Saltfjellet is a beautiful name for an equally beautiful and rugged area in northern Norway. Although remote, it is easy walking. There are small cabins where you can stay overnight. Bring your own food.
Nordlandsruta, Norvège | Evaluation 9
Positive A quiet trail high up in the North of Scandinavia. I liked the wildness of the area. The huts are very pleasant; makes hiking easy.
Saltfjellet, Norvège | Evaluation 9
Positive The perfect area if you want to experience some wild landscapes and few people. The small huts were very comfortable and you can leave your tent at home.
- Quand Août 2010 jusqu'à Septembre 2010
- Distance parcourue 240 km (~149.1 miles)
- Jours de marche 8 days
- Partie parcourue Bodø - Lurfjellhytta - Tverbrennstua - Midthi Stua - Lönsstua - Argaladhytta - Coarvihytta - Muorkihytta - Lomihytta - Bodø
I made this walk in the autumn of 2010. Autumn in the mountains of Norway can be exhilarating. The air is crisp and fresh, the views are fabulous, and nature shows its brightest colors. The weather can turn beastly. When winds blow, clouds gather, rain or snow start to fall, it's no fun (for most of us). Use good gear, a compass, a plastic wrapped-in topographic map. Rain or sunshine, the landscape is formidable. Lakes are everywhere, jagged snowcapped mountains shine at the horizon, while your feet crackle the shrubs.
The area of Sulitjelma and Svartisen lies above the Arctic Circle. It's easy to get there by air or by train. Bodø is the best place to start. Second option is Mo-i-Rana. This is south of these areas. Again, you have the option to fly or to take the train.
The paths between the huts are marked and comfortable to walk. The distance between the cabins is about four to six hours. Too short for me, so I skipped every second hut. Normal walking shoes or soft-walkers will do. There are no technically difficult passages, unless you want to climb one of the mountains. You must bring your own food for the entire trip, because there are no shops and the huts have no wardens, no food. Be smart and do as Traildino: limit your backpack to the bare minimum! Between some huts there is little folk walking, so these paths may be obscured or moderately marked. When crossing the border with Sweden, you may walk through wild terrain, without any marking or trail. Bring a good map and a compass, and know how to use them, otherwise you get lost.
The cabins are great: small but complete. What a marvellous regional hiking organisations they've got in Norway! These fine huts are embedded in a magnificent environment. Do not expect luxury, but you will find a good stove, a kitchen, gas for cooking and blankets. No staff and no food for sale. Bring your own food and cook your own meals. The cabins are locked and you need to get a key in advance. The standard DNT key fits on every hut. You must pay for your stay and donate your payment in an iron mailbox or pay via bank transfer later.
Bodø – Lurfjellhytta
Saturday August 28
This is how the hike started. I flew over the glistening sea over the many islands and saw Bodø in front of me with the mountains - where I would be walking in due time – behind. All of this was bathing in sunlight, and some patches of clouds filled the area between rugged peaks. I took a bus to Knapplund and got a lift to Åseli. That first meters! Away from asphalt, concrete, from exhausting gas. The wind was rustling through the birch trees, water murmured in the streams. The path went over a pass, leaving the coast and the sea behind me. Finally, the sun appeared from behind a persistent cloud blanket. I watched out over a gold lit Fjell. Lurfjellhytta was not far, and some Norwegion hikers welcomed me. Everybody cooked and had dinner together and drank all kinds of spirits.
Lurfjellhytta – Tverbrennstua
Sunday August 29
What a tremendous day! The sun was there to stay all day. The trail climbed higher and higher and offered me endless views of mountain ranges and vast lakes. At my feet another landscapes in miniature: all kinds of flowers and stones, eroded, whimsical and colourful. In Tverbrennstua I met Leon and Myriam, two compatriots who live on an inhabited island off the Norwegian coast. At sunset, a rainshower passed over, afterwards setting the air in fire and producing a double ringed rainbow that framed the landscape.
Tverbrennstua – Midti Stua
Monday August 30
A fresh morning with incredible panoramic views. Sometimes the path dropped down into some sour smelling woodlands or over a sweet smelling bog. Then again the path climbed high up the hillsides. Halfway my walk I passed a little hut at the lake Bjøllåvattnet. It was at the end of the lake that I met the only hikers of this day, and spoke two or three words. In Midtistua, my destination for today, I was the only guest. Looking out of the window, I saw the weather turning.
