Day 6 │ June 23 │ Kroktjärn – Klinken – towards Fältjägarstugan 21 km
I woke up early to a sunny morning, but weather forecast had promised a lot of rain later that day. Makes a lot of sense, as it was midsummer day, and midsummer has a tradition of being a rainy day in Sweden! 😉
But, a little rain has not killed me yet, so I happily packed and started the hike. It was a beautiful morning walking over the hills decorated with a few birch trees and watching the grazing reindeer and their calves. In the rather wet forest just after Klinken I met two German girls (75% of all hikers I met on this section was Germans…), who had spent the night with Ola and Per in Fältjägarstugan, so they already knew who I was when they met me! I was still quite surprised, I hadn’t understand that this would happen regularly. And maybe especially when hiking solo, this makes you feel less alone on trail. You do have company, just not at your side. But your fellow hikers do think about you, and you think about them, and that builds a beautiful community (❤️).
Today I encountered some snow fields and bridges for the first time as the trail reached higher altitudes. The fields were not big though, so I decided to walk around everything that had running water underneath, even though they were not dangerous as in life threatening. But if a snow bridge breaks – and maybe more so if it is only half a meter – a twisted ankle would be bad enough. I had time and went for the “better safe than sorry”-method.
As the day passed, the clouds grew thicker and I started to feel chased by rain clouds. I also started to become tired, and especially my feet told me that it had been a long day. The wind became stronger and after wading Mihtenjåhke/Mittån I decided to push the last 4 km to Fältjägarstugan. Shortly after when crossing a little river I realized that that place was sheltered from the wind, reasonably dry and flat ground and my feet really didn’t want to continue a single meter. So I decided to pitch my tent then and there.
When looking at the map, I saw that I had walked 21 km. Record so far and I actually felt very proud of myself. A month later I would feel that 21 km was a short day, but on day 6 that was still very difficult to imagine!
When preparing my dinner, a big group of reindeer suddenly came around the hill and started grazing not far from my tent. I felt so grateful to sit inside my tent (meanwhile it was raining…) with a cup of tea, watching these beautiful animals so close. I also felt reassured that I had chosen a good camp site for the weather conditions, the reindeer know their mountains and where to find shelter from the weather. Unfortunately they saw me after a few minutes and moved on.
I chatted a bit with Per who eat the famous midsummer dinner with Ola and “great company at the table” at Helags mountain station. At that moment I felt a little lonely, and I wished I had pushed a little harder, to spend the evening with them. But then my cousin sent me a picture with my beloved Stockholm relatives cheering for me. I wasn’t alone. There was just no other person in sight. I slept well that night, listening to the little river and the rain against the tent. A midsummer night to remember.
Day 7 │ June 24 │ before Fältjägarstugan – Helags fjällstation
The day started as the last day ended: Rainy. The wind had turned over night and was now back to NW, which means it was colder and stronger than the day before. My plan (which is more like an idea, really…) for the day was a short stop for a snack at Fältjägarstugan, lunch somewhere between Fältjägarstugan and Helags, waffle(!) at Helags and then to continue and pitch my tent after crossing over to Jämtland. But as so often, weather changed my plans, and that is perfectly ok!
I arrived at Fältjägarstugan, where I chatted with the very friendly host (the first on this trip!) for an hour or so, before I continued. The weather was typical for NW wind, with showers coming and going and sometimes some rays of sun breaking through. Taking a break was not exactly cosy though, so I just had a very quick lunch behind a hill and some bushes, before I continued with one thing in my mind: waffles at Helags.
When reaching the crest where I could finally see Helags fjällstation; I also met the full NW wind, which until then had been hindered by the mountain.
But most of all I suddenly had a deja-vu. When I came to Helags the first time maybe 6 years ago, and from another direction, I remembered standing there, watching southwards down the valley and thinking:
“If I could only just continue to walk, explore the valley, walk past the mountain, and see what I find there!”
And there I was. With exactly that possibility. Smiling while the cold rain hit my face.
It was raining all the way down to the station and those few kilometers felt endless (and exploring the valley suddenly felt like a stupid idea! Or at least like something that could wait until the rain eventually stopped…).
Once inside, I immediately ordered the waffle I had longed for and soon started to talk to a couple. It turned out that it was “the great company” from Per’s and Ola’s dinner table the night before! And indeed, they were great company for the dinner this day too. And the breakfast the next day. (Breakfast buffet. Whoever invented breakfast is a genius.). Apart from interesting discussions, they also gave me the priceless feeling that they actually believed I could reach Treriksröset. To me, it still felt like I was lying to people when telling them that I am walking to the northernmost point in Sweden, just a look at a map was convincing enough – this is impossible. So I didn’t look at the map, kept telling people I am walking to Treriksröset, right after the method “fake it ’til you make it”.
