Sure enough, after sleeping in somewhat I arose to look upon a persitent layer of cloud that was just touching the peaks; there was some wind but not very cold due to the reduced dissipation of heat from the Earth effected by the ceiling. Kurt and his companions left before 09:30, but the guide was still in bed. As the last round of window washing had left quite a few marks on the panes due to the necessity of scrubbing – the promises on the bottle of washing liquid notwithstanding – I started another round, the results of which were much better now that the worst dirt was already gone. Both me and the other fellow – who because of a surplus of days before his booked return journey had elected to stay for another day – spent the rest of the forenoon reading.
After lunch two Swedes and two Germans arrived, and while the former immediately went inside the latter wanted to deliberate a bit. They eventually came to the conclusion that they wanted to shop and prepare their own food outside, and then go on. There was a bit of sunlight upon Skájdásjtjåhkkå and a short glimpse of blue sky, but once the Germans had left it started to rain. It had also grown a bit cold inside, so I ignited the gas heater in my room and read until dinner.
It was now about to clear again, but it did not take long before the rain returned in a fitful manner. This turned into a hard, steady rainfall by the time all three guests had gone to bed, and just as I was about to do the same I saw that the alert light mounted on the assistance phone's antenna was flashing, so I ran out to the auxiliary room to answer the call. Luckily there was no emergency behind it; the police were simply relaying a query from the Vaimok warden about how long the ferry would remain operational (viz, still in the water), and I replied that I would try to get it out of the river as soon as possible since it requires several people doing it, and I knew that it was quite possible that no one would come this way during the final days. Having sorted this out I could go to bed at 22.
The clouds were still present in the early morning, but it soon started to lift to the west, coupled with showers. When all the guests were arisen I requested their help with the boat, and just before 09:30 when the couple was ready to leave we went out to make an attempt. It was actually easier than expected and before long the oblong object lay on land. I then talked with the guide in an on-and-off drizzle until he finally departed after 10, after which I busied myself with various actions of cleaning and preparations for the approaching close. The clouds were now disintegrating somewhat, letting a weak sun shine through for a while, but off to the west more rain was drawing near and the wind came in strong gales.
By lunchtime it cleared for real and then there was more rain and gales, but later it seemed to stabilize so I went out on a photo tour, lauding the nice colors that had started to appear. The pleasant weather did not last for long, however, and I spent most of the afternoon inside while conditions varied wildly outside my window. At 16 a German guy came from Tuottar, and he turned out to be the only guest for the night. The weather was now more inclined towards continuous rain, and on the heights snow accumulated. No real change occurred during the evening either, which both me and my visitor spent with tranquil pursuits.
The early night was windy but once morning came it was pretty calm, even though everything else about the weather seemed about the same as the day before. The German left at 9 upon which I did some cleaning, and then the sun actually fought off the persistent clouds – I obviously had no choice but to go out for a walk!
I started off by going to the Såmmarlappa hut in rising temperatures; it was becoming a very fine autumn day complete with the proper smells and hues. I then paid another visit to both Holmbom's spring and the potential pasture meadow, where either humans or reindeer had trampled the grass. For a while it had seemed as though a veil might swallow the sun, but now it was instead growing more fair, and I savored every bit of it. I covered the distance back in one go, and once at the cottage I carried the empty (but still heavy) LPG container that had been leaning against the wall to the storage building – I had not needed to change any of the two containers that were currently connected, and the active one showed no signs of reaching depletion. A temporary setback in the weather department had been done away with, so I made a food pack and went to the headland to have an open-air lunch at noon.
Water levels were now so low that I could get onto the gravel bank without taking off my boots, and I sat for some time at its southern tip looking down Tarradalen. When a large cloud slid before the sun I returned to the headland where I sat down to eat with my feet dangling over the brink. I had also brought a towel and a change of clothes, and now I only waited for the sun to reappear so that I could perform a quick cleansing without freezing to death upon getting up. At last this came to pass, and I had just enough time to finish before another cloud took over the function of the old one. It also started to rain in very light and very short intervals, so I saw fit to return to the cottage at 13:45.
I continued working my way through the yearbooks, turning on the gas heater and having a small snack before two people appeared, but they went on towards Tarrekaise without pausing. A quarter of an hour later another two followed, and they chose to stay; they had been the last visitors in Tarraluoppal, the warden of which would be leaving on the morrow. Around dinner time it cleared once more and it was really beautiful, even though some clouds were still covering the peak of Måskásjgájsse. I went on reading inside while the other two (who were of course Germans) defied the cold and sat outside on the bench.