Midti Stua – Lønsstua
Tuesday August 31
The storm was there, and rain fell in some quantities. I gathered height, over 1000 meters, through a wilderness of smooth rocks, leaping from stone to stone: Steindalen. At high altitude mist hovered over the bare expanse of stones. Later in the afternoon, the sky opened and sunlight razed the wet bushes till they glistened and went fuming. The trail descended into the valley of Lønsdal, the civilized world. Again a very different landscape of smooth eroded rockfaces and fresh green birch trees around a lake. I arrived in Lønsdal: road and rail, but little life. The hut was called Lønsstua; one of the buildings was stuffed with an excited class of youngsters.
Lønsstua – Argaladhytta
Wednesday September 1
From the hut Lønsstua onwards, I followed the Nordlandsruta north. Shreds of sun and rain alternated today. Sometimes the skies closed in. Then the sun would peep through again presenting the forests and mountains in a cheerful light. The path between Lønsstua to Trygvebu was little used. The path between Graddis Fjellstue and Trygvebu was even a bit hard to find. It crossed a road and a community.
From Trygveby onwards, the trail plunged into a deep valley, and the hike became exciting again. A wild river, natural forest and steep dark rocky slopes along with golden eagles. Up in the mountains, fresh snow had fallen. My destination for this day was Argaladhytta, where I met two guys who were walking Norge På Langs. They had started from the North Cape with 45 kilo's of luggage each of them. Argaladhytta is a fantastic, albeit somewhat drafty, old little hut with 3.5 beds, grass on top and a heap of timber in the anti-chamber. The stove worked well – important detail.
Argaladhytta – Coarvihytta
Thursday September 2
Another long day, an endless journey around the huge lake Balvatnet. Rounding this entire lake takes two days. Stretches of wet bog; a couple of bare feet river crossings. The afternoon brought sunshine, calm weather and grand vistas. Coarvihytta lies amidst a group of scattered huts with a road connection. In the evening four women arrived in a festive mood who started to cook a great meal. Thanks for that!
Coarvihytta – Muorkihytta
Friday September 3
A very long day, but one that was not long enough! What a screaming wild land! The night had been freezing, and so I started the walk in fogs amidst various frozen plants. One could feel the invisible sun behind the clouds and hear the crisp frozen leaves beneath ones shoes.
The track to Calalveshytta was shown on the map, but hard to find on the ground. I decided to draw my own line over the back of a hill. To the north, a growing view on the mountains and glaciers of Sulitjelma unfolded.
Since Lønsstua, I was following the Nordlandsruta. From now on, I chose a different direction, around a vast lake, towards Sweden. From the south bank of the lake, I looked out over the impressive Sulitjelma massif. On the eastern tip of the lake I found deserted Muorkihytta, in a idyllic setting along the lake. Twelve hours of walking, zero people.
Muorkihytta – Lomihytta
Saturday September 4
It's not always good weather. This day rain pushed over the mountains. I passed through a less frequented area. The first part of the route was over a rather strenuous trail to Sweden. Deep below - just visible through gusts of rain - was a Swedish Mountain Lodge, along the Nordkalotleden, another popular trail. I did not go that way, but turned northwest, slowly climbing into a broad valley and over a extensive pass. No trail nor markers. The last two hours, I was closed in by fog, and had to find my way using compass and map. This was a micro landscape of heaps of rocks, snow fields, small lakes. It could not go wrong, I knew, but it was a relief nonetheless to finally watch the mist opening and get some glimpses of the milky blue lake Låmivatnet.
Still another few hours walk along the shore of the lake before I hit my last hut of this trip, Lomihytta, a kind of makeshift construction, tightly towed to the rocky surface, and with a very good stove to dry my clothes.
Lomihytta – Bodø
Sunday September 5
That was it. The only thing I had to do was to walk down to the village of Sulitjelma. Don't expect any bus service this early on Sunday morning. Not much traffic at all; on the average some three cars passed every hour. Number 8 gave me a lift all the way to Bodø. Good luck for me. I got back in Bodø in time for my flight to Oslo and even had a change to devour a plate of chicken fries. Man, was I hungry!