The Rapa River (also called Rapaätno) flows through the Sarek National Park, winding through magnificent mountain ranges and narrow valleys, in north Norrland, in Norrbotten County, Sweden. A tributary of the Lesser Lule River, Rapa stretches 75 km from its source up in the glaciers of Sarektjåkkå to the mouth of Lake Laitaure, flowing through a 35 km long Rapa Valley or Rapadalen. The Rapa valley is the artery of Sarek. It is a splendid piece of unspoiled wilderness with dense thickets of mountain birch, osier and herbaceous plants. The flora is poor in most of the park, but the animal life in the valleys is rich. If you are lucky you can see bear, wolverine, lynx or one of the unusually large elks.
The Rapaätno river has an enormous flow and carries green glacial water from about thirty glaciers. It runs down the Rapa Valley as far as Lake Laitaure, and then rejoins the Lesser Lule River river which eventually forms the Lule River river at the confluence with the Lule älv. At the mouth of Lake Laitaure, the Rapa River forms the Laitaure Delta. The Rapa delta is considered to be the most beautiful river delta in Scandinavia.
The Rapaätno transports significant quantities of sediment. In one summers day, it can carry between 5,000 and 10,000 tons of sediment. This amount is only a few tons in winter, giving a total of 180,000 tons of sediment moved over the whole year. The sediment explains the grey-green colour of the river and the formation of immense deltas.
The river delta can be best viewed from the air, but if a helicopter ride is not possible, the second best views are obtained from the Skierfe (1179 m) at the right. Skierfe has a vertical wall at the side of the valley, but the top can be hiked from the back side on an easy path. The smaller mountain in the valley at the right side of the picture is called Nammatj. Coming from Sitojaure, it is possible to go up to Skierfe and continue to Aktse on one day.
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