How to pack a backpack with a 9 month old baby, a tipi tent, diapers and food for a trek in the wild of Swedish Lapland.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” M. Theresa

Boooo! That’s long time, no see! But once in a while we throw a log onto the blog fire. We welcomed our son Bosse into the family in the summer of 2018. Whoop whoop!

Today we flashback you into Lotta’s adventure she took in july/august of 2016. At 9 months old she was big and strong enough a baby to sit up straight in a Thule Sapling. We backpacked between Kvikkjokk and Abisko, in, around, up, above the Kungsleden for about 280kms, including all side trips and side explorations into Sarek NP. Most of the time we made a bivaouc in the sturdy, spacious and light Nigor WickiUp4 tipi, other nights we stayed over at the comfortable STF huts, where we could resupply and wash up. We had organised a poste restante with diapers and extra food at SALTOLUOKTA fjallstation.

As explained before, we layered the baby up during the night with as many merino wool layers as necessary and a merino wool sleeping bag, as we did in Patagonia.

We are happy with the merino wool products from Danish Joha and German Reiff.

The baby did not sleep on an inflated sleeping mattres, because of suffocation danger. Her sleeping mat was the Thermarest Z-lite Sol closed-cell mattress. We buttoned a hooded hat to keep her head and body warm during the night. Breast feeding kept her nourished and healthy.

We choosed to use washable diapers with a biodisposable inlay like the G diaper system. It worked very well because on a maximum of 3-4 days in between, we crossed into an STF hut with pit toilets in which we could dump the used inlays and wash the outer protection panties.

We leave you with a video impression and some snapshots:



A bivaouc spot in the woods near Abiskojaure.

A bivaouc spot in the woods near Abiskojaure. Abisko National Park. Swedish Lapland.


Another bivaouc spot in the Abisko National Park. Swedish Lapland.

Another bivaouc spot in the Abisko National Park. Swedish Lapland.


Investigating a reindeer antler on an exploration high above the Torneträsk lake. Abisko. Swedish Lapland.

Investigating a reindeer antler on an exploration high above the Torneträsk lake. Abisko. Swedish Lapland.


Minutes before the thunder storm came in. Kungsleden. Alesjaure. Swedish Lapland.

Minutes before the thunder storm came in. Kungsleden. Alesjaure. Swedish Lapland.


A hot day in the north. Kungsleden. Alesjaure. Swedish Lapland.

A hot day in the north. Kungsleden. Alesjaure. Swedish Lapland.


After a good night's sleep. Kungsleden. Alesjaure. Swedish Lapland.

After a good night’s sleep. Kungsleden. Alesjaure. Swedish Lapland.


Vistasvagge . Swedish Lapland.

Backpacking through the Vistasvagge. Kebnekaise. Swedish Lapland.


Enjoying baby supper, high above the Stuor Reaiddavaggi dalen. Swedish Lapland.

Enjoying baby supper, high above the Stuor Reaiddavaggi dalen. Swedish Lapland.


Enjoying baby supper, but from a higher view angle. Notice the Nigor WickiUp4 tipi high above the Stuor Reaiddavaggi dalen. Swedish Lapland.

Enjoying baby supper, but from a higher view angle. Notice our Nigor WickiUp4 tipi high above the Stuor Reaiddavaggi dalen? Swedish Lapland.


We just left the Nallostugan and Lotta is already on a nap. Kebnekaise. Swedish Lapland.

We just left the Nallostugan and Lotta is already on a nap. Kebnekaise. Swedish Lapland.


Dusk at Nallostugan. Kebnekaisefjell. Swedish Lapland.

Dusk at Nallostugan . Kebnekaisefjell. Swedish Lapland.


Food fight at Nallostugan. Kebnekaisefjell. Swedish Lapland.

Food fight at Nallostugan . Kebnekaisefjell. Swedish Lapland.




Windy at Singi! Kebnekaisefjell. Swedish Lapland.

Windy at Singi! Kebnekaisefjell. Swedish Lapland.


Somewhere on the Kungsleden south of Singi! Kebnekaisefjell. Swedish Lapland.

Somewhere on the Kungsleden south of Singi! Kebnekaisefjell. Swedish Lapland.


Crossing a high plateau! Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Swedish Lapland.

Crossing a high plateau. Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Swedish Lapland.


Oral hygiene. Check! Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Swedish Lapland.

Oral hygiene. Check! Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Swedish Lapland.


Da! Da! Daaaaaa! (transl. Gimme that camera now)! Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Swedish Lapland.

Da! Da! Daaaaaa! (transl. Gimme that camera now)! Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Swedish Lapland.


No words. Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Swedish Lapland.

No words. Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Swedish Lapland.


Watch the weather change. Dusk at Sitojaure. Swedish Lapland.

Watch the weather change. Dusk at Sitojaure. Swedish Lapland.


