In August and September 2008 I went to Sarek national park for the first time. Sarek is a small and beautiful mountain wilderness area in Swedish Lapland which seems to reassemble very well the Brooks Range in Alaska and is therefore sometimes called European Alaska. For me personally, it is my favorite area in Europe for wilderness backpacking so far.
During the years I have developed a rather unusual way of making wilderness backpacking trips. When looking at the maps while planning at home, I can almost never choose a straight line through a certain mountain area. There are always too much places on the map which look so interesting that it would be regrettable to skip those places. Therefore I developed myself the habit to plan rather complex looking criss-cross routes through each area on which I’ve put my mind for a long wilderness backpacking trip, trying to see as much as I can by following such a complex route. When I was planning my first trip in Sarek, I couldn’t change that habit either.
Eventually I made a trip of 27 days with only one small resupply at the mountain hut of Aktse just outside the park. My pack weighted 32kg at the start. Today I start to dislike such heavy weights to begin such a long trip, but back than I was still in perfect shape and strong and didn’t mind walking with weeks of food in my pack. Back home I spend one month writing my story about the trip based on field notes and my valuable memories. This trip report looks at the end more like a book than just a report. Unfortunately it was written in Dutch but those really interested can try to use a Dutch to your language translator and read the story here.
Honestly, I’m a person who doesn’t really like to meet other people on a wilderness trip (but I’m not going to run away if someone appears). I like solitude, even for weeks in a row. I came across different opinions concerning whether you can experience a feeling of solitude on a trip through Sarek or not when I was preparing my first trip. In my experiences you can experience both solitude here as well as meet several people each or almost each day during the summer months. It just depends on which route you choose to take. There are eroded trails in the valleys which are frequented rather regularly, lets say daily during the summer months. But once you stroll away from these popular routes you can be alone for days or even more than a week. While walking during the day I have the habit to count the number of people I meet and happen to see from a distance each day, as well as the amount of wildlife I see. In the table below I have listed the number of people I saw each day on the trip. With the routemap you can have a better idea which part of the area has more frequented routes. Note that I walked on the very popular Kungsleden trail for two days just past halfway on the trip. The number of people you can meet here is certainly out of proportion compared to the popular routes in Sarek itself.
|Date||Number of people met|
|03 Sep||47 (all of them on Kungleden)|
|04 Sep||38 (all of them on Kungleden)|
|14 Sep||13 (all in Kvikkjokk)|
|15 Sep||1 (in Kvikkjokk)|