A candy store for outdoor enthusiasts
By: Stian Dahl
Explore the national park with its steep coastal fjords, green lakes and Scandinavia's northernmost mainland glaciers. With such expectations, Seiland had to be explored, the island, which by experienced outdoor people is described as "a candy store for outdoor enthusiasts."
Be well prepared
The hike across Seiland requires a lot of planning of both transportation and route selection. You can of course go from north to south and vice versa. There are no marked hiking trails and it is therefore very important to spend some considerable time on studying the map before the trip. It is also important to know that you will most likely not meet other people during the trip.
Bekkarfjorden. Photographer: Jan Hugo Salamonsen
"It is also important to know that you will most likely not meet other people during the trip."
. One should therefore also take the necessary safety precautions when planning the hike. The glacier located in the center of the Seiland National Park must be crossed on the eastern side. For experienced glacier hikers, the glacier can be crossed across, but this requires experience as there are several crevices under the path across the glacier.
Foto: Ingunn Ims Vistnes / Seiland nasjonalpark
The route selection
. Seiland also consists of many rivers, and several of these are difficult to cross because of the large water flow from the glaciers. Otherwise, it's a great terrain for hiking, especially through the middle of the island.
I decided to walk from the southernmost point on Seiland, Hakkstabben. It's an easy trip here by ferry from Storkorsness, approx. 50 min by bus from Alta. Just remember to check the timetables first. Departing Hakkstabben on Seiland you will feel the true wilderness sensation penetrating your body.
The first day is spent getting to higher ground. You can easily find your way here as you are passing several smaller lakes and streams that are well marked on the map. One should go straight north towards Sennalandet which is located in Seiland National Park. The hike there takes 1-2 days, depending on the weight of your backpack. It is a lot of uphill in the beginning, but in easy terrain. After walking a whole day uphill, it's nice to pitch your tent when the terrain flares out. By this time you'll find yourself below Uvssotrassa which is a mountain peak of 831 metres above sea level. Here are wonderful places to make camp, and with several good fishing lakes and rivers flowing with all their power. You also have a great view of the ocean.
Nature here can most easily be described as what many of us have seen in the movie "Lord of the Rings".
The next day the journey continues north, and at the beginning you ascend approx. 200 meters along a rocky path. Although you continually can see the top approaching, it takes time because you have to walk thorugh the talus. But your patience and stamina pays off when you reach the top and get a great view of Seiland National Park. From here you can see the the Seiland glacier in all its glory right in front of you, and the lush green landscape almost takes your breath away.
It is a lot of uphill in the beginning, but in easy terrain.
From here the rest of the day is used to descend thorugh the talus until the terrain flares out and you reach Seeland's largest river, Melkelva. It splits the national park in two, but is easily crossed several places. Now you are in the middle of the national park, and the area here is called Sennalandet. You are surrounded by several beautiful lakes, and what could suit you better than finding a nice place to pitch your tent with a running river next door? Nature here can most easily be described as what many of us have seen in the movie "Lord of the Rings". Green and lush, and a waving landscape across the hills.
Walking towards the glacier
Day 3 starts walking towards the Seiland glacier, which one always have an eye on in good weather conditions. This also makes navigation easy here on the island. Here the day starts again by passing the Melkelva river. It must be crossed if you want to get up to the glacier. If you prefer not walk on the glacier itself, the only way to pass it is on the eastern side. The path along the glacier, but easy enough to walk. And it's also a mighty experience to walk alongside it.
Seilandsjøkulen - the Seiland Glacier
"An amazing trip to an island and a national park the fewest have heard of."
After having passed the glacier, you walk the rocky path for a while among many nice mountain lakes. One should wait making camp until reaching lower ground, as the possibilities for campsite are better there. After a long day's march, it's good to know that the glacier has been passed and that the northern part of the island is approaching.
Bekkarfjorden. Seiland is a distinctive and beautiful part of Western Finnmark's island nature, with small and large fjords surrounded by steep mountains that plunge into the sea. Photographer: Jan Hugo Salamonsen
The last bit
On day 4 you can choose to hike all the way to the northernmost point of Kjerringholmen where the boat is waiting to take you back to the mainland. It's a long leg withh a backpackack. Instead, take it easy, try fishing in one of the many lakes, and make camp a little earlier in the afternoon in a nice place. Now you have know the distance left so there is no need to hurry, and you want to stay on this amazing island as long as possible.
Day 5 is the last leg, and your tired back and sore legs are ready to leave this amazing island. From Kjerringholmen a ferry takes you to the mainland. Take the trip to the world's northernmost city of Hammerfest for one last night, far up north. An amazing trip to an island and a national park the fewest have heard of has made your natural experiences so much richer. You will definitely want to come back here.
Let me tell you about
Seiland (Northern Sami: Sievju) is the eighth largest island in mainland Norway, located in Finnmark county. The 559-square-kilometre (216 sq mi) island is divided between the municipalities of Alta, Hammerfest, and Kvalsund
Archeological excavations have shown that people have lived on Seiland for over 7000 years. Today, however the only people on it live in a few relatively isolated areas such as from Altneset to Hakkstabben on the southern tip of the island; Kårhamn on the northwestern side; and the Hønseby, Eidvågen, Fiskebukta, Survika areas in the northern part of the island. In 2006, the majority of central Seiland was designated as Seiland National Park.
There are two glaciers on Seiland: Seilandsjøkelen and Nordmannsjøkelen. The 1,078-metre (3,537 ft) tall Seilandstuva is the tallest mountain on the island. There are a number of fjords located on the island including Lille Kufjorden, Store Kufjorden, Nordefjorden, and Jøfjorden