I watch dust rising from the road as it keeps winding wildly towards our starting point. Afternoon sun shines behind the fjords lightning up fell tops with orange glow. Our car is packed full – four guys and their backpacks filled with fishing and rafting gear.
We left another car waiting some 65 kilometers from our starting point and if all would go as planned we would be back to the car in five days. River Luostejohka starts from foot of fells where the vast highlands of Finnmark spread out reaching the border of Finland in South and Arctic Ocean in North. The river continues flowing south and grows somewhat bigger when it reaches the arctic birch forest 20 kilometers down from its starting point.
We had heard stories of big trouts hiding somewhere around there but the rafting part remained unclear – there were no paddle planners provided for the area so our information was based solely on satellite images.
It had been a warm day so evening breeze was a welcoming gift as we continued to haul our packs over the small rocky undulations that still had their bottoms filled with snow. We worked our way slowly to the highest point of plateau from where we had our first glimpse of the river.
Beautiful evening turned slowly into rain that drummed on our tents for the rest of the night. There were still parts of it on next day when we started to follow the river downstream looking for a place to put our rafts on water.
We started paddling dodging rocks and shallows. The upper part was really shallow and a lot of time was spent wading down and floating the boat ahead. We were lucky that the water level was high due to late summer and past rainy weather. If this had been normal summer we would have been walking down on river bank for most parts of the river. Now we were moving approximately 6 kilometers per hour on easy pace dealing with class I-II rapids most of the time. The excitement level was high and it felt like pure pleasure to move on.
The fishing game started for real once we reached the lower part of the river where the river got deeper. Trouts were there and despite of the high water level they seemed to be hungry. Two of them ended up into frying pan and rest of them got back to their home.
Last night was spent close to a waterfall that crushed down 30 meters of vertical pushing all the water into a small bottleneck on admirable force. We laid on riverbank looking down the stream and enjoyed the feeling of achievement - we were almost 60 kilometers down from our starting point four days ago and it had been pure thrill most of the time.
An easy eight kilometer hike brought us back to our car from the river. It's amazing how the simple things in life can make you happy - the answer just might lay in our heritage; from nature we are and to nature we belong.