Tours › 2005 › Vålådalen › Day 3

Sunday 27/3

Stage map 3

Gåsen – Vålåvalen

Horizontal distance:14.5 km
Vertical distance:+80 m, -300 m
Time:3 h 45 min
Lunch break:1 h 30 min
Dinner:Tortellini with carbonara
Night accommodation:Cottage
Stage classification:Easy
Map points:Gåsen, Härjångsdalen, Vålåvalen

Yet another beautiful morning – the weather showed no signs of deteriorating. My activities were a bit delayed compared to the previous day, both because I felt no hurry as the stage of the day would be an easy one, and because daylight saving time had started during the night (which the warden was kind enough to remind us of the evening before). By 10:15, I was on my way.

Helags 4
Sylarna 2
...and Sylarna in the morning

After climbing the low ridge just east of the cottages, I maintained my altitude and glided along the southern slope of Härjångsdalen instead of following the trail down to the bottom of the valley. Since that path involved lateral angling of the ankles, for obvious reasons, an ache in the side of my left ankle that I had felt the onset of before burst into full "bloom" – and the front of the right one had started protesting as well. It wasn't too bad, however, so I just went on, trying to shift my weight in the best manner.

I came back to the trail just before the shelter situated by the first of the larger tarns, where I came upon a small group having set out from Gåsen before I did. They used skis which require wax, and lamented that fact – due to the wildly shifting snow conditions, it was either "no go" or "no grip" for them. I, on the other hand, had no trouble whatsoever, regarding neither gliding nor gripping; the only drawback was that I generate quite a bit of noise when gliding downhill on crisp snow, but that was a light price under the circumstances.

Sylarna 3
Last view of Sylarna and the cottages, before...
Härjångsdalen 3
...entering Härjångsdalen
Cabin 1
Small cabin by the trail
Gåsen 2
Gåsen behind

Having passed the cabin in the picture above, a bit north of the trail, I continued at an angle, slowly climbing the northern slope of the valley. After a while, I started aiming for a patch of bare ground, where I intended to make camp for lunch. I found a stone perfectly directed, inclined, and flattened, and then sat down in the sun, precisely an hour after I started from Gåsen.

After eating and basking for a while, I left my stuff and climbed the rest of the slope "behind my back", which can be seen below. There were several crests above, but I stopped after the closest one, still a good bit above my camp. I then went down the hill, faking slalom turns – the skis and, more importantly, the ski boots aren't meant for that. Still, the snow was such that it went rather well, and upon reaching the stony patch I turned around, climbed up again, and made another run.

Camp 1
Lunch camp...
Sun 6 the sun
Fjelds 2
Gråsjödörren 1
Clouds in Gråsjödörren's valley

After savoring the splendid weather some more I set out again, going obliquely down the slope, and eventually coming to the trail again. The rest of the stage was mostly flat and easy, but also very warm, with the sun almost at zenith. I arrived at the Vålå cottages, as they are also called, just before 14. The wardens were not present, but they returned shortly; they had been on a short tour, sitting up on Gruvsmällen's southern slope. I had noticed some people there when I passed below it, and now I recognized their dog. This was also the last day for that warden couple; their replacement arrived soon after I did, and he spent the night as an ordinary guest.

Vålåvalen 1
Vålåvalen ahead
Gråsjödörren 2
Closer to Gråsjödörren
Gruvsmällen 1

When I had paid for a bed and done away with the rucksack, I set out on a small circuit of the immediate area. However, my ankles quickly made an agony of it; there were no visible bruises or other injuries, but whenever my movements made the ski boots apply pressure to certain areas on the feet, it hurt immensely. Through careful skiing and strong motivation, I still managed to travel a bit, clearing the sparse forest to get better views of Vålåvalen proper and Ottfjället in the distance.

Gråsjödörren 3
Gråsjödörren again...
Vålåvalen 2
...and Vålåvalen, with Lunndörrsfjällen in the background
Tracks 1
Lots of tracks in the snow
Smällhögarna 2
Ottfjället 1
Sun 7
A cairn on a rise

Upon returning, I prepared a cup of instant soup and went outside to sit down on a bench against the southern wall, reading for quite a while in the sun. An STF serviceman came with new gas tubes for the stoves and heaters, and there were a few more guests – among these a group of nine who had followed the same path I had, and consistently been housed by themselves in the older, smaller cottages, and Vålåvalen was no exception. Other than that, the only event worthy of note was that the wardens' dog came sniffing and nicked my little whisk; it had some half-dried soup on it, which apparently was interesting enough.

I had dinner, and spent the rest of the evening reading by candlelight in the common room. Due to the displaced hour, it took longer for night to settle, and I elected to turn in over staying up and watching the moon a third time. That was perhaps somewhat of a pity, since I later learnt from those who had been outside during the night that it had been rather a dramatic sight, with tattered clouds and stars. I got a good night's sleep instead.

Vålå cottages 1
Two shots of the newer cottage...
Vålå cottages 2 different exposure settings


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