Joe and I have decided that it would be fun, both for ourselves and our readers, if we publish our separate accounts of the same trip on the same day, without having had access to the writings of our trip companion. So if you want to read a good story and see some nice photos (btw all photos are by Joe or Jo), go to Joe's blog at Thunder in the Night.
By Jörgen Johansson
Saturday March 26
Some snow and wind during the night changed into to a fairly sunny morning, with a biting, but not hard, wind and -10 C. Best weather so far by far.
This morning, however, the Paramo was positively soaked, and I did not hang around for long before starting to ski, to avoid getting my back chilled. I need not have worried. After about an hour and half we took a new picture showing a completely dry back. By then the overcast sky and the snow flurries had given way to a blue sky and a beautiful, cool winters day.
At the bottom of the hill we found a snowmobile trail and followed it to lake Langvattnet. By a small cluster of cabins on the north shore, two women, one older, probably the mother, were sitting in the sun just enjoying themselves.
We stopped for a brief chat, that proved both interesting and useful. The younger of the women did most of the talking, obviously knew the mountains very well, and almost laughed at us when we mentioned that we had come up on the Vidda from the Mattis Valley. She agreed that it was a 'a bit steep' in those areas.
The women could also tell us that we should be able to follow the powerline all the way into Övre (upper) Alta, where there were a number of camping sites/motels that also rented rooms and little cabins. They could not, however, guarantee that there was an open trail all the way, but thought it might have been run by skis and dogsleds. I assured them that we would manage anyway, and the younger one looked at me and said: Yes, if you came up the Mattis Valley I'm sure you will.
Skiing away Joe and I concluded that a Brit and a Swede could probably never in a lifetime expect more of a recognition from a Norwegian.
We had not gone far over the lake when Joe also got to enjoy the feeling of water around his ankles, sinking through the snow and into a sizeable overflow of water laying on top of the ice underneath. We rapidly backtracked and scraped Joe's skis clean enough from ice to let us go to the end of the lake and pitch our lunch camp.
Now we knew that we had plenty of time in order to arrive in Upper Alta early Monday afternoon. This would give us plenty of time to shower, have celebratyr dinner in Alta and a good nights sleep before flying out on Tuesday at lunchtime.
We followed the snowmobile and skitrail, a couple of times being passed by people out skiing with dogs this beatiful Sunday afternoon. Temperatures sank as the sun kept its daily rendevous with the horizon, but with plenty of daylight still left we left the main trail and headed up towards the big lake Storvattnet. We choose a campsite high up away from the lake, to avoid the katabatic airflow on what promised to be a cold night. After setting up our tents we built a fire and could enjoy the warmth while cooking (and drying socks and feet...). It also gave us a chance to dry out some of our damp gear, like quilts and sleeping bags before retiring to our tents.
Monday March 28
We woke to a still -12 C morning in the pine forest. For the first and only time on this trip, we had breakfast outside. I just grabbed my entire bed and dragged it out the door of the tent; foam pad, NeoAir, WM Ultralite and homemade quilt. Then I got inside the sleeping bag again and fired up the canister stove beside me.
After a leisurely breakfast we took a trip down to the lake. No katabatic air to be found anywere, the temperature on the lake ice was the same as in our camp up on the hillside. Ah, well, had we slept down by the lake it would probably have been -25 C. We then packed our gear and headed down the trail. The snowmobile track soon gave way to a lamp studded training trail for skiers as we neared the small community of Eiby. In bright sun we skied through the beautiful pine forest, along a trail that left us uninspired after nearly a week of making our own trails. After a couple of hours we came to a plowed road that took us down to Upper Alta and a motel room by the river.