I awoke at 07:00 to the apparent sound of rain on the canvas, but after listening for a while I determined that it was just mosquitos bouncing off the fabric. In fact, the sky looked rather promising with lots of blue overhead and to the east, but a dark bank of clouds hung in the northeast. It was fairly warm and almost still, so I had breakfast outside. While doing so I was hit by a few drops seemingly from a clear sky; there was a large patch of blue direcly above me, so they must have blown in from a cloud located somewhere else. That was all there was, however, and the patch of blue grew in size while the temperature rose, and the clouds seemed to be moving off.
I struck the tent – now completely dry – in the presence of an uncomfortably large number of mosquitos, and found the air to be warm indeed. I saw a pair of hikers going east up on the trail, and prepared to leave myself; I decided that it wasn't going to rain, so I stowed away the rain cover and rain clothes and opted for a light attire. At 09:15, I started picking my way up the slope towards the trail.
Once up on the rise it seemed as though it was raining to the northwest, but there was nothing of the sort where I was, and the sun even allowed a few of its precious rays to reach the earth. I met two people shortly after one another, each carrying quite a load, and then another two together. There was practically no wind so it was rather warm, but not enough for me to strip down further. I met another hiker, and then passed a lone fellow who was just breaking camp beside a small brook, and shortly thereafter I caught up with the pair I had seen earlier on a crest, where they "pulled over" to pause. The west now looked better, and a wind had picked up, which better suited my walking effort. I met another pair of hikers – just as expected, the Padjelanta Trail had a fair amount of traffic – and then I paused myself in the vicinity of a small pond, where I had some chocolate. This also gave me a chance to recuperate somewhat – the ache in my hip had grown worse rather than better.
I encountered one additional wanderer, and as I was nearing Duottar the wind increased. I passed two more fords of the "just-walk-straight-across" variety, and then found myself at the Tuottar cottages (there's some disagreement on how to spell the name, but the lettering on the actual buildings said "Tuottar", so I'm going with that). There was no one about, but I could see movement inside the warden's cottage. I made use of the privy and waste disposal compartment, and then sat down with my back against the storage building to eat after 11:30, seeking shelter from the now fairly keen wind, which was bringing with it some low clouds from the west.
The camper I had passed at the start of the stage arrived and made a short break, and then the pair I had overtaken came and went. Another couple came from Stáloluokta at the same time as the warden went over to the storage building where I sat, and the newcomers asked her where they could buy fish and bread. Apparently they had been misinformed somewhere along the way, for such things are sold in only a few of the Badjelánnda cottages, and Tuottar is not among them. Instead, they sat down beside me to prepare their own lunch.
As we sat there the arriving low clouds were turning into a fog which crept nearer and nearer, and with this came a drizzle which soon developed into actual rain. I considered my options while the temperature fell, and came to the conclusion that stopping where I was and spending the night in a cottage would not be such a bad idea – half a day's rest might be just what the doctor ordered for my hip. I approached the warden, and was allotted a cottage of my own (since there was no one else present).
The cottages along the Padjelanta Trail were originally maintained by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, but has since passed into the care of the Sámi villages in the area, and most of them are of a standardized 6-bed type. They reminded me of the Kĺrsavagge cottage – not so much in style or look as in feel, and the one I resided in was quite cozy. Through the window I could see a group of three who were having an extended break between the two fords, and I wondered why they didn't continue the last few hundred meters to the cottages. The weather declined further, to the point where everything was all white, and I had trouble making out even the other buildings close by. The other two lunchers had decided to defy the atmospheric conditions and departed, and I too went outside to fetch water. Then the rain got worse and the thermometer showed a very modest 10°C, which felt much colder under the circumstances. Being indoors did not feel at all bad.
A group of three arrived from the south and were directed to the cottage right next to mine. Myself, I had some reindeer meat and then afternoon tea with biscuits (in the proudest English tradition, although there were no scones to be found). I read through various publications I found in a shelf, watching the fog gradually dissolve, but visibility remained low. Another two came from the south, followed by four more, and then five from the west, all being placed in different cottages, leaving me alone in mine. The fog kept shifting between very dense and not so dense, and the rain between almost none and heavy. I had dinner and went on reading, and then started making another crossword – this time concentrating on including as many Sámi names as possible (available here, in Swedish; these reports will provide some valuable help for reference purposes).
Later on yet another trio arrived from the south, and also they were herded into a cottage of their own. It had started to clear somewhat to the north, and soon this process spread all around the cottage site, and the evening wasn't bad at all. The warden came in to collect payment, and we spoke for a bit about the pros and cons of solitary activities and their effect upon the psyche. Then I had my evening snack and read a bit in my book before I began preparing for bed. A light fog had returned, but the sky beyond it was semi-clear, and I had hopes for the morrow as I lay down at 21:30, finishing the chapter at hand before blowing out the candle.