The train was on time, and on its windows I could see that the drizzle held out during the journey. There was one other person on the bus, but only I got off in Vallbo. There there was snow on the ground, albeit not much, and the clouds were low; in fact, we had driven right through one on the way up. The rain had mostly stopped, but it was rather chilly as I made final preparations and left after 08:45. The map showed several paths to Anaris, and it was my intention to take the closest one.
I walked past a crossroads with a sign not bearing the title "Anaris", and landed on the dirt road I recognized from my previous trek here. After a while, however, when the upward slope started, I became dubious about the correctness of this route, and headed back to that first sign – and now it was raining and/or snowing lightly again. The path skirted the outskirts of the village and then headed into the forest, over a brook I crossed without problems. I also passed a cleared passage cutting through the trees, and not too much later I came to another crossroads – this time with more informative signs which confirmed that I was indeed on the right track (the other route would have worked too, but I had now followed the one I intended to take all along).
Almost immediately the trail turned into a collection of snowy/icy puddles and/or rivulets, and my progress was slowed. The precipitation had stopped again, but the trees had started dripping instead. The amount of snow on the ground was also increasing, and the uphill slopes were slippery as a result. I came out onto a mire where I got a first glimpse of the very white fjelds ahead, but it was only a glimpse for the clouds remained low. After a tedious portion I came to a winding stream I passed via a simple ford, where things seemed lighter somehow. More dense forest followed, and then I was at the signpost just below Staloviellekåtan.
I walked up to the hut at 11:30, finding tracks of both feet (human and canine) and a tent, so there had obviously been people there the previous night, but the place was deserted at the moment. I looked inside the hut, which functions as an official trail shelter, and sat down in there to have lunch. I made an entry in the visitors' log and then started packing up, since I was beginning to get cold. Outside the trees were dripping like crazy, and it seemed to be getting lighter still. The others had gone off in the direction of Lunndörren, and since that route starts off as a winter-only trail I imagined that they had had (and probably were still having) heavy work plodding through the snow. This also meant that I would have some plodding of my own to do as the continuation of the trail to Anaris was untouched since the snowfall.
After a short bit I came to Tvärån (one of many streams by that name), and here I had to look around a bit before I found a suitable place to cross. Back in the forest there was a bit more snow than before, but it was not too difficult. Suddenly the trees parted and I was treated to a nice view of Ö Vattensjön and the fjelds to the northwest. After passing a hollow I lost the path in the snow and took to following natural passages through the terrain in the general direction of the invisible trail. I gained a bit of altitude and then kept it, sinking fairly deep in the snow at times.
Eventually I came up onto the actual trail, where walking was easier, even though the snow remained. I was now on open ground, and the lighter conditions made for some very pretty views with the autumn leaves contrasting with the snow. After the passage of the stream between Staalavielie and Kruptjie a wind picked up, and ahead of me a low haze was approaching. At the next turn of the trail this haze came in the form of light snow, but before too long it passed. When I started up the very snowy valley the pass at its far end was concealed, but as I progressed across tricky little brooks the sky started to clear from the east, and rather quickly the sun began making itself known. From the threshold I beheld a very white view, and after one last look back I started down the other side.
I followed the marking cairns with a small group of reindeer ahead of me. Another bout of snow came and passed from behind as I made my way through the sometimes deep snow, looking at the depth of the reindeer tracks to judge the best route to take. Down on more level ground the path was just discernable at first, but then it disappeared under all the snow. I crossed a stream at a marked spot closer to the winter trail and pressed on ahead, feeling weary from the rougher-than-expected start – and now I had the goal of the day in full sight all the time. Behind me Stor-Anahögen was acquiring a cloud cap, and ahead of me there were more streams to pass, but these were smaller and caused no trouble. Åreskutan had now appeared, and it was bathed in sun, but I walked in shadow for the most part. The last portion felt better, and I walked up to the cute little cottage at 15:15.
There was no one about, and neither were there any tracks. I went inside and found the place in very good condition despite its age (built in 1930). After fetching water I looked around the premises, and found that the woodshed was locked; not that I was planning on using the heater anyway, but I was surprised on the behalf of others. I swept a path between the guest cottage and the privy, for later use; now the sun was back and it was rather nice. I changed out of my walking clothes, which was a somewhat cold affair as the temperature was just 2°C. After sitting down for a rest I started dinner, and ate with delight as the sun passed into a rather large but transient cloud.
Since I was feeling chilly I lay down in my sleeping bag in one of the beds and read in an old issue of Turist – it was familiar enough that I realized it was one I had read before, but not so familiar that I couldn't reread it. Now the sun was back in force, and the snow was thawing visibly at places, but there was still a lot to go, and I had severe doubts regarding the continuation of the tour. The sun was also about to set, and before it did I went out for a little walk to enjoy the beautiful evening; it was entirely still and very nearly clear.
Later a close-to-full moon was rising, and it was a serene scene heightened by the cold. I returned to the comfort of my sleeping bag and lay snug for a good while. As most natural light had now faded I lit a candle and started reading in my book, having an evening snack as I did so. Outside the moon shone upon the fjelds, and the few clouds in attendance created intriguing patterns upon the slopes. I stood out on the porch for a bit and then did some hops on the spot to get my temperature up before going to bed at 21:15.