Wait, dinner at Helags? Well, while eating my waffle, it started to snow outside. And I quickly decided that dinner inside (but sleeping in my tent at the station) would be a great way to end this day. And it indeed was. Not only for the company, but that reindeer stew and a glass of matching red wine was great. Helags fjällstation remains a favourite mountain station!
Day 8 │ June 25 │ Helags fjällstation – Sylarnas fjällstation 21 km
It was a cold, windy but sunny morning! When I looked out of my tent I had a gorgeous view on Maajåelkie/Helags and Bealjege/Sylarna. But soon the sky covered again and when I started the hike, the sun was almost gone again… I started to talk to three people heading the same direction for a day hike, and when they heard where I was going, they invited me to their hut in Hemavan, where they would be by the end of July for a couple of days. Hemavan is half way on the hike and I had another 4 weeks estimated, so I promised to call them when I was getting closer.
Soon it started to rain again, and Peter, Karin and their friend turned back to the station, I put the rain clothes on and continued north. Rain and snow showers mixed with sun was the setting for the next couple of hours. After lunch in Miesehketjahke wind shelter, suddenly the sun took over the scenery and it was a beautiful hike watching out over the wide valley of Miesehktjohke/Handölån.
After rounding Herrklumpen (don’t do that, walk over the pass instead!) and a last kilometer of stone fields, I arrived at Sylstationen, surprisingly tired! But the wonderful staff there gave me a room for myself, as the station was not yet crowded. The weather forecast for the next day still promised 16m/s NW and snow, being tired on top of that made for a perfect rest day. After sauna, shower and dinner accompanied by a Swiss/German guy travelling Scandinavia in a van, I slept like a baby!
Day 9 │ June 26 │ Rest day at Sylarnas fjällstation
When I woke up, the weather was as forecasted: rainy and windy. In contrary to all other guests, most of them walking Jämtlandstriangeln, I had a flexible planning, so I prepared for a day alone in the couch with some book from a shelf in the station.
But, it turned out I wouldn’t read a single word. Michael, who planned to continue towards Helags that day (I might have advertised for their waffles and dinner…), ended up staying another day in Sylarna too, so we spent the whole day chatting about all or nothing and life in general, drinking tea and in the evening we cooked renskav (reindeer meat) together and enjoyed a great local beer from Jämtlands bryggeri.
I didn’t leave the station the whole day, not even for one minute. Spending a day indoors, lounge around in woolen long underwear and watch the rain turn into snow through the window was just enough outdoor life that day…
Day 10 │ June 27 │ Sylarnas fjällstation – Blåhammaren – Gräslidfjället 22 km
As great as the day at the station was, it is time to leave at some point. When I woke up, it had at least stopped to snow, the wind had calmed down a bit – and forecast said it would become better from now on, so I checked out and left towards Blåhammaren. The weather was better than the day before, but that doesn’t mean it was pleasant. It was still strong headwind, cold, snow showers, and later rain showers, some sun in between, occasional fog.
After a few hours I saw a tent by the trail. Already from a distance, it was clear that it wasn’t in a good shape, and when I came closer, I saw that it was broken. I checked inside, and it was completely empty, someone must have abandoned it, but when? And why? While having lunch at Enkälen wind shelter I called Sylarnas fjällstation to tell them about the tent, I also sent a picture and the tents location. It was a strange feeling to fins a broken and abandoned tent, and possibly a good reminder that nature is powerful.
After the rest day in Sylarna, I was strong and hiked quickly in the cold wind and I arrived at 1530 already at Blåhammaren, covering 19km in 6h. Surprised, but happy, I put a few clothes to dry in the drying room, including my camera, that had taken a lot of snow and rain… the camera survived, I continued a few kilometers down in the valley, and then the sun came out and bathed the landscape in warm evening light. After the harsh day, this was certainly trail magic, and I fell asleep in a wonderful place, just above the treeline.
Day 11 (part I) │ June 28 │ Gräslidfjället – Storlien 14 km
The last day of the first section. When I woke up it was not as sunny as I thought if would be when I went to bed in the evening, but the sun quickly cleared while I was making pancakes for breakfast and when I packed my tent, it was sunny in all directions!
After a chat with my father who had spent some time in Storlien as a child, and who had found a picture which was possibly taken at Rundhögen, I decided to take that route into Storlien, slightly longer and more road, but fun to go hunting for a place on a 60 years old picture! Well, I din’t find the place, maybe the house didn’t exist anymore or had been renovated too much.
After my first road hike I arrived in Storlien and picked up my package. In the package was also one of the letters that friends had sent to me before the hike! ❤️ Some anonymously and some from people I have not been in contact me for a long time. I was so grateful for each and every letter, and despite being randomly distributed in the packages, once I opened a letter, it felt like that message was exactly what I had needed to hear in that moment.
I hung around in Storlien for a little while, had a beer in the bar in the station, and then I continued in the warm afternoon sun. to be continued in the blog post about section 2…