Tours › 2005 › Jämtland Triangle › Day 2

Friday 4/3

Stage map 2

Blåhammaren – Sylarna

Horizontal distance:17.5 km
Vertical distance:-260 m, +200 m, -140 m, +160 m
Time:5 h 15 min
Lunch break:1 h 30 min
Dinner:Tortellini with carbonara
Night accommodation:Fjeld station
Stage classification:Medium/Hard
Map points:Blåhammaren, Enkälen, Gamla Sylen, Sylarna

The morning came with clearer skies, lower temperatures, and stronger wind. I made breakfast in the kitchen, and soon the musicians entered to do the same; the Englishmen had opted for the restaurant variety. I made a simple clothing test, by standing still for a while in the wind in the same coverage as the day before, to see if it would suffice. Since I felt that the strong wind had a noticeable chilling effect through the anorak, I decided to exchange the fleece shirt for a thicker knitted one. I took my leave of the others, who were going down to Storulvån, and departed southwards at around 10.

Snasahögarna 1
Snasahögarna in the morning
Blåhammaren fjeld station 2
The corridor connecting the two wings of the station
Sauna 2
Displacement of snow during the night (outside sauna)

The wind was coming from the west, and so was not hindering my progress. Even though it was generally downhill the first few kilometers, the more local topography of the land together with the condition of the snow conspired to make gliding prolonged distances hard. Still, I went along with relative ease, getting nice views of the surrounding fjelds.

A few hours after the start, I reached the Enkälen shelter, where I stopped for lunch – I prepared some freeze-dried spaghetti bolognese outside, and went inside to eat. By then the wind had subsided and the sun had come out in full, so it was a beautiful winter day, and I made no haste. My plan had been to go to this shelter, and if the weather proved to be too tough, I would turn northeast and follow the trail to Ulvåtjärn, and from there back to Storulvån. As it was, I elected to continue towards Sylarna as originally intended.

Panorama 1
Panorama over the Sylarna massif and the fjelds on the Norwegian side of the border
Fjelds 1
Inching closer to Sylarna
Snasahögarna 2
Snasahögarna from another perspective
Trail 4
Nothing but snow
Trail 5
The clouds settling

Just as I was leaving the shelter, however, the wind had restarted and had also changed direction, so that it was now blowing directly against my bearing, and low clouds were rolling in. A long uphill slope followed, and it grew more and more difficult to advance; snow was whirling up from the ground, but at least nothing fell from the sky. Up on the Enkälen plateau, I could just make out the Sylarna station through the haze, but it was growing denser all the time. With the headwind adding to the coarse snow, there was no gliding at all down into Enan's valley; I had to ski all the way.

The last three kilometers up to the station were taxing; the wind was still blowing hard head-on, and visibility was very low. I stopped at every eighth marking pole or so, turned my back against the wind and panted for half a minute before continuing. When I reached the Gamla Sylen shelter less than halfway up, where the trail from Gåsen lands, I went inside to pause for real. There were three other men there, one of which was just on his way out – the first living beings I had seen since leaving Blåhammaren. I had a sandwich and some hot water, and having recovered most of my strength, I faced the storm once more; one of the men had left already, but the other lingered. After a while, I caught up with the one who had departed just before me; he was trying to change into a thicker pair of gloves, but had dropped one in the process, which the wind had carried a good bit down the slope. Luckily, I caught sight of it, and after returning it to its owner I continued on, and finally reached the station again at around 15:15.

Being early in the season, there were fairly few people around, so getting a bed was no problem. I opted for one in the room of eight, since those are the cheapest, and there was just one other person there – a lone guy of about my age, something which I have come to realize is somewhat unusual. I went on to have a sauna; alone at first, but my roommate joined me after a while. Following that and some general winding down, I bought a soft drink, prepared food and sat down to eat in the large dining room, which on a clear day provides an impressive overlook of the entire Sylarna massif, but now everything was just white.

After dinner, I read for a while in the common area outside the dining room, imbibing a fair amount of water which, judging from its color, contained a significant percentage of soil particles (it was fine to drink, though). Later, I returned to the dining room and joined a small cluster of men sitting by the unlit fireplace – it consisted of the three I had encountered at the shelter and the guy in "my" room. We traded stories and idle chatter for some time, before people began withdrawing for the night. I lingered to have my evening snack, and then slipped back into the room and into bed, hoping for fairer conditions the next day.



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