While you we're sleeping. Kungsleden through Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

While you we’re sleeping. Kungsleden through Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


 Breast feeding is the healthy baby snack. Kungsleden through Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

Breast feeding is the healthy baby snack. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


Early morningunder the canvas. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

Early morningunder the canvas. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


Laitaure lake with Skierfe towering above. Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

Laitaure lake with Skierfe towering above. Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


I hate sunscreen. Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

I hate sunscreen. Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


A girl and her balloon. Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

A girl and her balloon. Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


 In Rapavalley there is a mountain called Nammásj.  Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

In Rapavalley there is a mountain called Nammásj. Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


 It's not the beach, but hey, it's sunny and the view is nice! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

It’s not the beach, but hey, it’s sunny and the view is nice! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


 It's quite quiet, so let's shout! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

It’s quite quiet, so let’s shout! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


 Keekaboo! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

Keekaboo! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


 Rainy smiles! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

Rainy smiles! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


 This is what they call a washed out trail! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.

This is what they call a washed out trail! Sarek NP. Laponia. Swedish Lapland.


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It’s oh so quiet!

You’re right. Blogging has been at low ebb over here. It’s part rat racing, part lazyness and part other pursuits. Such as writing for printed magazines, both in English and Dutch.

Offline writings... Sidetracked and Op Pad.

Offline writings… Sidetracked and Op Pad.

I’ m quite proud being invited  to contribute to the first printed edition of the inspiring Sidetracked adventure e-zine.

This brand new magazine swirls around the world, across land, sea and air. It takes us underground, underwater, and soaring high up into the sky. Extraordinary men and women head to the very ends of the Earth in search of inspiration and their own limits. And Sidetracked brings their stories home to us, curated in these beautiful pages. –  Al Humphreys

Please order your copy over here.

Sidetracked volume one

Sidetracked volume one

Closer to home I’ve also been published in the low lands major outdoor magazine Op Pad, which has 130.000 printed subsribers. It’s available on most newsstands in both Holland and Belgium during May 2014.

Op Pad - the great himalaya trail

Op Pad – the great himalaya trail

In both magazines I’ve been writing the article and providing photos about our traverse of the Nepal Himalaya along the Great Himalaya Trail, back in the fall of 2012. It has been a rollercoaster of trial and error with editors of both magazines to get things finalised. It has been a steep learning curve to get things professionaly printed on paper, but I’m very happy with both results, so I hope there’s more to come.

And have you been out there or are you completely pale from screen gazing?

Well it hasn’t been a spectacular outdoor past half year since the gap year, but we get out from time to time on micro-adventures of trailrunning, hiking and paddling close to home. Dreamers on lower clouds, but dreamers nevertheless.

 

Packrafing the Lesse. Belgian Ardennes. March 2014.

Packrafing the Lesse. Belgian Ardennes. March 2014.

 

Across Sarek. Swedish Lappland. April 2014. #moreonthenextblogupdate

Across Sarek. Swedish Lappland. April 2014. #moreonthenextblogupdate

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)

Snow Flapping through Sarek

Springtime. Daylight starts to win over dark. Trees turn into green. The morning air is filled with aromas. People get out, smile and look happy. Jogging and cycling seem like a plague again. It’s the time of the year that the house get scattered with winter outdoor gear, tiny plastic food ratio bags and folded open maps from remote wilderness areas far north. The food drying machine is running overtime, filling the house with strange odors.

We pack up and fill the Pulka with down jackets and sleeping bags, a 4-season tent, merino wool socks and heaps of enthusiasm. The carry-on luggage is exploding. We need some kind of plan to bypass the strict lady at the check-in counters. Luckikly i have big teeth and lips which can stretch from ear-to-ear.

Sorting out gear at the STF-"Butik" in Ritsem after 24-hour travel from Belgium. Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Sweden

Sorting out gear at the STF-"Butik" in Ritsem after 24-hour travel from Belgium. Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Sweden

A 2-hour flight, a 45-min time gap for the Stockholm-white-gas-quest, 17 hours of railroading and 4 hours of bus-speeding over glassy roads trough never-ending boreal forests. Suddenly the majestic, white mountains fill the bus window again. Every time again, it shivers down our spine. Adventure is approaching.

The ice stalactites are dripping in the sun at the small shop in Ritsem. A Saami comes by and wishes us good luck. “It has been very nasty the last couple of weeks. It’s the first day in weeks since I saw this kind of blue”.

Crossing Akkajaure with Áhkká mountain massif behind. Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Sweden

Crossing Akkajaure with Áhkká mountain massif behind. Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Sweden

We buckle the rods around our waist and shoulders and leave for a 2-week traverse into Laponia. We cross the solid frozen Akkajaure while the sun sets ahead. We meet Markus Heim, who flatly proclaims his 86th days on skis. The grin on his face, the length and colour of his beard blabs out an epic adventure. His girl is awaiting him at the other side of the lake. I urge him to stop spending his time on me. His compass designates north, ours south-east.