When they had returned indoors I myself went out to photograph in the special light – with all semblance of cloud gone the pure white crown of Måskásjgájsse was almost fluorescent. It was, however, only one degree above freezing, so I soon went inside again, where I found myself in a conversation about cameras and photography as well as fjelds in general and Sarek in particular for quite some time; upon request I also gave them the address to this site, so perhaps they are reading and recognizing these very words. I had a late evening snack and spoke some more with the others, and outside a frost layer was starting to form under the starry host.
The next morning was a cloudy one but there was neither rain nor wind – and no frost remained either. I made a somewhat later exit from bed than usual, but the Germans had me beat in that regard by almost two hours. I went over the inventory lists and looked through the info folders, removing obsolete stuff, and then I moved outside and continued with advance closing procedures, among which was a thorough sweep of the woodshed floor. Around 11:30 the Germans were ready to leave, and I stood outside talking with them for a while, marvelling at the size of their packs – they had started with a flabbergasting 41 kg, and were now very happy to be carrying "only" 32...
I then began going through the provision stock in the warden's room, sorting out products which were either already too old or were in danger of becoming too old soon; I thought the present total amount was way too high to leave behind as-was. I made a pause for lunch and then continued with the task at hand, and outside the sky was getting bluer all the time along the valley. When I was finished I set about doing the final cleaning of the 8-bed room, since it was rather unlikely that any large groups would be arriving before the end, and then I fell upon the auxiliary room as well. While I was doing the latter a sudden shower sprang into existence, turning into a veritable downpour through which the sun shone, and I stood on the porch beholding the spectacle until a cloud ended the light show.
I was then rather surprised to see a man coming on the trail from the south – since the five Swedes a week ago everyone who had passed had been walking out of the Park, not into it. This man had started in Saltoluokta and rounded Sarek (he initially had plans to go through, but reports of snow had changed his mind), and he was now thinking about passing into Norway via Stáloluokta and Sårjåsjaure. He had also been craving Coca-Cola for some time, and it just so happened that I had a single can left in the shop, so I was glad to get rid of it (the various Germans had already consumed all the beer).
I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening reading, listening to another sports event on the radio, and speaking with the man, and when he retired to his room I kept feeding the stove fire he had started in the common room to maintain the inside temperature. Later on there was a football game on the radio which I listened to with a bowl of popcorn as one should, while outside more clouds were rolling in.
Another morning without meteorological change came, but at least Vuoksákvahta was visible. Since this was the last day of the "opening hours" I removed the sheets from my bed, meaning to use my silk travel sheet for the last night; I also decided to scrap one of the sheets which was rather worn, thereby saving both a bit of space and weight.
At 08:45 the last guest left, having decided to go for the Norwegian option, and now the western sky was clearing. I removed the ashes from the stove and heaters and then loaded the burnable trash into the incinerator for the second and last time. I performed the final actions in the auxiliary room – such as putting up the out-of-season information sign – and then I started packing up and stowing away loose objects, a process which ran smoothly up until lunch, during which I also finished the last SFK yearbook.
The afternoon saw more of the same, and I was now reaching the end of the checklist. As I was sweeping the floors carefully the two Germans who had passed by earlier came back, but they would not be staying. The recent snowfalls had made them reconsider their Sarek plans, and an alternative route towards Norway had not seemed preferable to them either – I had been getting reports for some time about decimeter-deep snow layers around Tuottar and the higher portions of the trail inside the Park – so now they were returning the same way they had come instead. By then it was sunny and warm but also a bit windy, and the autumnal colors together with the snowy peaks made for a sight very pleasing to the eye. After they had left I had a snack of sorts and then scrubbed the floors of the smaller guest rooms, while the sun was gradually veiled.
At 19:00 I was once again surprised to spot movement among the trees to the north, and soon a lone Swede materialized. I talked with him for a bit on the porch – he had enjoyed the company of a Belgian for several days, but apart from that he had not seen a single soul so he said that there was "no chance that anyone comes here tonight", which suited me pretty well since I would have less to do the following morning.
I then did the final inventory of the stock in the shop in a calm and nice but quickly cooling evening and I also removed some other things which should not remain in place during the winter. When I was done I had the last of the chocolate pudding and then I started the comprehensive task of doing the economic report. As expected it took a fair while completing, but in the end it checked out fully. By that time it was all dark and the stars were out, and I lay down for the last night in Såmmarlappa without the support of heaters.