Vistas hut to Sälka hut via Nallo (19 km).

From Vistas to Nallo we followed a broad valley. According to the map there was a river or stream at the bottom of it, as I think is the case for all valleys here. I saw no signs of it, but we stayed on slightly higher ground nevertheless. After Nallo hut there was a steep rise into Stuor Reaiddavaggi. Then we passed through the valley and crossed another invisible frozen lake.

There was something in this valley that encouraged us to spread out a bit, rather than skiing in each others’ tracks. Perhaps it was the broad even lower slopes, or maybe the snow conditions made it easier to ski on fresh snow. (We had a cold night and this morning started out colder than the previous days, so the snow was icier.) In any case, I found myself skiing in fresh snow with nobody else immediately near me.

It was so quiet. All I heard was the swish of the skis against the snow, and the creak of the poles as their angle against the snow changed with my forward movement.

Swish/creak. Swish/creak. Swish/creak.

Up in the pass, the world was even more empty and monochrome. I fell behind the others, and at times neither saw nor heard anybody or anything else. This high up there were no signs of life, no trees or ptarmigan tracks. The mountains on both sides of the valley rose gently so they were blanketed by snow, with rocks only peeking through here and there. The sky was equally white, and clouds hid the rest of the world from view.

At times the whole thing seemed unreal. There was nothing for the eye to hold on to. Everything around me was so white, so empty and quiet that it was hard to believe it existed. I felt like I was outside the world, in a dream.

At the other end of the pass we descended into a broad valley with Sälka hut in the middle of it, like tiny specks of coal in an endless expanse of snow. The light was very flat so it was hard to see where we were going. Everything looked the same, but wasn’t: several of us fell when we were taken by surprise by a shallow snowdrift or depression that just could not be distinguished from the rest of the whiteness.

Approaching Sälka hut