Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Striders - Planning the route

Mapping 


An essential part of any long-distance trek and  a very enjoyable stage of the preparation.
I definitely prefer the "old" way to plan my route to merely downloading the track on a GPS. I need to see the distance, to draw the trail, to imagine myself there, to figure out what the terrain looks like, the alternative routes, etc. I need to see the whole picture. And I've never been able to get the same dimension on a small screen. So even though I will take a GPS as a backup and safety tool -, I mainly work on and with paper maps. One major advantage and not the least: they are never running out of charge!

Mapping involves:
  • finding and marking the trail 
  • scanning the maps
  • dividing them in A5 sections
  • printing and assembling A5 maps in a handy-to -travel-with booklet

Trail Markings

The Nordkalottleden Trail is made-up of several old trails and new barely traveled trails.
  • In Finland the trail is marked with white 40-cm-high wooden poles which have orange tops.
  • In Norway the trail is marked on stones with paint signs.
  • In Sweden the trail is marked with red crosses and signs with route symbols.
From the maps I have and the on-the-field information I gathered, the trail is well-marked in some places, far less in others. And as a matter of facts, in Kautokeino, there is no indication at all before you actually reach the starting point of the "Ruta", at the very end of a small country road. We've been told that there used to be an information sign that is no longer there. Hikers now usually start from a point located some 20k further.

On the maps: wide open spaces and wilderness, kilometers of tundra, some greener canyons and woodlands, thousand of lakes and rivers, more mountains and valleys, some villages, wilderness huts, a few power lines.

Stages


My intention is to run&hike 40km per day.  The distance we will manage to cover every day will depends on many factors, some of them specifically related to mapping and orientation being the ascending elevation, the existence or absence of marking and the type of terrain. Other factors are inherent to this kind of adventure: the Striders' health and fitness, route and weather-related hazards, etc. Therefore the stages I plan are theoretical and an indication to help me once out there. There are in no way final and unchangeable. I also plan 2x 1 day or half day break.

Some facts and figures 


12 maps:
  • 11 Norge-serie - 1:50'000 scale: Guovdageaidnu, Reisadalen, Fallecearru, Skibotndalen, Dividalen, Kebnekaise, Narvik, Tornetrask, Tysfjord, Akkajaure, Sulitjelma.
  • 1 Fjällkartan - 1:100'000 scale - Kvikjokk-Jakkvik
  • double-sided
3 countries: Norway - Finland - Sweden
800km with 380km in Norway, 350 km in Sweden and 70km in Finland One cultural region: Sápmi (Lapland), the land of the Sámi people
International borders crossed 15 times
Supply points with estimated distances in between:
  • Kilpisjärvi/FI - 190km
  • Abisko/SE - 190km
  • Vaisaluokta fjällstuga/NO - 250km
  • Kvikjokk arrival/SE - 200km
Stages:
  • 20 days hike 
  • 2-3 days off (or with less mileage).
  • max of 25 days on the trail
  • and if we can be faster, we will!! :)


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