NATURE. Four comrades from Sweden’s Nest 4 and Nest 6 spent five days hiking in the Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet national parks, in the Laponian area, northern Sweden, to experience the beauty and power of the North.
The party took their first steps into Laponia’s wilderness on the afternoon of 12 August. The first kilometres were marked by both difficult terrain and mosquitoes, but even so there was excitement in the air, and the weather was beautiful.
The first day’s hike was only short because it began so late, with camp being made at an elevated point just below the tree line in Stora Sjöfallet.
The second day’s hike began with a strange omen in the form of a curious fox, who boldly strolled around the camp while the gear was being packed up. The fox accepted some dried meat and came very close to the comrades, as the photographs show.
The fox stayed behind when the group departed but sent them away with a happy memory – and it wasn’t the last the day would offer.
It was a tired group that laid down to rest in their tents here. They had passed up a suitable campsite a few kilometres back in order to cover a longer distance, but they had to go farther than expected before reaching a new one and finally getting food and respite. The following day they would enter Sarek.
Once inside Sarek, the group made camp immediately after a rather uneventful day. The greatest hardships awaited on the morrow.
Day 4 would comprise a long trip to the park’s highest point, so the backpacks used were light and small; however, the trip took all day and the weather prevented the party from reaching the summit.
After a day’s hiking and some provisioning, a large storm started brewing and forced the party to break camp. A final photograph was taken of the storm front that was massing in the distance, before the group hastily packed up and hurried on.
The next day, after a few hours’ sleep, the comrades set off on a decisive march back to their cars without lunch or dinner breaks. The wind had abated and the sun was shining again, but energy levels were running low. As such there was great relief when the destination first came into sight.
It was an extremely challenging journey full of hardships, but it created memories of a lifetime for everyone involved. The beauty was made so much more profound and awe-inspiring by the power it inhabited. Vast expanses bordered by mountaintops and glaciers, the sheer scope that makes man insignificant in comparison, and the contrasts that defy any description for those who haven’t experienced them first-hand.
More photos can be viewed in Martin Saxlind’s personal account of the trip here [Swedish].