21-Sep-2002 -- Since I have used all of my vacation on cycle tours this year, I had a desperate need for a mountain hiking tour, walking, that is.
The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) delivered a favourable weather forecast for the weekend. Dry, weak winds, sometimes sunny and mild temperatures. I decided to go to Vålådalen in Jämtland and try to reach the only remaining unvisited primary confluence in Sweden. After sailor Jörgen Granstam had published his visit to 59Nx13E in the lake Vänern on Sept. 8th, only 68Nx18E and 63Nx13E remained, according to the available information on the confluence project website.
I had the information that 68Nx18E was visited some day around Sept. 9th by Magnus Berglund, but he had not the images in digital format yet and had not submitted his report.
So 63Nx13E was the only remaining primary confluence in Sweden.
I arrived at Vålådalen at 20:00 and stayed overnight at Vålågården's simple hostel, costing 150 SEK (about 16 USD). Started walking from the Vålådalen tourist station at 07:45 in foggy weather. The trail to Lunndörrsstugan is 14 km and rather narrow and rocky and it took me 3 1/2 hours to reach the mountain cabin. A few rain showers and a little wet snow fell at intervals. The elevation rises about 220 m, but the trail is hilly and not well maintained, so it is quite a hard work to go to Lunndörrsstugan. I had a 1 hour 10 minutes stop to have a lunch there.
The weather was improving, that is, the precipitation ceased, and I could see a thin layer of snow on the nearest mountain summits. I walked the along the trail to Tossåsen about 2 km, then crossed the Lunndörrsån river with my rather new but leaky Swedish rubber high boots (how can they sell such shit for 595 SEK?). Then I walked westward and upward along the slope of the northeast ridge of Trondfjället (i.e. Mt Trond). It was a lot of up and down and rather steep at some places, and progress was slow.
I passed close to Tväråkåtan, 4 km from Lunndörrsstugan, without seeing it. It is located very close to 13E, but 5 km north of the confluence. Then I turned south, passed the tree limit and came into the broad, rocky valley Vuoinendurre and continued up to the 1224 m pass between Salvantjakke and Staineke mountains. There was a small pond in the highest part of the pass. From there I could see the confluence at 1350 m distance, on the western shore of the northernmost of three small lakes.
I walked down to the confluence on a grassy hill slope and reached the confluence in Lillådörren valley at 16:45. The point is located on 1074 m elevation 4-5 meters from the shore of a small lake, in a rocky piece of terrain with boulders lifted by frost. The terrain type in the surroundings is mountain grass and lichen vegetation zone, with barren rock above 1200 m and small bogs in the flat part of the valley.
I was very near the confluence on 1st of January 1978 when I was the leader of a skiing party in the area. I remember that we were skiing in almost whiteout conditions in straight compass direction and pacing the distance to be sure not falling over the steep snowdrift in the Lillån canyon. We lived three days in snow caves in the area.
I left the confluence after 30 minutes on the spot. Snow just started to fall, first dry round snowflakes, then big wet ones. I walked as fast as I could to the pass, but luckily the snowfall ceased. I continued to the Tväråkåtan lappish style hunting hut and arrived there at 19:30. Then it was raining. The hut was locked but the window was smashed. The hut looked rather destroyed inside. I put up my tent and made an evening meal of the oat flakes I had brought. I had by mistake left my sausage in the refrigerator in Vålågården, and I missed it terribly.
The night was rather chilly since I had brought the summer sleeping bag (comfortable down to 7 C, bearable down to zero Celsius (32F)). I woke up at 01:30, shivering from frost. I made several series of sit-ups to produce warmth, the fell asleep again. Then I woke up at 06:15 and found the landscape covered with 12 - 15 cm of snow. The SMHI should go down the drain. :-(
I had another meal of the remnants of the oat flakes, put on my soaking wet, cold socks and started to walk down to the Vålåstugan - Lunndörrsstugan trail. The terrain is steep an a lot of trees have fallen, so the 1.5 kms took some 1.5 hours. The trail was also snow covered and at places hard to find. It is very narrow and at some places it is rocky. I had to follow the winter markings several times (red wooden crosses on poles placed in straight lines, the trail may go at quite another place). I passed Lunndörrsån river on the bridge and continued to Lunndörrsstugan, and arrived there at 10:00. I had left some blueberry soup there and cooked it and made some coffee. The warden said it was the last day the mountain hut was open. He would go down to Vålådalen on Tuesday 24th. There had been 36 visitors in the hut the last night, so the hut was full of people.
I helped to clean up the hut a while, and continued down to Vålådalen on the now snow covered, slippery and wet trail. It took me 6 hours to walk slowly down, anxious about falling, because I was the last one to leave the mountain hut on Sunday. I arrived at Vålådalen at 17:30, very hungry and tired. Drove to Vålågården and had a delicious meal (char, boiled potatoes and salad). I also collected my sausage in the fridge. Then I drove home to Boliden and arrived there at 01:35 on Monday morning after completing Sweden's primary confluences.
I made an agreement with Magnus Berglund that we should submit our reports simultaneously, so we both can get the honour of the completion of Sweden.