I stayed in bed until 07:30, and then got up to check on the weather. I had two options: stay for another day, as included in my original plan, or continue to Nedalshytta directly. The current weather in the morning was mostly fair, with a few smaller clouds hovering at the various peaks, and a moderate wind. It also seemed to be clearer to the north; the station was in shadow all morning. In the dining room the breakfast buffet for the photo course was served, and there was apparently also another table for an organized Jämtland Triangle tour.
After having my own breakfast, I gave the weather forecasts a close scrutiny, and ultimately came to the conclusion that the presumed conditions of both this day and the days to come, in relation to what I would be doing where during those days, together favored option one: stay another day. I went to pay for an additional night at the reception, and at the same time requested the discount card I never got on day 1. Surprisingly, also on this occasion the receptionist was unsure about what to do, and I had to fill her in. Even the station manager didn't have all the facts, and when they finally found an old document detailing the product, it was even necessary for me to point out that STF has advertised a price drop since the time that document was written. Everything turned out fine in the end, though, and I returned to my room to get ready for a day trip.
The obvious choice for such a trip when staying at Sylarna's fjeld station is of course to scramble up a mountain of preference, which is what I set out to do. I didn't bring a pack, but included a bottle of water and some chocolate in the anorak's pockets. I had also changed back to the old batteries in the camera, since they had recuperated once free of the windy cold. I brought along the spares easily accessible – and warmly wrapped – in a leg pocket, though.
I left before 09:45, following a well-defined track leading up through Slottsdalen. It was cold and a light wind was blowing, but the sun was mostly hidden by clouds of varying density. The photographers were ascending ahead of me in small groups, several of which I caught up with and passed; they spread out in all directions which involved the concept of "up". I aimed for the pass between Lillsylen and Vaktklumpen, which offered splendid views both of the Swedish fjelds to the east, and of Norway to the west – the national border runs right through the Sylarna massif.
Having absorbed the vistas properly, I started climbing Lillsylen diagonally, crossing the slope in a southern direction. It was rather windy, and the view remained great. There were a few people above me who were ascending on alpine skis, presumably with climbing skins, but I had to proceed serpentine fashion; the snow had been much hardened by the wind, and offered little in the way of firm grip. That was no problem, though, and I continued up to a point right beneath a steeper crest, which itself was the last such before the final steep summit slope; I reckon I was about 1500 meters above sea level. At that point, the batteries decreed that they had had enough again, so I got to perform a switch standing on an icy slope of appreciable incline, with a keen wind in my back, in biting cold. That was fun. I managed, though, and could carry on snapping.
There were some skiers in the basin below Lillsylen, and further down there was another person who had come up from below, so I assumed that the ones further up would produce a nice pattern for the one further down to photograph. Myself, I found my way down along the edge to the basin, by way of carefully executed turns, and once the slope became flatter I proceeded downhill towards Slottet. Once down at a lower level, it was calm and a bit of sunlight broke through. I continued diagonally towards the track I had used on the way up, and when I was approaching the threshold of the valley I both heard and saw a helicopter coming to the station. Clouds were drifting in from the east, and there were even small amounts of snowfall at the last crest before the long downhill run. By then the peaks were hidden in clouds, and the wind had returned. I was back at the station just after noon.
I appeared to be the first one down out of those who had gone up that morning, but I could see that others were in the process of returning. I went inside to have lunch, and watched the meteorological development through the windows – the clouds seemed to be dissipating somewhat, but the massif remained cut off. I also noted a brave attempt by the station staff to get a large tractor to move, which was not an easy task seeing as how it was embedded in deep snow. I offered them an unspoken wish of luck, and returned inside to read.
As the afternoon progressed and the photographers were dropping in, the skies were clearing and the wind had been reduced to a very light breeze. Unfortunately, my main memory card started giving errors (probably due to having been exposed to deep cold and wind), so I put in a new one – no images had been lost, though. A group of people were erecting a tent out on the snow, and the staff had managed to get the tractor moving. I read some more while munching on a bit of dried reindeer meat, and eventually paid another visit to the sauna, where I found a couple of Germans. I also witnessed another helicopter arrival through the sauna window.
I continued to read – I had found an old STF yearbook dealing exclusively with Jämtland – while observing that clouds had retaken the mastery of the massif with a vengeance, and the very light snow that had started falling during my descent was still doing so in lazy fashion. I felt rather hungry, but held out until after 17 before preparing dinner, once again well before most other guests.
Later on, I noticed that the tent was gone, so I surmised that it had just been an exercise. I picked up the Jämtland book again, but after a while my attention drifted off to the table across the room, where the station manager was involved in a discussion with a couple of other guests, regarding STF in general and Sylarna's fjeld station in specific and the challenges they face to survive in the future. I listened with half an ear from my end at first, but ultimately sat down at their table instead.
Next up, something I had had my eyes on since the previous day: candy. I bought a small bag, and consumed its contents while burrowing through the later sections of the book. Outside, the moon was doing its thing just like before, and even though most of the stars were visible, clouds still hovered at the peaks. I finished the book beside the lit fireplace in the dining room, and then had my evening snack. The event of bed-entering occurred at around 21:45, and was followed by a period of reading.