04-Apr-2004 -- On 3rd of April 2004, one week after our successful visit to 70°N 23°E, I packed my "pulk", a little fibreglass sledge, with tent, sleeping bag and the gear and food supplies necessary for a two day winter trip into the mountain plateau of West Finnmark. The weather forecast was promising, and crusty snow conditions all over Finnmark the last few weeks, made skiing an easy task almost everywhere.
So early on this fine Saturday morning at the start of Easter, my wife drove me 30 kms northeast of Alta on the E6, to a place called Bigas (elev. 360 m). This is where the E6 for some 50 kms runs across the magnificent high mountain plateau called Sennalandet. The distance from this point to 70°N 24°E was not the shortest one I could find on the map, but I realized that starting off at the southern end of the Sennaland platau would give me a favourable starting elevation, considering the fact that the confluence point is at 486 m.
The morning was cloudy, but a temp. just above 0º C and only a light southern breeze, made me very optimistic about the day´s leg. I started skiing east towards Levdunjavri (elev. 442 m). The last syllable "-javri" is from Sami language and means "lake".
I was tempted to try fishing on the frozen lake once more (in fact, I caught some fine trouts here last spring on the ice), but thinking of this day's total travelling distance made me head on.
From Levdunjavri I skied more or less straight south, and passed over Bælljaidjavri (elev. 448 m), Goasujavri (495 m) and crossed the river Sarvesjåkka at an elevation of approx. 480 m.
Then I continued over Caccesuoppatjavri (544 m) and started ascending the northern hills of the mountain Sæinos. That was by no means a stiff climb, and just half an hour later I went through the little pass right on top of the mountain (at 700 m).
From the top plateau of Sæinos I had a perfect view down to the wooded sides (arctic birch and pine ) of the canyon made by the river Stabburselva, which runs NE into Stabbursdalen National Park. Then it was fairly easy downhill skiing SE to Gallujavri (519 m) where I had planned to camp, 1.5 km W of the CP (at 70º00.283 N 23º57.166 E).
To my surprise the time had already passed 7 p.m. when I arrived (most certainly due to a very long and luxurious lunch break half way, and perhaps all the time I spent finding out how the remote control on my daughter´s camera works!). Distance Day 1: Approx. 22 km.
Realizing the sun would set half an hour later, I decided to establish my camp while it was still daylight. That also ment postponing the CP-visit until the next morning, which at that time was perfectly fine by me! I must be honest and confess I felt more like resting and eating a proper dinner at this stage of my trip. Spending time taking photos at the CP in darkness was not an option.
That, by the way, turned out not to be the true case!
After a beautiful dark red pastel-coloured sunset, the night appeared with a perfect clear, dark blue sky; decorated with a full glowing moon in majestic combination with intense and vigorous aurora borealis (northern light). I swear I could have studied the stock lists in The Financial Times without straining my eyes that very night!
After some hours of sleep in my tent, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise at around 5 a.m., Sunday 04.04.04. The wind had increased a bit during the night (around 10 m/sec from S), and it managed to move some drifts of snow.
Some twenty minutes after leaving my base, I had done the 1.6 km distance east to the point.
It was interesting to find fresh tracks of a wolverine just 40 m SE of the CP. It seemed like it had made itself a path along the N 70 latitude.
At the CP I even managed to use the camera remote controll. Old men can still learn new tricks! :-)
Next I headed SW towards Alta and the upper parts of Transfarelvdalen, called Trangdalen
("Trang-" is narrow and "-dalen" means valley). I should have stuck to my originally planned route: Going around Trangdalstoppen (568 m) and drop into the valley from the south side.
Instead I made the foolish decision to hit the gorge at the fairly unhospitable upper part of Trangdalen, where skiing was a bit risky and difficult. But after a bit of tumbling, falling and climbing, I finally made it down to the river. That enabled me to ski easily on the river ice the last 10 km west down to Transfarelv on the E6, just 5 km north of the town center of Alta. My wife picked me up at around 5 p.m. Distance Day 2: 27 km.