Entering the Sarek under the watchful eye of Niják (1922m)

Entering the Sarek under the watchful eye of Niják (1922m)

We cross into Sarek National Park. There are no traces from previous passer-bies. It’s so virgin here. We continue in base layer. A small breeze reminds us that it’s still -8°C and not summer. I always forget how fast my fingers congeal with such blows from nowhere. Mr. Bolt can learn something from the speed I reach for the primaloft-layer. Perfect conditions. Me like.

Leaving the warm nest in the tent for snapping 2AM norhtern lights pics in a breezy -25°C, is something on which some people would point with their finger to the sides of their head. But man, I am willing to make some shaking sacrifices for this spectacle.

Northern lights over the Ruohtesvagge-valley.

Northern lights above Skarja. Sarek NP

Deep cut valleys make it childishly easy for navigation. Leaves us loads of time to swallow the landscape. Ouch. Topsy-turvy. This can satisfy my hunger. Some of them rock faces are way too steep from this side. Snow is playing with gravity-rules there (if Newton would have known!). The Ruohtesvagge-valley does not fail to dissapoint. Even in bad weather this must be beautiful.

The lack of shelter combined with the shifting weather and rough terrain require hikers to have considerable experience to safely explore the area. Very few bridges are available inside the park and crossing streams (jokk in Sami) and rivers (ätno in Sami) can be very dangerous for the ill equipped or inexperienced. – writes Wikipedia. Luckikly everything is silently frozen white. Makes its easy to float by on snow flappers.

Ähpár massif and Skarki-massif scatter the horizon

Ähpár massif and Skarki-massif scatter the horizon

Skarja could count as a wilderness intersection. Here we meet the first human being in days. Otto, a pleasant Swedish fellow, is here to ski down the forementioned gravity-defying faces. He is a nice companion while gazing in the sun. We agree on “Awesome” as the appropiate term for this heavenly place on earth. While the temperature drops below what we could measure, stories from our adventures in the Karakorum mountains in Pakistan, nourish Otto’s dreams on this far-away-destination of which Sarek reminds us.

Sarektjahkka-massif, the highest (2089m) summits of Sarek NP

Sarektjahkka-massif, the highest (2089m) summits of Sarek NP

We tried to capture our small adventure in Sarek in the following shortfilm:

.

Bloody Mary, a new lightweight girlfriend for the coming exciting year

Bloody Mary, a new lightweight girlfriend for the coming exciting year

We have underestimated the night temps in this clear weather. Our fresh from the shelf 3-season Bloody Mary promises us that she will be a trustfull girlfriend, willing to go over her boundaries if necessary, altough we have to beef her up with a downjacket in this temperatures. It has been an nice acquaintance Mary. You deserve your own blogpost. That’s right!

Following Rahpajahka along Laddebakte (1537m)

Following Rahpajahka along Laddebakte (1537m)

The second morning at Skarja we wake up with noizes from outside. It’s like somebody is talking. When cleaning out the morning ear-and eyewax, it becomes clear that Mr. High Pressure had changed chairs with Mr. Cold Front. Snow is drifting trough the valley from all sides. It’s like all dust has to be collected at this intersection. We break up camp and leave in the white-out. Destination Rovdjurstorget, the place where Rapadalen is born. This place is more popular called Predator Square. I wonder why? It’s so Bambi quiet in here.

ET's life would have been lot more easier with this SPOT GPS Satellite Messenger

ET's life would have been lot more easier with this SPOT GPS Satellite Messenger

When we taught Sarek had offered us all we had came for, we needed to traverse one more valley. A new high pressure sets in. Why did nobody warned us on Rapadalen? That’s not a valley. That’s extravaganza. How can we absorb all this? Pfffff. In a couple of months we’ll come back here. A packraft will be necessary,….

Ok, I can’t continue describing all this… so let’s end with some more stills.

Now I hear you talking.

Oooo, before I forget, this was the last time we came in snow shoes. We have enough of the eyebrow frowning born-with-skis-on-their-feet-Scandinavians. Yeah yeah, we’ll join your club of slats-addicts.

Speak soon. Peace out!

Rapadalen. Nature extravaganza.

Rapadalen. Nature extravaganza.

Skierfe, Nammasj and Tjahkelij proudly guard the eastern entrance of Sarek

Skierfe, Nammasj and Tjahkelij proudly guard the eastern entrance of Sarek

SKierfe (1179m), a sheer 700m cliff... pride guard of Sarek

SKierfe (1179m), a sheer 700m cliff... pride guard of Sarek

Skierfe and Nammasj, guarders of Rapadalen

Skierfe and Nammasj, guarders of Rapadalen

Two dreamers at 67°N

Two dreamers at 67°N

Destination Kvikkjokk... lonely on the Kungsleden.

Destination Kvikkjokk... lonely on the Kungsleden.

Northern lights... need to say more?

Northern lights... need to say more?

Please visit my online album from this trip…

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