Tours › 2006 › Vindelfjällen › Day 8

Monday 18/9

Stage map 8

Måskoesjaevrie – Hemavan

Horizontal distance:16 km
Vertical distance:-260 m, +100 m, -380 m
Time:4 h 45 min
Lunch break: 45 min
Dinner:Suovas with squeezed potatoes + chocolate cake with raspberry sauce
Night accommodation:Hostel
Stage classification:Easy/Medium
Map point:Hemavan

During the night the underlying wind grew considerably stronger, ripping violently at the fabric, but then it was back to gales, albeit very strong ones. Ample fluid intake the preceding day gave rise to the need to go outside sometime before 5, and even in the feeble pre-dawn light I could determine that the only change in the weather was that the wind had turned almost 180°. The tent was as firmly secured as a stone wall – of course – so I just returned inside, staying in bed until 7.

The situation then was much the same as the afternoon before, with thick clouds drifting in from the west, only that this time the sky above those clouds seemed even more clear. Turning my gaze down the valley, I probably let out a muffled sound of delighted surprise when I saw the light show the morning sun put on down in Syterskalet; the photographs below do not at all do the colors and mood justice. The strong gales remained, however, so I had breakfast inside the tent, and then started packing. I also climbed a hill close by to get a better signal for my phone – it could just barely register the network down in the tent – and attempted to make a reservation at the STF hostel in Hemavan, which succeeded after three tries. There were a bit more clouds but also a few glimpses here and there as I struck the tent, which was not entirely easy in the wind, and at 09:15 I was all set to go.

Norra Storfjället 15
A warm morning light in Syterskalet...
Skraahpetjåhke 1
...and on the clouds hovering on Skraahpetjåhke
Norra Storfjället 16
More light down in the valley...
Skraahpetjåhke 2
...and on Skraahpetjåhke too

I finally got to ford the stream with relative ease at the outflow from Måskoesjaevrie, with no unwelcome water entry this time. On the other side the ground was rather uneven at first, and the wind had shrunk back to almost nothing as well, making my attire feel a tad warm. I passed west of the reindeer enclosure situated south of the lake, and upon going over the crest and starting to descend I was greeted by the wind anew. The sheen in Syterskalet had grown stronger as the sun rose; the vapors in the air made it seem as though the light were a radiant substance being poured from heaven. Absolutely breathtaking, it was.

I maintained a high course angling around Dålkoetjåhke, and as I passed out of the valley proper the wind grew in strength. I cut across the slope in a general southwestward direction, passing a number of very easy fords, and when I spotted a lone, somewhat decayed cairn a bit down I aimed for it. There I found an old and much deteriorated path, which I could follow for a while, but then I felt that I wanted to descend at a quicker rate than it did, so I broke off. I passed quite a few reindeer paths on my way down, eventually reaching the old trail close to V Syterbäcken at a bog directly opposite a somewhat major tributary brook.

Sun 11
A combination of...
Sun 12
...sun, cloud and mountain...
Sun 13
...producing this amazing light effect...
Sun 14
...which held out as I descended
Autumn 16
Almost lava-like ground
Skraahpetjåhke 3
Sun on Skraahpetjåhke
Dalkoetjåhke 2
The cliffs of Dålkoetjåhke above
Syterskalet 9
More incredible...
Syterskalet 10
...natural lighting conditions...
Syterskalet 11
...over and in Syterskalet...
Syterskalet 12
...while it gradually came into full view
Dalkoetjåhke 3
Dålkoetjåhke fully lit
Autumn 16
Colored "lumps" of ferns
Viterskalet 5
Leaving Viterskalet behind

This rejected trail was in pretty good condition at first, with most marking cairns intact and all, but when it started going over wetter ground and through bush vegetation it was obvious that it no longer was in frequent use. There were a good deal of tracks made by both reindeer and humans, however, so clearly I was not the only one who still utilized it. After a bit of struggling through the bushes in fairly warm and calm weather, I spotted the bridge over V Syterbäcken, which was where I had planned on stopping for lunch. From there on the osier copses got denser, and the "trail" dwindled almost into nothingness the closer I got, but just before the bridge it reappeared, clear as ever.

