The night was a windy one, and there were still some fairly strong gusts in the morning. Clouds were present all around but there was also some sunlight to be seen, and temperatures were on the cold side. I got up at 07:15 and during the obligatory visit outside I ran into Leif – another participant in The Course. Since Petter was still in bed I made breakfast for the two of us, which saved me from doing the dishes later.
On my next outside visit I was suddenly hailed by one of the wardens, who with earnest implored me not to go to Tjäktja – apparently several people had come down with a severe bout of stomach flu during the night, and there had even been an emergency medical evacuation by helicopter. As a precaution the cottage had been quarantined and the police was calling the other cottages in the area, using their assistance phone network, telling wardens to spread the warning. This did not really impact my plans, however, as I intended to go all the way to Alesjaure in any case – the only difference would be that I couldn't pause in Tjäktja. My companion and I went to the woodshed to do our part, and then we were the first to set out before 09:30, in opposite directions – Petter would be returning to Kebnekaise (and the Easter buffet) that same day.
By then more clouds had appeared both in the south and the north, even though the sun did reach Sealggá. A moderately keen northwesterly wind was blowing, but snow conditions were good with intermittent old tracks. After a while the wind subsided, then intensified again, only to die down anew, and then visibility started to improve ahead of me. Directly opposite the peak of Geargeoaivi I met a lone skier; she had spent the night in Tjäktja, but in a room of her own away from those taken ill, so she hoped that she hadn't caught anything – and she was glad to have my fresh tracks to ski in for the rest of the way, having been making her own thus far.
Another two people followed some distance behind, and now it was really clearing in the Tjäktja Pass, but to the south everything was white. Before starting the ascent I noted another pair seemingly on break in a snowdrift off to my left; perhaps they had tented somewhere in the vicinity. Going up was not nearly as easy as before, and it took both some time and energy before I was at the shelter on the crest. It was then fairly warm with a bit of gusty wind, and to the north it looked much better, with clouds hovering as far off as behind Ážik. I entered the shelter at 11:30 to have lunch.
During the break the wind petered out and a bit of sunlight found its way through the southern clouds, and when I looked out the door after my meal I found myself peering at two men coming up from Čeakčavággi – most likely the two in the snowdrift. I went down a little bit in that direction to see if more of the valley had become visible, but upon discovering a negative answer to that question I set off to the north. The other two had just passed the pass, but I passed them in turn a short distance down, skiing in very good tracks from the same morning.
Progress was easy and I held a high tempo, continuing straight ahead when the trail started turning to the left, maintaining a cautious distance to the isolated cottage. Then the downhill slant grew more pronounced, and I covered a large area in short time, crossing the ravine of Šielmmánjira in a passable place, eventually coming back to the trail before a reindeer-watching hut. On the trail I found another very fine ski track that looked almost as though it had been prepared, so going was still easy. I observed a sizeable group a bit up the slope to my right that appeared to be either preparing to build a snow shelter or to leave one, and I also met two women headed for Sälka; they had heard the warning too.
It was warm and mostly still at first, but when I drew near to Ážik a southwesterly wind picked up and there was snow in the air; it was also getting cloudier all the time behind me, whereas it was slowly clearing in front. Having passed Ážik the wind lessened and the clearing process continued; in the more immediate area it was shifting back and forth between warm sun and chilly gusts. When I reached Bossosváráš I paused for a short while, having some chocolate, and when I set off again it was rather fair and warm. I caught sight of the main Alesjaure cottage early on, and all the time during the remaining portion weather conditions improved everywhere. For the final bit I broke off from the trail and skied on Aliseatnu, coming up onto the hill on which the cottages lie before 15:30.
A couple of people were sitting propped up against the southern wall of one of the guest cottages enjoying the sun, and I talked some with them before Sören came over – he did not seem particularly surprised that I had kept my "promise". For the moment there weren't that many people present, but out on Alisjávri several whole bunches of arrivers-to-be could be seen. I was allotted space in the cottage closest to the sauna – fitting, that – outside of which Hillevi, the other warden, was sitting, and I spoke for a bit with her before going inside to have an afternoon snack.
Shortly thereafter two men – presumably father and son – came in, and the first of the lake-people were almost ashore. Outside it was really nice, and now even Giron far off to the northeast was emerging. I went over to the main cottage – containing a small reception of sorts, a mini-shop, a mini-library, and two large common rooms – to purchase dinner, and by then more travellers had started to drop in. A large, low cloud was hanging off to the west, and as the sun passed into it the temperature dropped noticeably; it had actually been pretty cold all day.
After some stretching I went down to the sauna – and promptly found Göran inside. He had been milling about the area since signing off from Tjäktja some time earlier, in anticipation of the tour he would be leading out of Abisko in another week or so. As for the sauna session itself, it was very good, and even though there were more clouds outside it was still beautiful, and windless. Back in the cottage I had acquired a roommate in the form of a Swiss man, and the rest of the rooms were also filling up. I had a sturdy dinner, and pretty much everyone else seemed about to enter into similar activities, although it all went smoothly in a sequential manner.
In the evening it was clearing once again, but this time Giron remained hidden. I rested and read for a bit, turning on the gas heater in the room to fight off the onset of nightly coldness. In the dusk I saw the clear burn of a snowmobile headlight across Alisjávri, and as I watched it went to and through the Sámi encampment on the eastern shore, turned towards the cottages, and then turned again onto Aliseatnu, disappearing up Alisvággi.
I had a light evening snack and talked a little with a mother who was on tour with her daughter and that daughter's friend; her husband was coming to join them from the other direction via Vistas, but with Tjäktja ruled out they would be ahead of schedule, and as I was going to Vistas the next day and would in all likelihood find this man there I was asked to relay a message. I then went outside in an extraordinarily beautiful winter's night, complete with biting cold, taking in the vistas until I saw fit to return to the warmth of the cottage. A bit too warm, actually – the gas heater had been rather effective, so we opened the window for a while to let some extraneous heat out before going to bed at around 21:45, both reading before turning off our respective lights.