Aqua Bound Ambassador Katja Koskinen is an avid sea kayaker and packrafter in her native Finland and neighboring Sweden. Here, she tells her story of a multi-day packraft trip she took with friends in Muddus National Park.
Three of Katja’s trip mates in Muddus National Park
Katja notes that while Finland and Sweden share many things in common, Finland lacks the dramatic mountain landscapes of the other Nordic countries. So besides sea kayaking near their home, she and her husband Caj both love to get into the remote Swedish wilderness areas with their packrafts.
For this paddling trip to Muddus, Katja joined up with four others (Johan, Peter, Elias and Tobbe) who had become friends during packrafting meet-ups in Sweden. They chose four days in early June, 2019 for their adventure.
We’ll let Katja tell her own story:
Packrafting in Muddus
I had actually just gone on a skiing trip to this same area a couple of months earlier. We wanted to see if we could find the exact spot we had camped in the spring, and found it. I even found a small missing part from my husband's tripod!
We started our trip by driving many hours north to the end point where we left one of our cars. This usually is the first thing we do for every packrafting trip. It takes quite a bit of time, but is easiest in the end.
Getting the packrafts ready for the river
We then began the packrafting portion close to Highway E45, south of Gällivare, a town with good connections by railway, roads and a small airport. We spent the first night close to the road before starting the trip. Our idea was to paddle Muddus River all the way to Muddus waterfall in the southern part of the park. The last day we would hike to where we had left our car.
Here you get an idea of some of the open, bog-filled landscape of Muddus
In the beginning, the river was very shallow and led us through bogs to the first lake, Stuor Muddus Lake. It was a hot day and the air was filled with all kinds of flying creatures. But that was ok—we were prepared.
We continued down the river. Some of it was so shallow we had to walk with our packrafts. This part of Muddus is quite flat. There are lots of swamps and no big rapids. But it is very quiet and beautiful with a lot of birds, especially in early summer.
It doesn't really get dark during the nights there and the tone of sunlight is amazing in the evenings. We found an incredible camping spot between the bogs with some forest around us and fewer mosquitos.
Sunset in camp on Day 1
The next day the river took us to larger Lake Muddus. By the time we got there, the wind had gotten pretty strong. We reached our next planned camp at the northeast part of the lake just before a thunderstorm hit us. There is an open hut there called Arvidsonstugan. It is very small but gave us nice shelter.
The river continues south from the lake and we ended our paddling up to Muddus Fallet waterfall. It was a perfect place to spend our last evening. In the camp we were accompanied by a sneaky and fearless fox trying to steal some of our food!
The last day we hiked a few hours to the parking place where our car was waiting. Quite often on our trips we first hike a couple of days, then paddle. But this time it was the opposite.
On Muddus Lake before the thunderstorm hit
It was time for some pizza and cleaning up in Gällivare.
Skills Needed for this Kind of Packraft Trip
For this kind of trip, you need to have a good map and some orienteering skills to find the spots where the river begins from the lakes. Muddus is quite remote with few people [and little, if any, cell signal].
Except on the trails, we didn't see anyone before we reached the waterfall. It's definitely not the kind of river where you meet many other paddlers. So an experienced group of friends are good company.
Muddus Fallet waterfall
There can be fallen trees on the rivers in some parts. Scouting before or even walking past them is advised. We had good timing as it would have been impossible to paddle later in the summer—the water would be too low.
Thanks to Katja for sharing her trip and photos with us!
About Muddus National Park
Muddus National Park, which sits above the Arctic Circle, is Sweden’s largest forested national park. It’s part of Laponia World Heritage Site, along with other national parks of far northern Sweden. The park includes a network of hiking trails and five cabins that are open year-round for anyone to use. They include sleeping accommodations.
The park is known for Muddus Fallet waterfall and a box canyon called Måskosgårsså. It’s also known as one of the quietest places in Sweden. “Researchers who have measured the sound level have shown that this and similar primeval forest areas are quieter than all other kinds of nature.” (source)
Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]
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