I passed another easy ford, and at 11:00 I found myself at the bridge – which was actually two bridges: a new one had been constructed directly on top of the old one. The newer structure was not finished, and construction material lay about, but it was complete enough that crossing would be unproblematic. During the approach the valley behind me had looked quite grey and dreary, but now it was clearing, and the sun gradually revealed itself. Judging that I had left the worst of the wind behind, I took off a layer of clothing and relaxed in the stillness.

Fjelds 1
Following V Syterbäcken down
Fjelds 2
Cloudy behind
Bridges 3
Bridges ahead
Bridges 4
Sunlit bridges
Fjelds 3
Clearing up the valley

When I got going again more clouds approaching from the west had just passed in front of the sun, but things looked better in the direction of Viterskalet. Going over the bridge was slightly disquieting, as its unfinished state did not see the protective railings mounted, but back on Kungsleden on the other side going was easy as always. As I proceeded along the trail in the continued warmth I began to see parts of the vale of Umeälven ahead, which was shrouded in a rather thick haze, so details only gradually emerged. Where the winter trail splits off from the summer trail I met an older couple carrying a light pack with some dry twigs, and a trio with a dog on a crest shortly thereafter. I now saw much more of the valley below, and when I reached the first of the ski lifts the sun returned.

From that point one can choose several routes down to Hemavan, but I stayed on Kungsleden, wanting to walk it to its end. As is usual so close to a tourist resort, the trail had the character of a multi-lane highway, making progress easy almost in excess. I met a pair of women between the lifts, and after a pleasant bit across an open landscape which imparted very nice views, I reached the edge of the woodland. The size and density of the forest grew as I made the final descent, feeling some tenderness in the soles of my feet on the hard-packed dirt track which made up the trail there, and at last I passed under the sign which marks the end – or start – of the 425-km Kungsleden.

Autumn 18
Autumn colors again
Fjelds 4
Last look back
Fjelds 5
First look into the vale of Umeälven
Fjelds 6
Hazy fjelds to the northwest
Fjelds 7
Northern fjelds...
Fjelds 8
...and more northwestern ones
Fjelds 9
Tängvattnet far away
Murtsertoppen 1
Dark clouds over Murtsertoppen
Hemavan 1
Hemavan coming into view below
Fjelds 10
Hazy south
Mohtserenjuenie 1
Mohtserenjuenie
Murtsertoppen 2
Murtsertoppen again
Panorama 11
Southeastern panorama over Mohtserenjuenie and Murtsertoppen
Autumn 19
Descending through forest
Fjelds 11
Light south
Sign 3
The end (or start) of Kungsleden

I had seen several maps of Hemavan where the location of the hostel was clearly indicated, so I had a good idea where to go. As it turned out I took a somewhat longer route than necessary, and I was glad to finally arrive at Hemavans Kursgård just before 14; the last bit on hard pavement felt draining. There weren't that many guests, so I got a small room to myself. After winding down I took a longed-for shower and then made afternoon tea, filling out some questionnaires while I was at it. Afterwards I went for a walk to the local shop to purchase a newspaper (there had just been a national election, for which I had voted in advance before I left home) and some candy. The sky had grown mostly overcast in the afternoon, but as I read the paper it started to clear again. I made use of the quiet time to rearrange my pack for transit the next day, and then I walked over to the adjacent Hemavans Wärdshus where I treated myself with a proper meal and dessert.

Golden Dome 1
The Golden Dome
Trolltunet 1
Rustic Trolltunet

The evening sky was mostly clear with some lighter clouds, and the air was fresh. I played some solitaire and solved crosswords in my room, feeling distinctly fatigued, and then I watched some news on TV. Outside a very light rain had started, and all but stopped again, and the post-dusk darkness added to my sense of weariness. I read a bit and had a light snack, and then went readily to bed before 21:45 to have a good night's sleep before the bus(es) would take me home around noon the following day.

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