Tours › 2006 › Around Sylarna › Day 2

Tuesday 7/3

Stage map 2

Stensdalen – Vålåvalen

Horizontal distance:12 km
Vertical distance:+110 m, -70 m, +50 m
Time:3 h 45 min
Lunch break:1 h
Dinner:Mincemeat with rice
Night accommodation:Cottage
Stage classification:Easy
Map points:Stensdalen, Vålåvalen
Lill-Stensdalsfjället 3
Lill-Stensdalsfjället in the morning

I woke up early, feeling cold, so I put on a t-shirt and wrapped the sleeping bag tightly around me. I then lay close to the limit of shivering until 7:30, when I decided that I might just as well get up and start a fire. The thermometer told me that the inside temperature was a mere 5°C, so that would certainly be a worthwhile effort. Outside, there was an appreciable wind blowing, which carried falling snow around in the air. The cloud cover was far from complete, however, and it looked like it could clear before long.

I made breakfast, and just as I had finished eating the warden came in to collect payment. It turned out that I was the first visitor to utilize the special offer, even though it had been available for well over a week. We chatted a bit, and then I started to get my things together – it's amazing how one can spread out when alone... The snow outside whirled on and off, interspersed with short bursts of veiled sunlight, and the wind persisted. I cleaned up the room, fetched water, emptied the dirt water bucket, and finally went to the woodshed to chop some replacement firewood. Everything, including me, was ready at 09:45, when I took my leave and glided off.

Right then, it wasn't snowing, and the wind kept changing (only in intensity, though – its source was continuously western). It was fairly warm in the forested regions, even though the wind made itself known on open areas. Later on, as the trail climbed towards the tree line, it took on a more unrelenting nature. After the crossroads with the trail to Vålådalen, there was snow drift on the ground for a kilometer or two up on the bare highland, and the snow cover was very thin at places. Shortly before Kroktjärnarna, I was overtaken by two snowmobiles; I noted that they were bringing ice drills, so I surmised that they were going winter fishing. Not long after that, I turned off the trail where I thought that I recognized the terrain from last year, and, sure enough, I found myself going straight at the old cabin located up among the trees. Two hours after I started, I sat down in the snow heap on the "porch", beautifully sheltered from the wind, to have lunch.

Trail 1
Setting out
Lill-Stensdalsfjället 4
Passing the cliff by
Sun 5
The sun...
Sun 6
...breaking through temporarily
Fjelds 1
Bunnerfjällen behind
Bird 1
A bird by the trail
Vålåvalen 1
Vålåvalen itself rising
Smällhögarna 1
Fjelds 2
Fjelds to the southeast
Cabin 1
The cabin above Kroktjärnarna

Being out of the wind, I was quite snug and comfortable, and I made no haste at all. After almost an hour, though, I felt it was time to leave, but I waited for one of the recurring short bursts of snow to dissipate first. An ache had started in my right ankle, where the ski boot apparently applied undue pressure, but it was tolerable enough. After the cabin, the trail exited the sparse forest again, and the wind returned in full force. Fuller than before, actually – the tracks in the snow looked several days old. As I was nearing the Vålå cottages, at 13:30, the clouds broke apart somewhat and allowed the sun to glitter on the roofs.

Also at this cottage the warden pair was the same as the last time I visited it, curly-haired dog included. I sat down to speak for a bit with the male half of said pair, who was having lunch in the common room of the newer cottage (which was decidedly warmer than the one I had left in the morning), and before long we could watch a group of six Germans and one dog arrive from Gåsen; they were directed by his wife to the older cottage.

Trail 2
Pressing forward again
Snow 2
Snow in the air
Sun 7
The Sun's not giving up
Vålå cottages 1
Arriving at...
Vålå cottages 2
...the Vålå cottages

Since half past one in the afternoon seemed like much too early a time to settle down, I went out for a short tour in the immediate surroundings. In ample wind, I aimed for Vålåvalen itself, cutting across the hills. As I reached a good vantage point, it started snowing lightly and the wind subsided, but after I turned south towards the trail from the Lunndörren cottages, both wind and snow returned, the latter in large amounts. While I was still on higher ground, I noticed two figures moving west down on the trail, so I assumed that they had come from Lunndörren in the morning. I proceeded in a southwestward direction until I came upon the trail, which I then followed back to the cottages.

Vålå cottages 3
The newer cottage
Trail 3
The trail going east, towards Lunndörren
Gråsjödörren 1
Gråsjödörren clouded
Vålåvalen 2
Fjelds 3
The southeastern fjelds again
Sun 8
The weather's a-changin'

Upon returning, I was offered a freshly baked bun and tea by the wardens, and we spoke for a while before the pair I had seen earlier arrived – it turned out that they were residents of the cottages already, who had originally planned to go to Gåsen this day, but decided to wait due to the strong would-be headwind and had just made a trip in the area to pass the time. The talk continued for a while, during which the clouds lifted and the sun came out. Since the other two had taken upon themselves to fetch water, the task of chopping firewood fell on me, so I set about doing so. By then it was rather calm outside, and I produced quite a few logs before deciding that I was done.

Gråsjödörren 2
Gråsjödörren in the clear
Vålå cottages 4
Cottage and watchdog
Vålå cottages 5
Sunset approaching
Gråsjödörren 3
Gråsjödörren one more time
Gruvsmällen 1
Sky 1
Fair evening sky

I then went inside to pay for my stay; I didn't catch whether I was the first to make use of the special offer in this cottage as well, but I got the feeling that there at least couldn't have been many before me. As the afternoon passed into evening, the clouds formed a ceiling anew, and there was more snow. This day really offered some True Fjeld Weather®! I started making dinner, and soon the other two appeared to do the same.

Vålå cottages 6
Vålå cottage by night

After the meal, the outside was calm once more, and I spent quite some time reading through a large book with pictures and stories from the municipality of Åre (which includes virtually all of the popular fjelds in the county of Jämtland). Since the night was nearing, I made a fire in the heater in my room to keep it from chilling; the inside had been warm enough during the day not to warrant any such action earlier. After making sure that the flames would sustain themselves for some time, I went back to the common room for a snack. The others had receded to their own room already, so I was all alone again.

I read for a bit, checked on the fire, and then went outside to see if the clouds would let the moon show. It turned out that they did, but only partially; the shining orb had its sheen dimmed by several notches. It was still calm, though, and the temperature remained at a modest -10°C. I went inside again and, feeling tired, straight to bed.



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