Today, it was again nearly 15°C and sunny. Since the weather forecast predicts it will get colder and wetter, with maybe 20mm rain tomorrow, I decided to make a cycling tour today. My first bigger cycling trip this winter in Kiruna was to Rautas, along the E10, and I decided to go the same way again.
It is interesting to see how the landscape is different in this season. There is still 50cm of snow, and in combination with 15°C that gives wonderful effects. The road is bare, and elsewhere the ground is very wet. I cross Pahtajänkkä and Tiansbäcken/Vuonajohka and end up in Krokvik/Geavrovuohppi in no-time. I explore it again, but it's still to snowy to find the hiking path along Vuonajohka to Vuonasjávri and Buollánorda. I continue my way and discover a track to the right; it must be the track toward Käyrävuopio. It's a small, muddy track. After a minute or so I meet an opposing car, which means I need to get off my bicycle and step aside into the snow. Soon thereafter the car returns and passes by me, and not much later I see it parked.
"Det är vacker", I say when the driver leaves the car.
"Jo, det är fint"
"Slutar vägen här?" I ask.
"Jo... det går ute till en myr"
I decide to park my bicycle and explore by foot; a rather interesting track leads to Rautasälven, that I do no longer dare to cross.
After returning I continue along the E10 to the northwest along Maunuvuoma, Mávnaáphi and I cross Östra Rautasälven/Lulit Suorri. The carpark where I had lunch two months ago is now quite crowded; several campers and caravans are parked here, dozens of people are sitting around, and in fact all the benches are taken. Despite the time being around half past twelve, I decide to continue and explore the village Rautas/Rávttas. Here I see some Sami style buildings, and I know that this is not done for the tourists. There is also a Sami flag.
In March, Rautas railway station was my furthest point, but cycling is much easier now that the road is bare, so I decide to continue to Rensjön. I cross Alit Suorri/Västra Rautasälven; the eastern part is liquid (there are rapids) but the western side is still very much frozen and with snow on. The land gets emptier here. AFter a few kilometers I come across a stream, Homujohka/Håmojåkka. Finally a stream that I can reach; I get my Laplandmok and reach down to taste it. It's cold but wonderful. I'm not thirsty, but on the way back I refill my platypus here.
Another stream, a little bigger this time, Njuotjanjåkka / Njouhčamjohka; mostfly frozen and not reachable for me. I'm almost along Njouhčamjávri, which I suspect to be the Northern Sami name for Rensjön, but I'm not sure. The landscape gets more and more beautiful; how much I would like to continue and continue all the way to Abisko... I can't now. But I will later. I have arrived at Rensjön, my furthest point for today, 31km from Kiruna; but my total distance is more than twice that, because I live in eastern Kiruna and on my way here have made detours to Käyrävuopio, Krokvik, Rautas and Rensjön, exploring the villages. None of them have more than 30 inhabitants; they're rather small. I realise that I have never been this far north on a bicycle my previous record was Rautas.
Pictures follow, but can already be seen at my picasaweb and my panoramio pages.