We had a wonderful hike in Sälen. It was partly a bit tougher than I expected it to be but most of it was much as planned. Mainly day 2 was a bit tough as it was the longets hike but also that we had to climb two peaks, down in to a valley and half-way up a third peak before we could rest for the day.
Högfjällshotellet paved road 2 km to Köarskarsfjället. Then down to the Östfjällsdalen valley and then up Östfjället mountain over to Källfjället mountan and then descent to the summer farms. Easy/Medium.
Starting at Högfjällshotellet in Sälen, leaving the car there the first 2 km was paved road. That made the ascent to the first mountain the Köarkarsfjället a rather easy climb. We stopped at the shelter at the top to get a cup of tea going and to take in the scenery. Every few minutes another couple of tourists walked by and it was quite a lot of traffic here with people walking back and forth doing day tours and just enjoying the highlands.
Then we had a proper shower of rain. The forecast had promised about 0,7 mm of rain and I think that most of that came in 10 min time and it made things quite wet actually. We waited it out in the shelter together with another couple of people and their dogs.
We had a nice chat with the other guys in the shelter and several day-tourers came by and after a while the shelter was filled with people and two dogs as well. Some people just rushed by to descent the 2 km down to the Högfjällshotellet rather than stopping to wait out the rain. A couple of mountain bikers came through as well.
When the rain abated and then stopped completely we left the shelter to make our way down the first mountain to the valley where we would have our lunch at Östfjällstugan (east mountain cabin) and when we got there another couple was already making their lunch there, but no problem.
After soup and fresh baked bread (love the trangia gas insert that allows you to slow cook stuff like that) we started walking east about 1 km and then north up for Källfjället (spring mountain).
Källfjället ascent was pretty steep but not that bad, I did struggle a bit but with a few stops on the way we reached the top where it was definitely time for another cup of tea. We had set out late in the day, starting the hike around 2 pm meaning that the time was now around 6 pm or so. No worries because we knew we would have decent day light until at least 8.30 and so we had tea and relaxed a bit.
The descent on the other side of the mountain was easy enough and soon we got into the treeline again with mosquitoes and midges attacking at will. Even so they were not that bad as long as you moved. We got to the next cabin at Källfjällets fäbodar (Spring mountain summer farm) and there we found good water and made our dinner.
The views on the south facing side of the mountain was very nice but on the north it was a bit more boggy and swampy but not bad really. It had been raining a bit so that could be the reason for it as well.
And during the day I made a real beginner mistake , I did not drink enough water so I was dehydrated. By the time we got the tents up and it was time to tuck in for the night I was having a headache that just would not leave me alone, a racing pulse as well and I drank all the water I had with me but it did not help.
It is as they say, it takes at least 4 hours to get back from dehydration and if you have proper stuff like resorb or something similar you can do it in half the time perhaps.
So I did not sleep much that night at all. Which was definitely felt the second day when we had the longest trip to go.
We made our camp and stayed the night just a bit north of the cabin in the woods, disturbing nobody. In the night I heard a few strange bird calls that I could not identify and probably a fox snooping around but all our food was well tucked in backpacks so it was not a problem.
Starting in the valley easy walk 4 km, then the steep ascent to Syndalskläppen, about 2 km across the mountains then a steep descent into Kruggbäcken valley, following the valley and then coming up the pass to Närfjällstugan. Medium/Hard.
The hardest day by all means. I started out still feeling a bit on the off side after my bout with dehydration yesterday. Although I tried to drink enough these things takes time. After another liter of water and an Ibuprofen I felt a bit better but still a little sleep deprived.
Anyway, the first part of the walk through the Synddalen (the valley of sin) was lovely. Small streams, nice woodland and the weather was really nice although it soon got quite warm. The terrain was lovely woodlands with patches of bogs, small streams running through the place and several rather large ant hills on the way.
This time I remembered to drink properly and we stopped and refilled at one of the nice streams there which meant easy access to very nice water.
We filled up water here because it was probably some of the nicest water we found during the whole trip and then moved on. A bit stiffly for me since yesterday we made our way slowly to the lunch place, Kläppenskjulet.
Also here was a lot of other people coming and going but we had a good lunch resting for an hour or so before we started the ascent to Syndalskläppen. Tough ascent with about 10% incline but taking it slow worked and though I really got to question my condition on the way we still made it to the top.
Lauren of course had no problems what so ever, she even ran a bit to get her pulse up :)
Then a bit easier up- and downs until we got to the peak of Lägerdalsfjället (camp valley mountain). Here we stopped to make tea and the water we found was not very nice so we used that which we carried with us mainly.
