The last morning in Sĺmmarlappa was chilly and overcast, but also lacking in wind and rain. After breakfast I finished up everything inside which did not involve actual cleaning, and then prepared the various garbage categories for transport, which also included the removal of the cold ashes from the incinerator; the ashes from the stove and heaters is dumped on site, being organic, but the remains of trash-burning contain some nasty things and need to be shipped off for processing. Having finalized this procedure I started cleaning the warden's room meticulously, and before I moved on to the common room for the last part I wrote a letter to the winter explaining a few things.
When I was fiddling with something outside a guy whom I presumed was the Belgian I had been told about yesterday arrived, but he was well aware that the closing date has already passed and only wanted to have a short break outside. Being all set to go I called the police on the assistance phone to proclaim that I was now leaving Sĺmmarlappa unattended and shut, save for the little room where I was standing – and the woodshed and privy, of course.
I left before 11:30, walking briskly in light clothing; the weather was still cloudy and not too warm, which made for excellent hiking conditions. Something else which was positive was the autumn-colored undergrowth, which showed a higher variation of shades than did the trees, and there was a sharp but pleasant scent in the air. The passage through the rock field close to Darrhaädno was very muddy but other than that the path was in great condition, making progress require very little in the way of effort – and the lighter load on my back this time around surely also helped. While still covering all the sky the clouds had lifted somewhat and continued to do so very slowly, and there was as of yet no wind whatsoever; the sound of my steps and the creaks of my rucksack straps almost seemed like an intrusion upon the serenity of the scene.
When I reached the start of the open heath-type land the illusion of singularity broke, for there I found the "Belgian" who had stopped for another break at a tiny brook. Some time later as I was passing a mere I spotted two rucksacks by the side of the trail, and then I heard the voices of what was obviously their owners down by the water itself. The remainder of the distance to Tarrekaise also went very well, and I noted that at Bádurgĺrssĺ there was not even a trace of water anymore. At no time while I was walking I felt the need to stop for lunch, so I pressed on to Tarrekaise where I stopped for that purpose after 13:45.
Mĺskásjgájsse showing a clear resemblance to Čeakčačohkka
There I found the by now well-known German pair together with another two countrymen of theirs. The former left as I sat down to eat, but the other two were still to have their meal, which they did inside the open compartment of the main cottage. Since things had been going so well thus far I did not perceive that I was in some kind of hurry, and while I sat on the porch relaxing Stájggá momentarily emerged from the clouds to the west. Some weak sunlight was also finding its way down to the ground, and the temperature was going for the 10°C line. Feeling refreshed and eager to get moving again I left the other Germans behind and set out for Njunjes after 14:30.
Going was easy also during the next stage, including the rock portion which felt less encumbering now – I maintain that this passage is nothing to worry about, and there are extensive meadows and other easily crossed open areas around it. As I was approaching the slope up onto the Njunjesvárre outrunner I saw that it was raining south of the valley, and just at the base of said slope the two Germans were resting at the edge of a mire. During the ascent I felt the first droplets touch me, and at the crest they had conglomerated into a light drizzle. The bulk of the rain was passing up the valley, obscuring Gurávágge and Stájggá but more was waiting in the southeast, and when I started the descent it hit me.
I was now pretty close to the Njunjes cottage, but the intermediate terrain was such that it would still take some time to cover the distance. Rather than digging out the rain clothes, however, I stood under a sizeable birch hoping that it would be a quick shower. During this wait the Germans passed me by, and ultimately I gave in halfway and at least put the rain cover on the rucksack and the wind jacket on my upper body. I proceeded as quickly as I dared on the treacherous ground, and after a while the rain diminished.
It was after 16:15 when I reached the cottage, and while the Germans entered the privy to find some shelter I tried the door of the main cottage – it was locked, so obviously Ulla had already left the building. At first I checked out the auxiliary room, but then I went to unlock the door with my own cottage key (one size fits all), and the door to one of the two rooms inside had no padlock on it, so I moved in there to keep out of the way for any out-of-season guests in need of the year-round space. The rain had now stopped and it started to clear; there was a distinct promise of a fair evening in the air.
Soon the "Belgian" arrived and upon seeing me move in and out of the supposedly closed cottage he asked if the auxiliary room was where he was supposed to go – and the only conclusion I could come to was a "yes", since my being there was just a coincidence and I had neither the authority nor the equipment to conduct any transaction as a warden. I also had to consider that I would have to be sure that everything which should be shut indeed would be shut upon my departure, and to prevent even more awkward situations I kept the door bolted at all times.
During the tourist season there is a long hose that conveys water by way of gravity from a brook up the slope beside the trail to a spot near the cottage, but since that was not "operational" now I had to go down to a little cove in Darrhaädno which is frequently used for bathing to acquire some; this was not an entirely safe procedure as the flat rocks there just as well could have been cast from ice for all the friction they provided. I then called Kvikkjokk fjeld station to reserve a bed (and dinner) for the next night – one can just barely get a signal at the cottage – and relaxed before turning the LPG system back on to prepare dinner.
The sky had done away with most of its previous cloud components and I went out to have a good look around while the Belgian (I'm going to call him that now) chopped firewood for use in his heater. While it was very fair outside it was not very warm, and this of course also had an effect on the inside – I actually cut some firewood of my own, but I never ended up using it; instead I put on more clothes. Around that time I noticed that another single wanderer had appeared, and after yanking the handle a few times (but not knocking or trying to get my attention) he settled on joining the Belgian.
As anticipated the evening was beautiful indeed with only a very light wind blowing, and spending as much time outside as possible was naturally an absolute necessity. Just then my second batch of camera batteries ran out, and upon inserting the third I discovered that something had gone wrong during the charging process for they were practically empty, but fortunately (or, rather, due to foresight) I had also brought a fourth set which did the trick. I lay in the bed I had claimed reading in my book for a while, feeling warm and fuzzy, and then I followed procedure by consuming a late snack.
Around 21:45 I thought I heard some unnatural sounds outside, and sure enough there was a new arrival who walked in the dark without artificial lights. He also pulled at the door and also accepted the situation with no further ado (or any kind of communication attempt), but I don't know if he went to the others or if he perhaps had a tent. As for me I snuck out one last time to let the silent splendor of the star-strewn firmament descend upon me before I entered the bed anew to read and then sleep.