Ingvar Loco Nordin & Anna Nygren
Lisa's Helmet Hike
(Mårma - Three Pass Trail 2011)

The author resting by the closed and locked reindeer herder cabin where the valley between Ballinvággi & Šiellavággi opens on to Šiellavággi

(photo: anna nygren)

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Chapter 5

Yellow line shows the distance covered in chapter 5, while yellow and red lines combined show the total hiking distance of the day.

2 August 2011 (continuation)

The view down toward Kieron and The King's Trail through Šiellavággi

We kept moving easterly in Šiellavággi, kilometer after kilometer, in the increasingly rocky terrain, past a few lakes, and finally in between the dramatic towers of Hongá (1720 meters) and Šiellačohkka (1647 meters) Mountains, where the descent into The Alisvággi Valley with The Aliseatnu River commenced. The view behind us out west along the valley was beautiful, with white cloud puffs sailing above the wild and also green and kind land.

More barren and rocky circumstances further south-east into Šiellavággi, along the lakes

Anna discovered three mountain joggers on the opposite side of this lake!

Can you make out the three joggers?

(photo: anna nygren)

(photo: anna nygren)

The pass threshold at the eastern end of Šiellavággi rests at 1135 meters. We inched through that section and began descending. The view across the lakes to the right (west) – Bieggaluoppal and Áhpparjávri among others – was astounding after the tight and closed-in feeling of the valley we just came out of, and the view in the opposite, easterly direction was equally hypnotic across Aliseatnu River, winding into the distance, with The Alip Vealevárri Mountain striving skywards some kilometers away. We tried to make out the outlet of The Vierrojohka Canyon, where we eventually would trek upwards toward the legendary and somewhat scary Mårma Pass.

Looking back at the last lake of any size in Šiellavággi, right in between Mountains Hongá and Šiellačohkka

I had read on a Swedish hiking forum (Utsidan) that the descent into Alisvággi was the trickiest part of The Mårma Trail experience, so I was apprehensive, but it was a piece of cake, all in all. The terrain was forgiving and generous, with green grass terraces, which you descended along, with admittedly steep parts in between, but never once with a feeling of danger or too much strain. In short, the descent was a happy and very beautiful one. The Šiellačohkka Summit soared high above, behind to the right, at 1647 meters.

Getting closer to the place where Šiellavággi Valley opens into Alisvággi Valley


We start to receive the view from the west along Alisvággi, before we descend

Anna tries to make ut the various summits on the horizon

We descended on terraces with this pleasant character, looking east along Alisvággi, where the Vierrojohka Canyon connects up to the right (south) in the distance, to take us toward Mårma

Descending under freshwater falls into Alisvággi

Rocks designed by Paul Cezánne?

We reached the trail down in Alisvággi as it snaked through the terrain just by a small lake, and made its way through the tough osier underbrush, and we moved along it, relieved to actually have a real path to keep to!

Right before reaching down to the Alisvággi trail

Looking back up from whence we came, at Mountains Šiellačohkka and Hongá, standing guards at the south-eastern end of Šiellavággi

At about 6:30 PM we met a man and a woman with four dogs; three of them carrying quite big bags, strapped across their backs. They had flown with a helicopter to Mårma, and walked from there.

The trail didn’t give much relief, though, as it were, because the osier was hard as hell to squeeze through, and the air was crowded with really mean gnats that dug into our skin everywhere they could; there were poisonous clouds of them. With the reindeer herder hut with its white roof visible below, about a kilometer away, and the bridge across Aliseatnu sensed a bit further down, we had to give up the ambition to reach the river crossing that night, and in severe haste we pitched our tents in an all but ideal position on a slope with a view across the river valley, ate something and retreated into our sleeping bags. Anna could have continued on down, but I was simply too worn out from the day. I’m sure, after this physically tough hike, that the ten years between us – I’m 62 and she 52 – actually means something. This realization has come hard, because I haven’t been too keen on accepting that age might mean some kind of physical weakening, but as I repeatedly, during Anna’s and my 2011 summer hike reached well into, and even beyond, my physical limits, I have to confess that I’m headed for an aged land, like everyone else allowed into that obscure nation populated by old folks.


To chapter 6