I slept soundly until 6, and after a while I went out for the usual morning task. It was now overcast but the cloud base was high, so everything was visible, and some weak morning rays were getting through. I went back to bed with another blanket against the chill and slept with interruptions until 8, by which time the clouds had started to dissipate and the sun was growing in power.
The room quickly got warm from breakfast-making, and just as I had started eating I looked out the window and saw three reindeer swimming over the outflow right above the fall. This gave me pause, for I had recently read a story, complete with photos, of another such event in this very place, only that time most of the herd that had attempted the crossing had been sucked into the roaring canyon, where at least half had perished. I therefore burst out the door, and found a smaller group of reindeer waiting their turn, but when they saw me they fled in the other direction; usually scaring reindeer like that is a bad thing to do, but I think that in this particular case I may be excused. The three that were in the water also made it to the other side – barely – so no casualties this time around. After finishing my breakfast I lightened the rucksack for a day tour – it would be a crime not to take advantage of such a beautiful day – and then left around 09:30 wearing only light clothing.
I walked a couple of hundred meters on the trail and then continued straight up Stáddátjåhkkå – now I was determined to get that view, sans thunder. At first the ground was wet, but after a bit it turned to nice grass, which then grew bumpy. It was getting warmer, and the sun came out in full for a while before being clouded again, which just felt good under the circumstances. I was aiming for a snowfield that I thought could facilitate progress, but since there were reindeer upon it I elected to take a side route instead, climbing over some rocks and the like. Then I got a taste of the peaks ahead and to the west, but not wanting to spoil the sudden rise effect I turned in such a way that I would come up to the summit from the northeast.
This involved crossing a peculiar stretch of broken stones, and then a snowfield which had obviously served as a public convenience for the local reindeer. I climbed the last bit up to the top, where the desired effect was achieved about an hour after I had started. I walked around photographing everything; Stáddátjåhkkå may be neither very high nor impressive in itself, but a fine observation point it is. Off to the northeast (i.e. over Sarek) there were clouds hanging around the peaks, but up where I was the sun was shining again, and everything was just glorious. I surveyed the region below and to the south with my binoculars but found nothing, which was just the way I liked it. I stayed on the top for a good while, walking around to get all the angles, feeling very happy that this, which had been an important goal of the tour, had been realized in such a great way.
Panorama over the majestic Sulidälbmá massif with its glaciers, Kokedaltinden, Sårjåstjåhkkå, Blåmannsisen and Sårjåsjávrre
There were high clouds behind the massif but they did not hold a threat – yet – so I decided to go on down the other side. The ground was somewhat uneven at first but still easy to tread, and about halfway down it changed into grass of the most pleasant kind. Had it not been for the lack of water any place there would have been the best campsite ever – ahead of me the absolutely calm surface of Stádák reflected Sulidälbmá with perfect sharpness, giving it a rich blue-green tint.
I stopped at a rock marked by orange lichens just beside a small brook some distance up the slope from the lake after 11:15, and in the immediate vicinity was a great patch to pitch a tent had I had one. The sun was about to be swallowed by the high cloud front, but as such things often go there were lots of holes in the vanguard, so it was a warm lunch. After eating I sat, lay or something in between and just felt goooood, noting that not far from my position there was a very nice beach for bathing. There was to be none of that this time, however, but I marked the spot for future reference.
When I at length started back I walked up parallel to the stream from the tarn higher up, going over soft grass riddled with a good many flowers still, and now there was a bit of wind. Higher up it got bumpier again, and as I turned right it got stony and remained so until I had passed a low rise. Behind my back it was growing dark behind the massif, and the Norwegian Stortoppen disappeared into cloud. I passed a group of reindeer I thought I had encountered before, since one of the animals had telltale face markings. After crossing what was obviously the dry beginning of a stream I got grass under my feet again, but soon there was more bumpiness and the like.
As the clouds covered more and more of the sky I proceeded diagonally down the northern slope of Stáddátjåhkkå, until I suddenly ran into a marking cairn and realized I had hit the trail. As I already knew, however, there were wet areas that required circumvention, so I walked as much off the path as on it. Ever since catching sight of the cabin I had thought that there was something "off" about it, and now that I was close enough to make out some detail I saw what it was: outside there were two dark shapes I identified as rucksacks, so there were new arrivals. As I covered the last bit past the beach the owners of said sacks appeared from behind the privy (one carrying a fishing rod), and I greeted them at 13:45.
They turned out to be cousins – one Swedish and one Norwegian – who had parked their car at Ny-Sulitjelma, and they were only taking a break. They too had suffered from the heavy rain the day before, having initially planned to camp at the bridge over Stáddájåhkå, but ended up seeking refuge in the Staddajåkkå cottages instead to dry up.
As they were leaving a few drops started falling, and at the western end of the valley a mist was forming. After I had had a quick wash and changed clothes the drops turned into a drizzle, and I brought all my stuff inside. I then discovered that the bag containing the clothes I was to use in Kutjaure had slipped open, which meant that said yesterrain had doused them well, so I hung them up as well. It was now truly raining, and Sårjåstjåhkkå was in the process of being hidden, so I thought it a good time to have afternoon tea and some dried reindeer meat.
There was still sunlight in over Badjelánnda, but as the rainfall increased this too eventually faded. Having the eyes of a warden I went through the cupboards to see what utensils there were, and then moved some stuff between the rooms to make a better allotment, so to speak. Having completed this self-appointed task I looked through the guestbook, recognizing a name or two, and then I saw two people coming along the shore from the west. These were two Swedes who had originally planned on continuing for a bit longer before making camp, but as it was they went into the other room to get a break from the incessant rain.
When they had settled down properly I entered into a conversation with them; they were just embarking upon a 15-day journey through Sarek, so they hoped for better weather later on. It was now raining profusely, and visibility was bad, so crosswords seemed like a good idea. After a while two more Swedes came from the east, and just thereafter two Norwegians arrived from the west. The Swedes came into my room, and I took down the driest clothes to make space for their much more wet things, while the Norwegians befriended the other two. When my new roommates had stopped bustling about I prepared dinner, which was much improved by some condiments I had brought.
While I was eating we all heard the sound of an approaching helicopter, and suddenly I knew what was afoot – I had seen on a note on the wall that Tobbe the STF caretaker had been here about this time last year doing maintenance, and I had played with the thought that perhaps he was to arrive during my stay. Sure enough, when the flying machine had touched down Tobbe jumped out, with both some supplies and a kid. I met them at the door, and when he learnt that the place was filled to capacity already he took the kid out to the little outhouse instead. I finished my meal and then went out to check it out – half the building had been locked before – and found a small storage space that was about to be turned into temporary residence.
After speaking some with Tobbe I returned inside and continued with the crossword, and then relaxed and spoke with the ones in the other room; the Norwegians were doing Norge på langs, which is a semi-popular outdoor tour that involves covering the length of Norway, with or without making a guest appearance or two in Sweden (usually with). I went on to speak for some time with the two Swedes in my room, and then took to reading. The rain had now shrunk back considerably, even though it was still continuous, so we all hoped that it would peter out entirely during the night. I had my snack while the others prepared to sleep, and then I myself went to bed at 22.