1 of the Gap Year. A 1102 km packrafthike in Norhern Sweden and Norway. All above the Arctic Circle, wider known as Lapland or Sápmi . 745km hiking. 357km packrafting. 55 days. Kick-off 25th July. Finale 17th September.

The first part includes passing through known and less known areas like Tromsdalen, the Lyngen Alps, Kitdalen, Breiddalen, packrafting Kummaeno, Taavaeno and Lainio in remote Northern Sweden, smashed in between Finland and Norway. A second part will bring us to the famous Kebnekaisefjällen in the Swedish fjells along the Kungsleden, packrafting south, passing a first time through Sarek, westwards through Padjalenta. There we will ferry towards Versteralen and Lofoten. Those islands sparked us with so much eager last year, that we had to come back for some packraft-floating in between the needle-like granite peaks emerging from the sea. We will ferry back towards mainland, from where we will traverse the Svartissen and Salfjellet National Parks in coastal Norway. We will cross back to Sweden in eastwards direction towards wildlife-cladden Taradalen, from where the ruska (autumn) coulours will daze us. From here we will enter a second time into Sarek with an intention on packrafting Rapadalen.

We expect subarctic, summer-autumn climate conditions : ****-loads of misty rain, snow, cold, low clouds on the windswept tundra, arctic mountains and a mosquito-laden taiga. Hopefully some sun too. Would be nice. Thank you.

Please click here for a google earth download file from the 55-day plan. We embed the map in google maps below, but google maps crops everything in 3 different pages, so you don’t have the full picture here.

We would appreciate it a lot, if people known to and from the area, and especially on packrafting some of the rivers, fjords or seas, if they could give us some feedback through the comments. Maybe we overexagerate on some (packrafting) parts of the plan. Or maybe we should reconsider alternatives, on which we did not set our eyes on. A gear list will appear here soon too.

Packrafthike Planning Lapland 2012

Packrafthike Planning Lapland 2012

50 Days Food Rations Preperation

50 Days Food Rations Preperation

We known the area only from winter trips. We were on the Lofoten last year. Loads of pics will follow. We hope.

Utakleiv Beach - Lofoten Islands (from our april 2011 visit)

Utakleiv Beach – Lofoten Islands (from our april 2011 visit)

Reine, probably the world's most photoscenic village. Southern Lofoten Islands (from our april 2011 visit)

Reine, probably the world’s most photoscenic village. Southern Lofoten Islands (from our april 2011 visit)