12-Oct-2003 -- After visiting earlier that day N68E28 confluence we arrived late at Friday evening in Angeli which is a very small village with just a couple of houses. We slept the night at Anni Nuorgam’s residence. Anni is an old lady who was born in this village and has a cabin to rent for visitors at her home yard.
Saturday morning she served us a fine breakfast and during that she told us about the life there in the far north and how it has changed during the past years. The greatest improvement for villagers was the road constructed in the eighties, which made the shopping trip to Ivalo, the community center remarkably easier. The distance between Angeli and Ivalo along the new road is now only one hundred kilometres.
Anni has TV too, and during that breakfast we also followed the F1 qualifying race at Suzuga, and she gave us a very good analysis of the situation before the season’s final F1 race from the point of Kimi Räikkönen and Michael Schumacher.
From Anni’s place we drove about 12 km north along the river Inari, the border between Finland and Norway, to the cabin that we had rented from Villi
We left the car there, took the hiking and camping gear with us, and started to hike east towards the confluence.
The original plan was that we should get to confluence within one day, stay there overnight and get back to the cabin during the following day. The direct distance to the confluence from the cabin is only about 11 km, but the terrain there is not so easy. We managed to walk quite easily a great deal of the way along the trail that leads to the old reindeer working up area. At that area beside the vast Kurtojänkä swamp there were two obsolete cabins with collapsed stoves. We rested there for a while and then started to cross the swamp itself.
Walking was possible along the narrow ridges formed by short bushes. We tried to get to the river Kurto and then get over it somehow, but those ridges led us finally to a dead end with no access to the other side. After falling into mud we had to give up and turn back. We returned to those cabins and dried our the clothes there.
At this point we realized that it was not possible for us to reach the confluence during the daylight of that day. So we started to seek a place for a camp as near the river Kurto as possible. We walked some kilometres south at the side of the swamp in the direction where we had seen reindeers crossing it. There we found an area of solid terrain and pine trees in the middle of the swamp that was good for camping. We made our camp there and before dark we managed to scout a route across the swamp by following the markings made by reindeers to the place where we estimated that we could get over the river just by fording without needing to swim.
Next morning the swamp was much easier to walk because the surface of it was frozen and we had left our backpacks in the camp. When crossing the currently very low level of water in river Kurto using the reindeer fording place, we estimated that the temperature at the swamp was still -5 C. Because the water level only reached a little over our knees we thought that we had succeeded in finding the right place and time to get to this confluence by foot.
After about three km hiking we arrived the confluence. It was situated at a swamp that went all the way down to lake Suolovarrejärvi but it was quite easy to walk. We picked up and ate cranberries, lingonberries and crowberries from that swamp. That area where confluence N69E26 lies is bounded by rivers and swamps as the map shows and there was no signs of the presence or activities of men to be seen. In the woods there were ancient pine trees and the atmosphere and views there were awesome. We saw a lot of ptarmigans, which had a dangerous period because they had turned white already after the summer but there was no snow yet.
During the same day we returned to our camp over the river Kurto and had lunch there, unpacked the camp and walked back to the rented cabin by the border river. There we had a very pleasant sauna and after a night's rest we started on our way back south.