Was a fantastic early morning in the beautiful area around Sälka. Fog lingering in the river valleys mirrored the clouds mostly obscuring the surrounding mountain peaks. Winds were calm and fall colors added pleasing golds as far as you could see. Great time to be out around sunrise and just take in the solitude and beauty.
Today we would tackle the hike to the cabins at Tjäktja and climb over the highest point on the entire Kugnsleden trail, the Tjäktja pass. Each day of the hike would always bring a sense of anticipation. What would the weather do? How would the trail be? Checking out the BD 6 map gives a good picture of elevation gain but you never really know how rocky the trail might be. The hiking isn't strenuous as long as you are fit for your pack weight and the modest distances but some sections are really rocky and so the uneven nature of the stones adds just a bit of soreness at the end of the day.
It didn't take long to find ourselves lost in the expansive river valley known as Tjäktjavagge. I would have to say the the views and the valley between Sälka and the Tjäktja pass would be some of the most scenic areas of the entire hike between Nikkaloukta and Abisko. We stopped for an afternoon snack before making the half hour climb up the Tjäktja pass and we could see small groups of reindeer in the valley. At the top of the pass, there is a hut to take shelter if needed and also a guest book which we signed and marveled a bit at the home countries of other recent trekkers.
Down the pass, on the North side, the terrain became really different. Solid rocks as far as you could see. Almost like a moonscape with some river strands running through it. And then the weather turned a bit rough. The wind picked up and a nice icy cold Arctic rain began to fall. But from the pass to the cabins was only about 4K so our time out in a little rougher weather wasn't that long. But, once we did arrive at the cabins the wind was blowing pretty fierce, maybe 30mph + which makes pitching a tent a little tricky at best. I found a nice ridge to pitch the tent just out of the howling wind but it was on a pretty severe incline. After securing the tent with stakes, it was pretty easy to find some small boulders to help keep the tent from blowing away. Something I especially wanted to avoid with me in it!
I remember it was a really fun night hanging out in the cabins at Tjäktja. There were trekkers from Ireland (Rob), Austria, Israel, Sweden, and the UK. We all gathered around a large table and just swapped adventures. High times with good people. Just doesn't get any better.
Start Time: 9:30am
Finish Time: 3:30pm