Day 21-22│ July 8-9│Where the road ends, magic happens

As described in the previous post, I was invited to stay for reindeer marking in Jovnevaerie when I arrived at Jänsmässholmen. I felt like a child at Christmas. No, even happier. I actually couldn’t really believe it, I mean how lucky can one be to just walk right into a village at the end of the road and all of a sudden get a dream fulfilled? I felt so blessed and if I ever had had a doubt on why I even got the idea to do this hike (I might have had some doubts when knee deep in a swamp surrounded by mosquitoes the day before… 😉 ), I was so happy to be exactly there and then and nowhere else.

In the evening there was a special feeling in the village, the air was filled with expectations and excitement while the guys prepared to head out to collect the reindeer and to hopefully reach the enclosure at Klemmetrun in the morning. The atmosphere was indeed infectious and all I wanted was to grab a motorbike and join. Well, I would have died in a collision with the next tree within 10m or so, but the biker in me did not care so much about reality.

Anyhow, the gang left and all we heard then was the helicopter coming back every now and then to fuel up.

I woke up early as a child on Christmas the next day and headed out for a morning walk through the village with my camera as it was a beautifully sunny morning. A man called me in and borrowed me a book about reindeer marking in Jijnjevaerie, apologizing that it was in South Sami, but that the pictures are beautiful for me to look at anyhow. And the pictured where indeed beautiful – but the nerd in me stared at this language of which I did not understand a single word, I didn’t even know how to pronounce it, but which looks so beautiful. Frustrating and fascinating.

The guys came home after successfully bringing the reindeer herd to Klemmetrun went to bed, they would shift their rhythm to night time as the marking is done at the coldest time of the day. Much wiser, but what to do? Have you ever tried to ask a child to go to have a nap on Christmas?! 😉

Instead Yvonne took me and her friend out on a history and traditions tour in the village, the chapel and her studio where she practices duodji, the sami traditional hand craft. Such precision and beautiful materials, so amazing to see! And all the stories about the area where amazing to hear, even though many of them are unfortunately sad

Reindeer tendon to be used as sewing thread.

Eventually it became evening and Erika and I got dressed to walk over to Klemmetrun through the swamps. I basically put all clothes I had into my backpack, as nights were not very warm – and I actually used them all by the end of the night!

We followed the tracks and after a bit over 1h we arrived at Klemmetrun. The closer we came, the louder became the sound on hundreds on reindeer trotting around the fence and doing their usual sound. The sounds is comfort, and standing in the middle of these beautiful animals was just fantastic. To see the work of the reindeer herders, all ages, catching and marking the calves. Everybody was so kind, patiently answering all my questions (and I had loads of them), even letting me try to throw the lasso (on stones, I don’t want to accidentally catch a reindeer!) without laughing at my clumsy trials. It was such a wonderful experience, and I was so caught up in the moment that I hardly took any photos. (Which I am a bit sad about, to capture these animals and the people working with them would have been amazing!)

Well after midnight the reindeer were released into freedom and I realized I was deadly tired, and I still had 5km walk through the swamp to reach my bed. But it was just a beautiful night and the first part through the forest I had company of the newly released reindeer… and while walking through the bright summer night in absolute silence, I felt like being in another world.

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