We set out from Östersund by car in the morning, in overcast and gloomy weather. It wasn't until after Undersåker that it cleared, but then it really cleared; by the time we had arrived in Vålådalen proper, the sun was shining brilliantly and the clouds were dispersing. We had a little snack and then started preparing for departure; the others had to apply wax to their skis first, which is something which I didn't have to worry about since my skis have scales underneath instead. We were on our way just before noon.
The terrain was easy and the trail good, although I fared significantly better in the complex snow conditions; we stopped several times for rewaxing. It was quite warm, and the shadows of the forested portions were a blessing. After passing the midway signpost, we climbed the slope that more or less started there all the way to the crest, after which there was a short downhill incline before the trail started climbing again towards the cottages. We paused for lunch on that crest, just beside the trail, and still in blazing sunlight.
The remaining distance to the cottages was crossed without difficulty or significant trouble, and we arrived at our goal at 16:15. There were a good deal of people about, but the warden was not present – his wife was, though, and she informed us that he would be back shortly. We claimed preliminary beds inside, and since it was nearly full, I ended up in another room. Soon thereafter the warden showed up, approving the placement and collecting fees.
After a while of repose, we went down to the firewood-powered sauna. Usually guests are encouraged to cool off in Stensån, the stream that runs right by the building, but since there was so much snow and ice this year, the amount of open water and the hole that had been dug to it were only enough to admit a foot or two. It was a bit crowded inside, but fully manageable. At length, we went outside to sit on the small porch, together with a young couple who had arrived a bit earlier than we had. They said that when they got there, they met a group of skiers who were just leaving. A bit late to start a day's stage, it may seem, but they had in fact already come from Gåsen – and not only that, but they had set out from Vålåvalen in the morning. So, in effect, they would be doing three days' worth of skiing in one day, which we all agreed was overdoing things – when we're in the fjelds, we want to take the time to absorb as much as possible, not just haste along all the time.
After sauna, we had dinner and then played cards and did some reading. Later in the evening, with the loss of the sun, the outside world was bathed in moonlight. I went outside to look at it with no interfering light sources, and to try to capture it on "film". The effect of moonlit snow is rather magnificent, and not something to be missed. Following that, I had my evening snack, and then we all went to bed.