After another night of interruptions, the morning came with more rain and wind. It was more of the latter, though, but the cloud base remained low, forming a constant threat delivered upon sporadically. Visibility was moderately good at first, but deteriorated as the morning progressed. I got up at 06:45 and entered the shelter to make breakfast (as agreed upon the evening before, I should add). The Germans still had not decided where to proceed, and didn't intend to do so either until later in the day; they were to head west for a bit in either case. After breakfast, I took down the tent – and of course this coincided with one of the irregular rain bursts...
I set out at 09:30, and at first was assaulted by both rain and wind, but the rain was light and the wind blew from the right direction, so the rucksack took most of the beating. A greater hassle was that the bush vegetation through which the trail passed had grown into and over the passage at many places, and since everything was saturated I quickly ended up with wet legs. However, upon exiting that region, the rain had stopped and the clouds started to part and dissolve, albeit slowly (and my clothes were of such make that they dry very quickly when given the chance).
Before long, I reached Kungsleden, where there again were a fair number of people about. From that point on, the weather only got better; the sun put in longer and longer visits and the temperature rose steadily. While passing close to the northern lakes, the trail went through more bush regions, but here they were traversed via duckboards. There I also came across the first mosquitos on the journey, but they were on the other hand very numerous. My repellant handled them without trouble, though.
My older map showed nothing of interest before the Alesjaure cottages, which were the goal of the day, but I had seen on the Germans' newer map that there was supposed to be a newly built shelter beside Rádujávri. Sure enough, as soon as I had a clear view across the land (which was rather early on), I could see some small buildings at the designated spot. That, then, was to be the site of my lunch break. When I arrived at the shelter, named Rádunjárga, at 12:30, I discovered that it was of a different model than the usual ones (such as Pieggaluoppal): larger and containing no bunks, only benches. I paused for about half an hour.
The shelter was situated by the winter trail, which at that point ran a few hundred meters to the side of the summer trail. After lunch, I followed the winter trail through a couple of mires (high-shafted boots are handy), picking up a slender bough that lay about to use as a walking stick. I had also entertained a wish of crossing to the other side of the lakes, since I knew that there was supposed to be a cave behind the waterfall in the brook from Njuikkostakvággi, about 4 km north of the Alesjaure cottages.
To get there, however, I would have to ford the narrow connection between Rádujávri and Alisjávri, which would require my putting on the sandals and actually getting wet (so far, the boots had managed all water crossings) and I simply did not feel like doing that, even though the weather was certainly no inhibiting factor. And, secondly, once I got close enough to see the waterfall clearly, it was also clear that actually reaching the presumed location of the cave would be a somewhat arduous task, which I similarly did not feel like doing. So, all in all, I contented myself with taking a good look at the fall from a distance and staying on the western trail. Another time, eh?
All the way from, well, the shelter I would say, the cottages were in full view, which meant at least 8 km of seeing the target not get much closer; the approach felt very slow. Such a thing can be psychologically straining, and consequently there also existed the possibility of crossing the entire 7 km length of Alisjávri itself by boat. But that's a bit of a cheat, and I elected to walk.
I arrived at the cottages at 15:30 and spent a good deal of time just strolling around the grounds and absorbing the vistas. The afternoon continued to be beautiful (15°C) but windy, which came in handy for drying purposes. There were quite a few people present, as well as a work crew repainting one of the buildings. I must also comment upon the privy: while such places are seldom odorless, this one was the worst I've ever experienced; it was at the very edge of what is bearable...
Alesjaure is one of the largest facilities along Kungsleden (and of STF in general, regarding such cottages), offering 86 beds in four buildings, plus a main building with a small shop and common areas. It is also one of the sites that has a wood-powered sauna, and after two nights in a tent, it was my full intention to make use of that. I was told by the warden that the sauna would be ready to admit guests at 17:00, so after a quick internal debate I decided to postpone dinner until after the bath and instead just have a sandwich.
Come the given time, I packed a little bag and headed down to the sauna hut. As always, having a sauna – old style – in the middle of nowhere, with more or less breathtaking views all around, is delightful and also provides an opportunity to actually clean oneself. Traditionally, one pretty much has to run out and immerse oneself in the chilling stream (or mere, depending on location), which I did. That wasn't entirely uncomplicated, however, since the actual water was reached by a rather long and steep stairway, and then the bed consisted of large, slightly sharp stones – but fortune favors the bold! Feeling refreshed and clean, I returned to my room (which by then had acquired two more occupants) to begin making dinner plans.
While planning the trip, I had read that Alesjaure was supposed to include a "simple cafeteria" during summer. I wasn't exactly sure what that would imply, but in any event I decided not to bring food for one day – if they turned out not to have any actual "courses" (of some kind), I would simply purchase something in the shop and cook it myself. Well, the cafeteria turned out to consist of coffee, tea, chocolate and assorted biscuits, so personal food it was, then. However, I decided to dig into the tortellini pack (cutting off .25 kg from the food compartment), deferring the buying of goods until day 6. I did buy a pasta sauce mix and a soda, though, and proceeded to have dinner at 19:15. By that time, a guided STF group of ten or so persons had arrived, this being their second day out of Abisko, headed on south along Kungsleden.
After food consumption, I went to the common room in the main building, where they had a small library of widely varied books and magazines, so I read for a bit. I was surprised to find that that room was full of mosquitos – no other space was, including the outside – but it made for some evening exercise... Clouds had started to creep into the narrower valleys, but the evening was otherwise fair. Still feeling satisfied sustenance-wise, I passed over the evening snack and went to bed at 22:15.