09 - Saltoluokta to Sitojaure-0002

09 - Saltoluokta fjällstation - Sitojaurestugorna

Almost immediately into a heavy green forest, there is a short but steep climb upwards before plateauing and having a consistent hike along the grasslands. The final stretch into Sito is a reasonably gentle downhill walk. As an easy hike, you can make perfect time between these two points, but given the fixed boat schedule from Sito, this may leave you cooling your heels in the STF station.

09 - Saltoluokta to Sitojaure-0007
09 - Saltoluokta to Sitojaure-0009
09 - Saltoluokta to Sitojaure-0014

09 - Saltoluokta fjällstation - Sitojaurestugorna

Almost immediately into a heavy green forest, there is a short but steep climb upwards before plateauing and having a consistent hike along the grasslands. The final stretch into Sito is a reasonably gentle downhill walk. As an easy hike, you can make perfect time between these two points, but given the fixed boat schedule from Sito, this may leave you cooling your heels in the STF station.

Trail Information

Distance: 20km

Difficulty: Easy (as long as you don't get lost)

Transport: Bus & Boat

The bus runs at 09:50 and 14:35 every day from Vakkotavare to Kebnats via Stora Fjällstation. Pickup from Vakkotavare is in a small van with a trailer for bags. It can only fit a small number of people. However, the bus will come back and collect a second batch if there are too many waiting. There is plenty of time to do this and still connect Stora Fjällstation to the full-sized bus. You can pay with a credit card on the bus. Keep the ticket to use on the second bus to Kebnats. USB sockets are available to charge, though the journey is only 20 minutes or so.

From Stora Fjällstation, it is only a 10-15 minute trip to Kebnats. USB sockets are available to charge.

From Kebnats, a short 50m walk to the water brings you to the dock. Timed to the bus timetable, the boat over to Saltoluokta Fjällstation is an additional cost, which can be paid on board via card. It is s short journey.

Resupply:

The largest STF store on the trail. Offering a range of trail foods, a wide selection of clothes and camping gear. This location also offers the largest selection of souvenirs, including Sami crafts. They don't sell memory cards, USB adaptors or needle and thread, however.

STF Saltoluokta Fjällstation is a parcel collection point. You can send parcels for collection. It is vital to note that only specific delivery companies will drop parcels off at the Mountain Station. Busgods is the primary choice. PostNord, Amazon, DHL will all deliver to a central collection point in Jokkmokk, which will require a full day's trip on the bus to and from the town. Contact Saltoluokta in advance for details on whether they can accept the parcel and what company to use. This may make it challenging or impossible for non-Scandinavian hikers as Busgods is a nordic only service. Also, ensure you pay the extra (120kr) for delivery to the specified location, or they to will drop off in Jokkmokk or Kiruna.

Accommodation & Shopping

STF Saltoluokta Fjällstation

The large lakeside Mountain Station is one of the largest on the King's Trail. It offers various cabins to stay in, from shared bunks to private rooms in the main building. Real toilets and hot showers are available for guests, but they also have four fantastically decorated drop toilets outside.

Camping in the grounds and using the facilities like the kitchen and drying room costs 100kr, but they're also happy for you to camp close to the water, in one of the many small clearings just off the trail to the waters edge for nothing.

The restaurant was still open but had certain Covid restrictions, including having to book in advance (same for getting a room). The meal was outstanding, locally produced meats and vegetables expertly cooked. They gave me an English translation. Beers and Wines are available, and several local brews were offered. I would strongly recommend taking the time to have a meal at Saltoluokta.

The accommodation is clean. I stayed in a shared room, but no one else had it booked, so I had space to myself: a small desk, bunk bed and clothes hooks. There was a shared kitchen for the building and two showers, and a private drying room.

The reception offers a laundry service, 250kr for a bag to be cleaned and tumble-dried. It is expensive compared to other mountain stations where you do it yourself, but a nice luxury to leave to someone else after a week.

From the main building deck, you have a great view of the water and spectacular sunsets.

Autsutjvagge

A small cabin, halfway between Saltoluokta and Sito. The location is lovely, but there is no fresh water nearby.

Sights

Just before you turn off to either STF Sitojaurestugorna or the other fork to the boat rental place, there is a small stone Sami circle, marking a historic site.

Side Trails

A few options from Saltoluokta if you want to take any day trips.

The Experience

Day 6 - 24th:

After setting up my tent down towards the river, as I had arrived a full day ahead of schedule and ahead of my room booking, I spoke with the reception and confirmed they had received my parcel but left it with them until I had my room the following day.

Henrik had discovered the issue many hikers face; his parcel to the next mountain station had been sent to Jokkmokk. He headed off on the trail, intent on making a few more hours of progress before setting up camp. I was 'stuck' in Saltoluokta thanks to having a room booked the following day. It gave me the chance to do a full day of nothing, ending with a big meal.

