I slept both well and warmly, waking at first light. After falling back asleep for a while I arose to an awfully pretty dawn around 7. The temperature was around freezing, and outside everything which had been wet the day before was now frozen. After greeting the sun I had breakfast inside, where it was only marginally warmer, and then started packing in a calm fashion. I stood outside for a bit in a total absence of wind, and it looked to be a great day – would that all that snow were not there! I put my clammy walking clothes back on and cleaned up while the sun started to work on the hardened snow, and then left before 09:15. I meant to head in the direction of Lunndörren as planned, and let the snow decide whether or not I would camp out.
At first I could walk in my own footsteps, but soon I turned off on the trail through Hällådalen. The crust broke beneath my boots, but a bit more of the path had appeared. I made my way across the snow looking for thinner places, and at times it was very easy. I had been so intent on the ground that I had not really kept track of where the trail was headed, and it took a while to reorient myself on the map. There were some arduous portions of deeper snow with that same bothersome breaking crust, but on the whole the snow seemed to grow more scant as I ascended towards Tjielkenjuenie, to the point of bare areas. Atop the outrunner I stopped for a short break, looking out over a valley just as white as the previous one. This whiteness was starting to make itself known, so I put on my sunglasses against the strong light, and also removed my jacket since the sun was now warming indeed.
Going down the snow was softer, and once down there were long stretches of bare or otherwise easily trodden ground. This was only temporary, however, for as I was approaching the southern parts of Stor-Anahögen the snow returned in ample quantities, and I left the would-be path at a small brook to find better footing. There were fox tracks here and there, and looking further into the valley I saw movement, so my first thought was that I had spotted the vulpine in question.
Closer at hand a hare scampered by as if chased, and looking at the "fox" again when it reappeared I realized with absolute certainty that this was in fact a wolverine. Oh, how often I have seen the telltale pawprints, but now, finally, I got to see the animal itself at close range. The hare circled back and passed behind me, soon followed by the wolverine, but curiously neither seemed to be in that much of a hurry (see video here; 1M). I do wonder how that match ended. I continued below the trail, and then upon it where conditions improved somewhat. My feet were getting cold from all the snow, and time was flying, so at noon I stopped on a bare patch below the start of the slope out of the valley to have lunch.
While I was sitting there the sun passed first into strips of cloud, and then more dense ones. I therefore put the jacket (and gloves) back on before leaving, and removed the sunglasses. The slope presented no problems, and at the crest I found a sign the text of which had worn away, but it seemed to point out a turn in the trail (which was confirmed by the marking cairns). I went on straight ahead, however, since I wanted to get a good view of the valley below.
Here the ground consisted of large rocks partially covered in snow, and progress was tricky. I carefully picked my way out to the edge in deep snow, and was rewarded by a spectacular view of the curiously flat plateau and the Vålådalen basin beyond, with Sylarna on the horizon. Had there been less (or preferably no) snow I would not have aimed for the Lunndörren cottages, but rather continued down across Sierkebåårhke and then turned south towards Lunndörren proper. This way was still an option if I were aiming for said cottages, but the snow made me reluctant to take it – and since the slope down consisted of more of the same precarious rocks collected in furrows I decided against it.
Instead I turned northwards, which involved more difficult passages – and at one point I slipped and fell, but hurt nothing. Soon I reached more stable ground, and the view was more open as well. Just then I realized that I had dropped my map case, but found it at once at the place of the fall. The sun was back, so the glasses went back on, and I went on in the direction of the trail on a thin snow cover, following gently sloping ridges. Just before reaching the cairns I stumbled upon a small pine, which is very unusual to find at such altitudes. Back on the trail walking was easy at first, but when the slant increased the snow got thicker again, and I took to small detours; all the while the continuation of the trail across the plateau was visible as a winding indentation in the unbroken whiteness.
Down on the plateau walking was a bit easier again, but the breaking crust was still in effect, despite the powerful sun. After climbing a few low edges intersecting my path I observed two running figures – one man and one dog – upon the trail ahead. At the trail juncture above Issjödalen there were tyre tracks in the snow, but they turned back down. Myself, I followed in the tracks left by the runner, and here the snow cover was mostly thin so I could increase my own steps without difficulty. I passed across Grönan easily, stepping on stones; the runner had continued on downstream on the northern side, but there were other tracks on the southern one. Soon enough I caught up with the creator of those tracks, in the form of a single Dane, and I spoke with him for a bit; he was on a day tour out of Vallbo, and would be returning shortly. Soon the man-and-dog tracks reappeared, so obviously they had crossed the stream after all.
I was weary from all the heavy plodding, but the cause for this plodding did not seem to present many opportunities for stopping anytime soon, so now I was intent on reaching the cottages – not in the least because my boots were wet. Walking continued to be good, and soon all tracks veered off the trail, but I stayed with it. After another juncture I passed a region of "wet bumpiness", followed by more easily trodden ground. Now the sun passed into cloud, and a chilling wind came into being. I came to the ravine between Lill-Gröngumpen and Stor-Gröngumpen, which is rather impressive. The snow had grown softer, and still progress was fairly easy, but down in the beautifully colored forest I lost the path at a winding brook and had to wade through deep snow for a bit until I got back to it. The sun was back in force, and soon it seemed as though the snow was getting thinner again. Suddenly I caught sight of the buildings, and before I knew it I emerged from the forest around 16:00.
It was very nice to arrive, not only since it had been a tough walk, but also because it was exceedingly beautiful with the autumnal trees and the calm water – and mighty Saanta rising above. There were a good deal of frozen tracks on the yard, including canine ones (surely the ones who had camped at Stalovielle), but just as before there was no one here now. Out of habit I checked the gas stove – and to my surprise found that the gas was turned on; I had my own stove, of course, but others may have found this very welcome. I found a bag of muesli in the cupboard and munched on it to recuperate a bit, and looking into the mirror I saw that the sun and the snow had worked rather heavily on the exposed parts of my face. I fetched water and then checked out the woodshed, and here it was open at least. I cut some fine sticks for lighting and brought in logs; my boots were wet enough to require drying, so this time I did intend to make a fire. After firing up the heater I changed clothes and stood outside in the nice weather for a while, and then started dinner for I was hungry as few.
After eating I took it easy, tending to the fire and the drying things. Outside the low sun made for a nice light, and I went for a long photo round up a nearby rise wearing a pair of old rubber boots I found in the vestibule. The sunset was a marvelous one, and on its heels followed cooler conditions and hardening snow. The inside of the open cottage (the larger one is locked between seasons) was now rather warm, so I opened the door and relaxed for a while. After another visit outside I sat down by the west-facing window to read in my book by what light remained, and managed to do so for quite some time.
Outside there was a beautiful dusk light on the western horizon, and the moon was just rising. Just what I needed after this day. Back indoors I lay down in bed and continued to read, now by the sheen of my LED headband. After my evening snack I rested without light, and then looked over the map, drawing up alternatives for the morrow. Everything depended on the snow, and from the looks of it no significant change was coming, what with the cold nights and all. There was a light southerly wind outside, but it was still nice in the moonlight. I put some more logs on the fire and went to bed around 21:15, listening to the soothing crackling sounds.