We rested for a while (I really needed that) before we did the last bit on the mountain and then the descent down into the valley and the Kruggbäcken stream.
The hiking route here was very nice but I was a bit tired to really appreciate it properly. The dehydration the night before, lack of sleep took its toll and I did feel a bit crappy thinking on that we where not even half way done yet with the distance that we where supposed to cover today. And I did not want to stop and set up camp early because then we would have to start the third day with a tough uphill walk and we also had quite a bit to walk on the third day.
On the top there where several Cairns made from stone. I wonder who had the time to build them, some where pretty big actually. There is no lack of stones to build even more from if anyone should want to :)
Below is the view towards Tandådalen ski resort. Lost of skiing here in the winter of course.
And then the descent to Kruggbäcken valley. The descent was steep and in bits a little perilous but we made it in good speed. Tough on the knees though with the backpacks and all the gear we carried with us. However we made it down sans injuries and then could start follow the Kruggbäcken stream at the bottom of the valley.
This was supposed to be a lovely place but it was stony and difficult to navigate. Being tired the risk of making a bad step and losing balance or injuring yourself was pretty high. Fortunately after the first km it started looking a bit better. That’s when we realized they had changed the official route to the other side of the stream, we followed it but would have done better to just stay on the west side of the stream because the new path was hilly and boggy and not well walked.
After that we started the ascent to Stor-Närfjället and the cabin which was the goal of the day. We where still a km away to get there and it was stony. About 600 meters to go we could see the cabin and well there we also found water about 200 m east of the cabin which made life a little easier. We then had supper there, put our tents up and rested for the night.
The evening was very nice with a lovely sunset. I was cooking so I did not take any pictures of it I’m afraid :)
This seemed a popular place for people in the winter coming with snowmobiles over the mountains. There where several restrictions here to not deviate from marked trails with snowmobile and even a special parking place for them when stopping here. As with the other emergency shelters this also had a VHF radio that would connect to the police in case of an emergency.
In the plans was also an idea to walk to the top of the mountain, leaving the backpacks down here, but actually I think we all where too tired after the long walk this day so we just stopped here and then we made our camp, had a lovely dinner (mushroom soup for starters, meatballs and mash for main course and some popcorn to finish it all off).
About 8 km walking. Starting above the tree line, then descent to Granfjällsätern for lunch, across the woodlands and some bogs to Görälven and the bridge over it. Easy.
After a night on the mountain, with hardly any wind, a lovely sunrise and view we had a breakfast on pancakes and then started walking north to Granfjället (spruce mountain). Terrain was mainly nice but patches of very blocky terrain, kummel, was also on the menu. We soon got to the place where the route divides into the shorter one that terminates just west att Stöten or continue on the original route mor then double in length.
I got this nice photo of Phil as well which seemed to enjoy himself quite a bit on this part of the route.
This is the view to the east from the Granfjället mountain. The views where just breathtaking and of course the photos does not make it proper justice to what it was actually like being there but they should give you some small idea anyway.
This is the view to the west, also very nice over mountains and the valleys. You can also see the tree line where trees just don’t grow any more.
Lots of patches of barren rocks laying about, deposited by the ice in the ice age these made it somewhat cumbersome to get through at times. You had to always look for safe footing when treading on these.
A sort-of-vote was cast to contine and everyone agreed to it and so we did. An hour later it was time for tea again and then we made the descent down to Granfjällssätern (spruce mountain summer farm) and here we made lunch.
Mobile coverage was good, a phone call to my father telling him that we would probably be half hour later than we said and then we had a nice lunch.
The rest of the way was just lovely. Downhill but not too steep, very nice woodland and at the end a 1 km long bog (most of it on planks you can walk) but most of us got wet feet by the end of it. And then the bridge over the river Görälven where my father waited for us. Stiff and tired we sat in the car while he drove us back to the starting point where we offloaded into our own car.
Then back to the cabin in Malung and a nice meal, a few drinks and a good nights sleep.
The best parts
The parts I really liked was the first part over Köarskarsfjället and Östfjället as well as Källfjället. All very nice parts. The Synddalen part was also really lovely and so was spending the night on Stor-Närfjället as well as the breath taking views from Granfjället and the lovely woodlands from Granfjälssätern to Görälven.
The least favourite parts
Kruggbäcken was nothing like it was made out to be. Just dangerous and hard to get through without injuring yourself, and seemed never-ending until we got up to Stor-Närfjället and the cabin there. The lack of good water on Synddalskläppen and Lägerdalsfjället made it less than what it could have been. Otherwise I liked most of it!