Tours › 2005 › Vålådalen › Day 4

Monday 28/3

Stage map 4

Vålåvalen – Vålådalen

Horizontal distance:19 km
Vertical distance:-320 m
Time:4 h 45 min
Lunch break:1 h 30 min
Dinner:Fjeld burger
Night accommodation:
Stage classification:Easy
Map points:Vålåvalen, Vålådalen

All good things must come to the proverbial end, and consequently the morning of the last day was in stark contrast to the previous ones: low clouds, keen wind, and some snowfall. I had breakfast, and then set out before 10. I had also come up with a way of alleviating the ankle pains – I took the spare pair of thick socks, folded them a couple of times, and put them between the ski boots and the pressure points, which worked rather well.

It wasn't snowing when I left, but after a few kilometers it started hailing; it came from the back, however, and the granules involved were very small, so no worries. After another couple of kilometers that also stopped, and a bit of blue sky even showed itself. A cabin was marked on the map up among the trees just before Kroktjärnarna, so I broke off the trail and sought it out; it was of old make, but appeared to be in good shape. After that, there was nothing of interest until I reached the branch point where the trail to Stensdalen splits off, where I just barely noticed a white bird on the snow.

Smällhögarna 3
Low clouds in the morning
Kroktjärnarna 1
Approaching Kroktjärnarna
Cabin 2
An old cabin...
Cabin 2 again
...up in the woods
Fjelds 3
Looking back
Bird 1
Camouflaged bird

Then it was downhill for a while, into an actual forest (i.e. not the scanty fjeld variety). After a kilometer or two of mostly easy gliding, I came out on an open space where the trail splits into a ski part and a snowmobile part. I turned around there, going back a little ways parallel to where the trail came down through the forest, and dug out a small camp site halfway up a hill at the edge of the clearing. There I prepared and ingested lunch (freeze-dried) in various kinds of snowfall; nothing too intense to be troublesome, and neither the wind nor the temperature was of concern either.

Following the break, when the snow had all but stopped, I restarted the journey and turned onto the ski trail. Immediately after entering the forest again, it plunged down another series of slopes. There it was more winding and narrow than before, due to the absence of snowmobile traffic – and therefore also more fun. After a mildly adventurous portion and some level skiing, I came to the bridge over Stensån. The ice on the stream itself was breaking, an even though it probably would have been possible to get across that way, I chose the safe method of carrying the skis over the bridge (which was snowless).

Trail 2
Peculiar light in the afternoon

A bit further still, I reached the crossroads where we had turned northwest up the slope on day 1. Then there was "known land" for the rest of the distance, but even so I managed to unintentionally switch to the snowmobile trail where it crosses the ski trail. No matter, though, since they merge once again a bit before Vålådalen. There the effects of the warm weather were in full evidence; there was one brook crossing in particular that probably would be open after another couple of days. During the last portion, there was a constant drizzle, so everything was all wet on the outside (but not on the inside).

I arrived at the Vålådalen station at about 14:45, where I almost immediately went to the sauna. Having cleansed myself, I had some tea and a sandwich outside – no rain or snow – where I once again met the young couple from Stensdalen; they had made the exact same journey I had, but always a few hours behind me. A bit later, I also ran into a classmate of old, who was in Vålådalen to celebrate her dad's birthday, and we chatted for a while. Then I went up into one of the rustic common rooms in the main building and sat reading until I had worked up enough of a hunger to go to the restaurant, where I ordered a "fjeld burger"; it was quite good.

Vålådalen fjeld station 1
The dining room at Vålådalen...
Vålådalen fjeld station 2
...and a common room...
Vålådalen fjeld station 3
...and one of the picturesque auxiliary buildings

I left with the bus at 18:40 – I was the only passenger from Vålådalen, but we stopped in Trillevallen to pick up a group before continuing to the train station in Undersåker. There was a mixed group of foreigners (perhaps exchange students) there, so I spent the time eavesdropping on their varying degree of proficiency in English while waiting for the train. Shortly after 21 that evening, I was back in Östersund again.



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