Tours › 2019 › Vindelfjällen › Day 1

Wednesday 24/7

Stage map 1

Tärnaby camping – Govretjåhke

Horizontal distance:15 km
Vertical distance:+380 m
Time:5 h
Lunch break: 45 min
Dinner:Rice satay
Night accommodation:Tent
Stage classification:Easy
Map point:Stabre

I arose at 07:45 to an overcast but light sky, and the peaks that had been visible the evening before were cut off. After a calm breakfast I packed up and cleaned, during which the clouds started to break apart a bit, and then went up to the reception to settle up. Being thus ready to leave I did so at 10:00, wearing the hiking trousers and no jacket since there was no virtually no wind.

After a short stretch along the car road I came to the start of Tärnaleden, which here is a wide, flat path going through the forest parallel to Umeälven. There were several furnished campsites along the trail, being geared towards fishers, and on one of these I passed a couple who were just making breakfast. Before long I reached the large suspension bridge across the river, on the other side of which were two more people. Said bridge moved a fair amount as I crossed it, landing close to a large beach at the eastern end of Stor-Laisan, and then I walked through an area of recreational buildings ranging from the very old and worn to the very new and shiny.

Trail 1
Forest trail
Bridge 1
Swaying bridge
Beach 1
The beach

I then came to another car road, across which the trail continued – the lady in the camping reception had said that this part of the trail was rather wet and that I should rather follow the road up to Solberg and return to the path from there, but it didn't look too bad and I wasn't really keen on more roads now that I had started, so I stuck with the trail. There were some wet areas, sure, but nothing to worry about, although the path itself (and the trail markers) had seen better days. The air was still and warm, and held a fair number of mosquitos, but at least the sun was still clouded, and the verdant undergrowth was riddled with orchids.

Trail 2
Overgrown path...
Orchid 1
...partially with orchids
Stor-Laisan 1
View of Stor-Laisan

I soon came to an area marked on both the map and on site as containing remnants of old hunting pits, used to catch elk and the like in the olden days, but as there wasn't much to see I moved on in short fashion. Now the ground was wetter again, but eventually I came up onto the much wider and more well-trodden Solberg trail. This was, however, also wet and muddy at the start, but as it moved higher it got drier, and the vegetation got lower and sparser. There was still no sun, and off to the northwest there was clearly a shower in progress. As I ascended onto the bare heath the wind picked up, which felt rather good, and the views grew.

Stor-Laisan 2
Higher view of Stor-Laisan
Fjelds 1
Shower among the peaks
Gurkfjället 1
Gurkfjället (Cucumber Fjeld)
Umeälven 2
Umeälven flowing below

As I paused on a hilltop just at the tree line I was passed by a single hiker with a dog, who went off onto the path to Gurkfjället where there were already another two people. At the adjacent trail split I took the middle path, continuing to ascend northwards on easily trodden heathland. In the distance there was both sun and haze in various directions, but I was still walking in shadow. When I reached the crest of the slope the wind intensified a bit more, but it was still only pleasant. I passed a couple of ponds, near the second of which I sat down on a rock to have lunch at noon, putting the jacket on against the wind.

Trail 3
On the hilltop
Laxfjället 1
All of Laxfjället
Trail 4
Other fjelds...
Trail 5 the distance
Fjelds 2
Persistent clouds above
Fjelds 3
Lighter in the northeast

The sun shone on the northeastern lands as I ate, but the nearby peaks remained in cloud. Two hikers passed by from the south while I was sitting there, as did a helicopter, flying low. Before setting off I removed the jacket again, and now there were no glimpses of the sun at all. The drifting clouds obscuring Vaellientjåhke et al were sending light droplets on the wind, but nothing of particular note as of yet. The other two, with whom I had almost caught up, stopped by a rock of their own, and I pressed on ahead alone. After a somewhat larger stream crossing the summer trail split from the winter trail and there was a brief visit from the sun. Here the terrain was wet and the path often disappeared almost completely, but the heading was clear.

Bird 1
Golden plover beeping
Trail 6
Better to the northeast
Trail 7
Worse to the southeast
Fjelds 4
More distant showers

After tracing a small ravine formation I caught sight of the Stabre shelter some distance ahead, and even though the summer trail didn't adjoin it I walked over to check it out, finding an empty standard prism shelter – and what looked like an automated weather observation station. Another couple of hikers who had stopped out on the trail moved on south, and I returned to the path myself, noting an increased mosquito presence in the osier covering the area. After several more stream crossings that required at least some care I came to the stream from Mohtseregovre, which was considerably swifter. I looked about for a short while, but soon came to the conclusion that performing an actual ford would be the most efficient use of my time, so I set about doing so, with the gushing water reaching to my knees at the deepest.

Fjelds 5
After the ravine
Stabre 1
The Stabre shelter from the front...
Stabre 2
...and the back
Fjelds 6
Clouds still low
Båŋuonåjvvie 1
Båŋuonåjvvie laterally
Trail 8
Stream 1
Forded this

Safely on the other side – it was not a long ford – I sat down and dried in the sun, which had just come out. When planning the tour I had had this stream as a possible target for the first day, but now that I was here I felt like moving on at least a little bit more. It got windier as I proceeded northwards, with stronger gusts, and the cloud-drops had returned. The stretch of terrain I was now on was rather bumpy and afforded no obvious places for a tent, but just beside a smaller brook shortly after another summer/winter trail split there were some promising candidates. I ended up going downstream for a bit and found a spot that was more than passable at 15:00, so I decided to go for it.

The wind had all but died down as I pitched the tent, but the drops on the wind hadn't, so I sped the process up a bit. When I was done the drifting cloud that served as the droplet source had moved on, but in its place were more mosquitos. I went over to the brook to have a light wash, and as I did so the sun came back out, and it was very nice for a while, with more showers in the distance towards Ammarfjället. The clouds were slowly lifting on the whole, except for over that one massif, and I used the "downtime" to effect a makeshift repair of my sunglasses which had broken earlier in the day.

Tent 1
Tent with peaks
Tent 2
Tent with lowlands
Stream 2
Sun at the brook
Mohtseretjåhke 1
Mohtseretjåhke and its glacier
Fjelds 7
Tent 3
...and more clear

I had dinner outside, fighting off an increasing contingent of various insects, while the weather steadily improved. Two people and a dog were approaching along the trail from the north, but when they had almost reached "my" brook they turned off upstream, eventually disappearing among the hills. I walked around a bit in the growing sunlight, and had it not been for the incessant mosquitos it would have been a perfect evening, in a very open location. The adjacent peaks – Govretjåhke, Mohtseretjåhke and S Sytertoppen – were now almost in the clear, but N Sytertoppen still had a ways to go with its cloud cap. I read for a bit outside and then inside the tent, which was mostly tolerable now that the evening sun was growing less powerful, and the mosquitos were worse than ever. After my evening snack the sky was almost entirely clear, with a few smaller clouds around a peak or two, and at 22:00 it was time to hit the (sleeping) sack.

N Sytertoppen 1
N Sytertoppen nearly in the clear
Flowers 1
Tent 4
Last attack of the clouds
Vaellientjåhke 1
Vaellientjåhke visible for the first time
Evening 1
Towards Ammarfjället
Evening 2
Båŋuonåjvvie across the wide valley
Evening 3
Last light in Syterskalet...
Evening 4
...and on the local flora


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