The morning was chilly and brought winds which were somewhat lighter than before, and there was snow in the air. I got up at around 07:45 and fired up the stove, and during breakfast the low clouds lifted a little bit to the north, while a weak sun showed itself every now and then in the other direction.
I judged that even though it was both cold and windy it was not bad enough to require an extra layer of clothing, so I set out at 09:30 in my usual gear. I followed the trail/snowmobile track around the outrunner from Siŋŋičohkka, and then I turned off onto and alongside the frozen Čeakčajohka. As I skied across the mostly flat surface the northeast sector improved steadily, and when I was passing the Kuoperjĺkka shelter at a distance I observed four skiers who were sticking to the trail. Later on I saw three other persons, two of which seemed to be snowshoeing with a sled each, and all the while the whiteness lifted ahead and a veiled sun got a few rays through from behind.
Long distances saw a much decreased wind, but suddenly it would jump back to full strength, according to no apparent pattern. I passed the reindeer fence at the mouth of Čuhčavággi through the opening made for the summer trail, and then I skied up to its winter companion. By then the wind was really gone and there were many nice glimpses of sunlit peaks and suchlike. However, the Tjäktja Pass, which had been in clear view for quite some time now, was again on the verge of disappearing in cloud, whereas it was getting better to the south instead. I followed the trail all the way up to the Sälka cottages, arriving at 12:15.
I chatted with one of the wardens and then went inside the larger cottage to have lunch; earlier when things seemed to be looking up Tjäktja had seemed like a viable option, but now that didn't feel so inviting anymore. Inside I found four Germans, two of whom had stayed an extra day due to a mild illness, and when they found out that I came from Kebnekaise they began throwing questions at me. The common room was warm, so I stayed indoors taking it easy while observing the fluctuating weather, and I also got an authentic German sausage from two of the others who were just leaving. When I saw a peak glimmering in a spurt of sunlight I put on my skis and went out for an afternoon tour.
I aimed for Čeakčahjälmen up at the mouth of Stuor Reaiddávággi, and when I reached level ground I stood still waiting for the clouds further inside the valley to lift. Eventually they did just that, but in shifting patterns rather than as a joint event, and I got some nice views of the Čeakčačohkka and Šielmmáčohkka massifs. It was mostly windless at first, but later on it started blowing again, and when I was about to get cold I turned back down, following the ravine of the stream that flows out of the valley.
Back at the cottage site I spoke extensively with the wardens, and then started preparing for a sauna session – something I would be doing alone since the only two other guests were the Germans, who had already been at it the night before. While the burning logs heated the chamber I had a quick dinner, and then I returned to the little sauna building. I maintain that there is something fishy about that particular construction, for an excessive amount of heat had dissipated already, and it took quite some time to get the temperature to reach sizzling levels, but it became very good in the end. Outside the sky had almost cleared to the east, where a full moon was giving light to the slopes all around, and as my session progressed it cleared everywhere else as well, adding stars to the mix. It was also rather cold and crisp, which made for an exceptionally serene and beautiful winter night. Now that's more like it!
Returning to the cottage I found its interior to be warm and cozy, and the Germans were having an evening meal. I played some solitaire and then went out for some night photography, enjoying the light darkness. I then read a chapter or two and had a sturdy snack – the Germans offered me a place in their card game, but I was so tired that I just went to bed instead at 21:30.