I spent a few hours in the bar area, with a real log fire in a stove. I used the internet to update my hiking plans with new information and ensure the Gaia GPS maps were updated as much as possible.

I ate dinner outside of the main building on a picnic table, with a lovely view of the water and into the mountains.

I discovered that evening, I had been misreading my solar charger, and it was out of power. The timing could have been much worse as I had access to mains power the following day and would be able to get it charged. I went to sleep dreaming of being able to have a hot shower, as even I could smell the unwashed camper smell on the bus full of us to Saltoluokta.

Approx 14km

Total 109km (24.6%)

Day 7 - 25th:

It was something of a late start getting up, 8:30, with coffee and a protein bar for breakfast, finishing up most of my food supplies. I packed up the inside of my tent, got my toiletries together, pulled out the cleanest set of clothes I had and a pile of the dirty ones. I left the tent up as it was raining and went to a reception for a chance to charge my phone and battery. (This day lead me to discover the 'passthrough charge' of plugging my battery into the wall and my phone into the battery was deeply inefficient and led to my ongoing quest to buy an additional USB charger.)

I could not check into my room until late afternoon, so I had the morning to kill.

As it was payday, my first action on my day off was prosaic, transferring money around for the various bills that would accumulate over the coming weeks hiking. The second was having a shower in the general use block with Hot water, and feeling clean is incredible. The shower is a mens 'communal shower off the sauna (which was closed due to Covid), but no one else was in there, so I had the place to myself.

Surprisingly for me, I felt good about having a day off with nothing pressing to do and didn't feel the need to head out and see anything else.

It turns out the reception will do laundry for you, at 150kr plus an extra 100kr for a tumble-dry. A bargain at this point.

The shop doesn't have waterproof gloves, needle and thread or memory cards and whilst I found a roll of duct tape outside the evening before, I left it for someone who needed it and then ended up having to buy some to repair by ultralight rain trousers which had torn on a thorn.

I should have brought my phone fast charger or another second charger option as charging via the battery when that is charging is very slow.

Lunch was a mix of foods leftover from the first section of the trail, olives and ramen. A few other items I still had were donated to the 'left food' shelf for others to enjoy.

I had the small room to myself, a combination of Corona restrictions and not a particularly busy period. Both of my big toes were feeling a bit numb at this point, and I hoped that airing them out and keeping them out of the hiking boots for a day would help.

I took a break in the room to charge my camera battery on the mains whilst recharging my phone on the battery. Once that was done, I headed back to the main building for Fika.

Dinner was at 7:30 promptly, seated at tables and alone at mine due to corona. A six-person table would have at least two peoples worth of space at the; It is a strange sight given there is no such restriction in the bar area where we all congregated before dinner. Its a strange experience having a fancy three-course meal in rain trousers and a t-shirt.

The meal was fantastic, Vasterbotten cream butter for freshly baked bread, moose stew with herbed potatoes and garlic yoghurt. It shows how the world has changed over the years; there was a full vegan alternative to each dish, even in an inaccessible location like this.

Desert was an outstanding berry panna cotta.

It was a strange day, 6 days of timeless slogging, much of it through mud and rain and then a day that was relaxed, with only a few chores to complete. The station does a lot with a little to really make the right impressions.

The battery capacity was concerning me at this point, the solar is not charging fast, especially given the weather, and I decided to restrict how much battery use I allowed myself on my phone each day to ensure there was at least some each day before my next mountain station in Kvikkjokk.

Approx: 0km

Total 109 (24.6%)

Day 8 - 26th:

Up, packed and ate a hearty breakfast in the restaurant of fresh rolls, cheese and smoked reindeer meats, coffee, juice and a granola bar and was still on the trail at 9 am.

The section starts in a heavy forest, and I almost immediately took a wrong turning and started following the winter trail sights (red X's on metal poles rather than red bands on trees). Rather than going backwards, I had have to re-climb the hill I'd just summited. I decided to cut across the country using my GPS to guide me back to the main trail. This was a terrible idea. It was a massive energy drain, breaking a trail through thick undergrowth and having to cross several fast-moving rivers at points chosen by myself. It was also an ongoing effort to keep moving in the correct direction as you rarely walk a straight line in the forest. When I finally found the Kungsleden summer trail, I took a moment and realized going off country like that had been very dangerous. An accident and no one would have been past to find me.

After about three kilometres, the beech forest gives way to about 14km of grasslands and shrubby hills. A fair amount of up and down as you go with plenty of streams to get water from, none requiring taking shoes off to ford. With the improved weather, the views were stunning and more impactful than the misty and grey mountains of the trail's first section. It's amazing the difference a little sun can make.

About halfway between the two Stations is a rest stop, but there is no water there, making it less than ideal as a stopping point if you did not plan for it.

I smashed the 20km between the two STF stations, getting to the boat hire place by three. After checking the nearby STF, which was unstaffed at the time, so no patch for my collection was possible) I headed back to the boat hire place to arrange transport across.