I awoke sometime during the night feeling exceptionally hot, and immediately kicked off all covers. I then slept until the early morning, when temperatures had dropped to more comfortable levels, and it was not too long before one of the others started stirring. Myself I stayed in bed for some time yet, as I was in no hurry, so the rest also had time to get up before I did (which was at 07:30).
Outside the wind was unchanged, but now clouds covered most of the sky, even though they were light and high, and a weak sun was just appearing above the hills; the crust was frozen at places, but not on the footpaths. Inside nearly all water was spent, and an operation was soon underway to retrieve more, but I managed to get my hands on the few deciliters I needed for my breakfast first. Even though there were quite a few groups who were to utilize the kitchen, kitchenware and tables, things went by smoothly since not everyone was at it at once – and I was saved from another saucepan scrubbing...
As the morning went by one batch of clouds after another took turns harassing Stora Härjångsstöten, but no drastic change was in evidence – and the sun was still giving some light. I packed my stuff and went to get the ski boots – while the soles were acceptably dry, the boots themselves were still noticeably moist, but there was naught to do about it. I caught Katarina for a quick probe about my intended route, and hearing nothing to deter me I set off at 09:15.
I went down to the Vålådalen trail, which I followed until I reached the first bare patch, at which point I broke off going slightly up the western slope. This slight elevation I maintained from there on, since the quality of the trail itself was not that good anymore; from time to time my skis sank somewhat, but for the most part things were good. Off to the northeast the clouds were rather dark and ominous, but above to the northwest there was a lot of blue to be seen, and behind me a light played on Lunndörrsfjällen.
After a while I came onto a snowmobile track going above the trail markers, but I shortly left it and started gaining height. As I did so the snow got better and better, and it was an easy matter reaching the little pass I had taken on my visit to Stensdalstjärnarna during my summertime wardenship. This was where I was headed now as well – the marked trail between Vålåvalen and Stensdalen is prone to poor snow conditions even in the height of winter, and in any event I felt that just like the day before, the "easy route" would be much too short.
Panorama over Trondfjällen, Nörder-Storådörrfjället, Synder-Storådörrfjället, Gråsjöfjället and Gråsjödörren
In the saddle I first had to wind my way between rocks and bare ground, but after that I could go forward mostly unhindered, at first keeping my altitude for the most part. The sun was glinting upon Lill-Stensdalsfjället, but it did not take very long for it to disappear behind a large cloud. I started cutting slightly downwards across the slope, later turning more straight down to the bottom of Låtedalen, where there were portions of weak snow, but going up the other side was good.
I turned west, following close by the stream that comes from Stensdalstjärnarna (and later becomes Tvärån/Hilrehkenjohke), and here the wind suddenly vanished, which made my working temperature increase noticeably. The sun was also about to come out from behind the cloud, but there was still a veil shielding the land from the full force of its rays. The wind returned as I approached the eastern tarn close to the outflow of the stream, and then I went diagonally up the northern slope from where I had views of Västra Bunnerstöten, Östra Bunnerstöten and Kyrkstensfjället, as well as Tjallingklumpen and Gåsen (and even a glimpse of Sylarna).
Up on the flat section the snow was not very good, and I both sank often as well as needed to navigate around uncovered areas. I proceeded to a rock of promising shape and orientation, but once there I saw another one that looked better further off, so I skied over there instead. I reached this around 11:45 and found it adequate for my purposes (which were such as relate to lunch), and it also had the advantage of offering a better view, being closer to the start of the downhill slope.
I sat down with my back to a low protruding part, which provided acceptable shelter. It was fairly warm and there was a bit of sunlight upon the peaks before my eyes, but Sylarna were growing fainter. After eating I relaxed for a while, but soon the sun disappeared completely again, and Gåsen was hidden in a haze – and when the first drops of rain started falling I decided that it was time to get moving.
As I set off nortwards Gåsen reappeared, but the drops remained. After rounding another bare region the slope took by, and even though the snow was fairly good for turning etc. it also offered a lot of resistance, so my speed was far from great. I therefore proceeded eastwards to a steeper part, and while I did so the light grew and the rain stopped. Down on the trail I could see a group of six, who stopped some distance ahead. Having reached a promising stretch I started off downwards again, and here I got some more or less gracious telemark out of it all.
Down in Lill-Stensdalen I skied onto the trail, soon passing the group by. The snow was very soft, and the tracks deep; there were also upward skating tracks, which I imagine had not been created without some effort. The group was right at my heels, and we exchanged the lead several times due to pauses and suchlike. There were a number of places were the underlying heath was showing, and most of the time it was easiest to simply go over them. In among the trees some more drops fell, but nothing more came of it, and I was actually surprised how much snow still remained, so progress was unproblematic. Down there it was still and therefore also warm, but it did not take too long before we caught sight of the cottages. Stensån was still very much passable without the bridge, but between the buildings there was not much snow left, so I took a roundabout way up to the larger guest cottage, where I stopped just before 13:45.
Sven, the warden, was just exiting, and upon hearing my first name he correctly guessed my identity. Celebrity, eh? We spoke for a bit outside before I went in, this time getting only two roommates. Once again I put the ski boots into the drying room, which was much warmer than the one in Vålåvalen. I then went to the store and purchased another dinner, after which I changed clothes and lay down on the bed and rested. A bit later another fellow came into the room, with the intent of staying the night, but he quickly exited again to go for an afternoon tour. I talked with the other two who did not, and then went to have afternoon tea, being joined by Sven for some cottage related conversation. Another rainfall was starting, and it soon grew in intensity.
The sauna was to be accessible by 16:30, so when that time came I went down, wearing a pair of borrowed clogs so as not to get the ski boots any wetter – and I very nearly succeeded in reaching the other building (which is some way off) without sinking into the mush. The group I had arrived "together" with was still there, and it was not too hot; soon my roommates came in, and after the group left I took the opportunity to put some more logs on the fire. Another couple joined us later, and I counted two visits to the hole in the ice, in a continuing light rain. Going back up to the cottage for some reason seemed easier, and I managed to stay above the surface all the time. I immediately started preparing dinner, utilizing a bag of left-behind macaroni, and then sat down to eat with the latest issue of Turist.
While I was occupied with these activities the rainfall increased many times over, soon reaching – and maintaining – pouring levels otherwise belonging to summer. I continued to read while caring for the fire in the stove, which is the main source of the drying room's heat, which I obviously wanted to maintain. I was starting to feel drowsy, so after finishing the magazine I went to my room to rest. When Sven came in a bit later I got up again and after some quick games of solitaire he joined me and some others in the kitchen, where we talked the evening away. Towards the end I prepared my usual snack, and then everyone else drifted off to bed. The rain was back to a light drizzle, and there was no wind anymore, so there was hope for a better tomorrow. I fiddled some with the fire and the drying room – some old newpapers I had found did wonders for the ski boots – and then went to bed at 22:15.