By Jörgen Johansson
The photo above is from an unforgettable backpacking trip when I was only seventeen and for the first time looked out over what has often been called "the most beautiful lake in Sweden". Virihaure is a big lake in the Laponia Heritage area, Padjelanta NP, close to the border of Norway. The sami summer camp at Staloluokta is seen in the photo and on the eastern shore of Virihaure there are trails and cabins. On the western shore there is nothing, and very often, no one.
Visa större karta
The reason for the inaccessability is that Virihaure is part of a chain of some other big lakes and also guarded by some pretty ferocious rivers that have taken the lives of sevaral forders, even among the reindeer keepers in the area. So few people visit west of Virihaure and those that do usually come from Norway or let themselves be ferried over the lake by the Sami.
I have never been west of Virihaure but it struck me about a month ago that thanks to the packraft this area now would be open to a free ranging exploration of the kind that I like.
So the plan now is to enter the area from the northeast, at Vaisaluokta and Ritsem on the huge dam of Akkajaure. Then I plan to hike north of Sallohaure, Vastenjaure and down west of Virihaure, aiming for Sulitjelma on the Norwegian side of the border. Known as one of the worlds most peaceful borders. So I am looking forward to paddling beneath the white cliffs of Aralåbå...
But right now I am off to cut some cuben fiber...