The start of a four-day hike in Jämtland.

I started in Vålådalen today, and my planned route is Vålådalen – Vålåstugorna – Gåsen – Sylarna – Storulvån. (Here’s a map of the mountain trails in Jämtland.)

Why this route? I chose endpoints that I could easily get to using train and bus. To keep my pack relatively light, I’m staying in STF accommodation rather than a tent. I’m sure there are people out there who would tell me to just buy ultra lightweight stuff, but I haven’t invested in that, and I quite like having an actual bed, and a stove to cook on, and a loo.

I also chose to mostly stay away from the “Jämtland triangle” between Sylarna, Storulvån and Blåhammaren. Lots of people walk it and love it, and it’s kind of the obvious choice for hiking in Jämtland – but even though I’ve never been there, I get strong vibes of “not my thing” about it. Those three STF facilities are basically hotels, not mountain huts, so I expect them and the trails between them to be crowded, and the whole experience to be focused on convenience and “hiking lite” rather than a real nature experience. Prejudiced, perhaps, but that’s what I chose.

Today I walked from Vålådalen to Vålåstugorna.

It was a tiring day.

At 20 km, today is the longest of the four days. Plus my pack was at its heaviest since I haven’t started eating into it yet. Plus I slept like crap on the sleeper train so I started out really, really tired. Plus half of the day was uphill (and the rest was not downhill to compensate, but flat).

The last few hours I didn’t enjoy much at all, and mostly spent looking forward to arriving at the hut.

My surroundings during the first half of the day were quite forested – pine and spruce at lower altitudes and mountain birch later on. At times the forest opened up into a boggy meadow. Of the mountains themselves, I only got occasional glimpses here and there.

Later in the afternoon the landscape started looking more like what I had been expecting and looking forward to – beautiful wide views of open grassland and shrub, with little lakes and streams here and there.