Ivalojoki

11/07/2017

River

My first Scandinavian kayaking adventure. In a good company of my old comrades, Mirek and Mikołaj and Adam, this last one debuting in our group. The first part of the venture had been lasting for 6 days, from 11th to 16th July 2017. The aim was beautiful, slightly mountain, river Ivalojoki in Finnish area of Lapland, located about 250 km beyond Arctic Circle. Reaching Ivalo, where we left our car and we finished canoeing, took 3 days (600 km by ferry from Gdańsk to Nynashamn and 1500 by the car).

During 6 days we took down circa 102 km. We had started at the bridge in Ivalon – Matti, in a total wilderness. The weather was great. Much of the sun, little rain, the temperature in the middle of the days 13 – 20 ºC. Generally, warm. Fantastic polar day was very helpful, eliminating the threat of seeking place for a bivouc at the darkness. On the other hand physical tiredness and lack of normal stress were enough to sleep with no problem. Obviously, entire equipment was with us.

 After two easy days, taking 20-25 km during each of them, we reached the gorge of the river, fullfilled with about 30 big rapids along 40 km. The scale of the difficulty: WWI (white water I), WWII and maybe one of them is close to WWIII. The tempo had reduced by half at once, due to our bigger caution. And the last day we spent on the wide, calm river again.

11 lipca (wtorek)Ivalon Matti(most) – ujście Jarmakongasok.23 kmsłonecznie i ciepło, temperatura ok. 16-20’C 
12 lipcadziki biwak przy ujściu Jarmakongas– Paivatupa (początek przełomu)ok.23,5 km
13 lipca Paivatupa(początek przełomu) – Kultala (stara osada poszukiwaczy złota)ok.12 kmduże zachmurzenie, temperatura ok.13-15’C, wieczorem mżawka
14 lipca Kultala (stara osada poszukiwaczy złota) – Ritakoskitupa ok.10 km zimno, wietrznie, temperatura ok. 10-12’C, wieczorem silny deszcz
15 lipca Ritakoskitupa– dziki biwak na wysokości lotniska w Ivalook.23 km przeważnie słonecznie, temperatura ok. 15-17’C
16 lipca (niedziela)dziki biwak na wysokości lotniska w Ivalo – Ivalo River Camping ok.10 km słonecznie i ciepło, temperatura ok. 16-20’C

Pictures

The whole time we have been enjoying the views of the subpolar wildlife, including reindeers on the banks (however, in the summer they roams by the roads too). We did not meet any kayakers, only a few fishermen (fishing need official permission) and two national park rangers. We have been spending the nights in the wild or in/at the „hytte” – wooden huts, all year prepared for the tourists looking for a dry and warm (fire) shelter. One night we set the tents in Kultala, at an open – air museum, old, a small settlement built in the gold rush in the 70. of the XIX century.
There were many emotions on the rapids. On our way we had two overturns. Mirek and Mikolaj on the biggest rapid. Me, on the last one, 700-meters long, at the end of it, hitting the stone hidden just under the surface of the water. As my buddies were far from me and they could not see my problems, I have been swimming in cold, 100-150 meters wide, Ivalojoki, before I managed to haul my Prijon to the bank and remove the water from inside. The „dry” suit did well perfectly. Luckily, in both cases, there was no deadly threat. But much of adrenaline, absolutely.

 

Other pictures

When we finished, Adam and me, we were planning to paddle 60 km to Inari village, throughout lake called the same. Instead, we went 400 km into the north, where Europe ends. You will read about that in „Nordkapp” chapter.

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