Ingrid is off on a scout hike and Eric is working (on such a beautiful sunny weekend, too, poor guy). Adrian and I went out for some walking and sausage grilling near Hellasgården.

We first crossed the bridge to the west side of lake Dammtorpsjön, and I had hoped to maybe walk all the way around the lake. But Adrian was not very interested in the walking – his focus was more on the sausage grilling. (And on sticks, of all sizes.) So shortly after we came to the sunny cliffs with views of the lake, we already stopped for lunch. And I have to admit it was a very nice spot for that.

Very windy, though – and there were no flat spots further down, so it was either make do where we were or take a longer walk, and I was pretty sure the latter wouldn’t end well. I had real trouble getting the coals on the disposable grill to burn in the wind. The starter paper burned up in seconds without any effect on the coals, so I ended up building a little fire out of dry twigs on top of the coals to get them started. But we got our sausages done in the end.

From where we sat, the cliffs on the other side of the lake looked very inviting, so on our way back we made a little detour and clambered around there as well. We stumbled upon an excellent climbing tree, which must have gotten an awful lot of use as just a climbing tree – it had many bald spots and sawed-off branches. Adrian climbed up and I looked on, slightly envious, but I didn’t want to make him come down to make room for me. But then he suggested that I should climb as well, and I was not going to say no to that!


Abiskojaure to Abisko tourist station, 15 km. Heading back to civilization today.

The day’s skiing started with the usual lake. When we got to the other end, the main Kungsleden trail went off into the birch woods but our tour leader kept us on the river so as to avoid the unpleasantly bumpy snowmobile tracks in the woods.

However Abiskojåkka has some rapids and falls which are not passable on skis, and at those points we left the river and made our way through the forest. Skiing in the forest, on uneven ground between rocks and trees, was quite eventful at times but we all got down without breaking any body parts or equipment. Even though many of us fell over or got stuck in unexpectedly deep snow at some point.


After the last rapids the ski trail in the river canyon was very pretty, and I imagine it would look quite picturesque in the summer. It was also very easy to ski – as we were getting closer to the tourist station it was almost like a highway, with well worn-in tracks, and even two lanes at the end. The skiers we met here were a different bunch, day trippers in neon lycra and skinny skis. They’re obviously skiers just as much as we are, but somehow they felt like a different species.

And then all of a sudden we reached a highway and a railway and the tourist station, and were back in everyday life.

The water hole at Abiskojaure

Unna Allakas to Abiskojaure, 24 km.

Flat, flat, flat all day. Along and across small lakes at times, and then through alpine birch forest. The flat isn’t bad, as it makes for efficient skiing, even though it isn’t super exciting. But following snowmobile tracks through forest is no fun at all. When a bunch of snowmobiles all follow the same narrow track over uneven ground, the track gets very icy and bumpy. It’s almost like moguls on a ski run. I have to concentrate on every step, I get no flow and I’m stumbling and losing my balance all the time.

Yesterday’s beautiful weather continued and we had blue skies much of the day. The spring sun was so warm that I stripped off all windbreakers and jackets and was skiing in just a wicking top. Our first lunch on a sunny little hill truly felt like a spring picnic. (The second one was chilly and cloudy and brief.)

Since we were lower down today, we saw more animal tracks: hare, fox, ptarmigan. Among the trees there were blue tits singing, and during one of our breaks we actually encountered mosquitoes or something like them.

Twenty-four kilometres was a lot of skiing and the bumpy forest track was tiring for mind as well as body. Or perhaps it’s the full week of skiing that is starting to take its toll. In any case, for the first time this week I felt really tired when we got to the hut. The other days I’ve been visiting the sauna only to get clean, but today I actually sat in the sauna to rest and relax.


The group split up today for various day trips around Unna Allakas.

Four of us headed north towards the Valffojokka shelter. Like the tour from Vistas to Nallo, this was nearly all uphill on the way out. With the wonderful weather (brilliant sunshine for the first time this week) and nearly weightless packs, even the constant ascent didn’t bother us the least. Plus with a small group there was less stopping and starting, and we got a much more pleasant flow.

In the end we didn’t go all the way to the shelter. We stopped at the highest point, with just the long descent to the shelter ahead of us – and just didn’t see any benefit in continuing. The sun was warm and there was hardly any wind, so we sat on that rocky little peak in the sunshine and enjoyed the views, all the way to Kebnekaise in the south and the Moarhmma massif in the east.

On the way we found numerous wolverine tracks.


Alesjaure to Unna Allakas, around 15 km.

Mostly uphill and mostly cloudy and mostly with the wind against us, so today felt like quite a slog. At least we got a bit of fun in the shape of two exciting descents towards the end of the day when we were nearing the Unna Allakas hut.

We also stopped for a practical lesson in digging/building an emergency shelter in snow. Important, I’m sure, but pretty badly timed.

I am by now getting pretty fed up with our tour leader and find him annoying rather than helpful or inspiring. Yes, he brought the bothy bags and taught us to use them. But that’s pretty much his only contribution. He insists on keeping the group really close together, which I could understand as a safety measure in bad weather but in normal conditions it is just annoying to have to ski right at someone’s heels. He is the last one to be ready to leave in the morning. (We’re starting to take things in our own hands and sometimes the group starts skiing off while he’s still faffing around.) He also likes to stop the group for mini lectures about obvious things while everybody stands around, bored but polite, and gets cold. He is no good at communicating or reading the group’s mood. I get the impression that maybe he isn’t even really enjoying this.


This afternoon I felt a need for a salty snack so I went off to buy crisps at the hut shop. Only to be told by the hostess that the 100 kr note I tried to pay with was invalid. I last used this purse on the ski trip two years ago, and since then I’ve barely ever used cash, so I didn’t even notice. Embarrassing! I had to borrow money to get my crisps.


Unna Allakas was seriously overcrowded, with 37 people (if I recall correctly) vying for places in its 20 beds. We were lucky and got an 8-bed room for our group of 10 (with one couple sharing, and one person sleeping on the floor). All the other rooms were similarly full, and so was the kitchen floor.


Vistas to Alesjaure, around 18 km.

I skied this exact stretch only two years ago, but in the other direction – and while I do recognize some parts, there were also parts that I really have no recollection of ever having seen before.

It was interesting to see how much the snow and ice conditions could vary from year to year, even though it’s the same time of year and roughly the same weather.

First we skied a long gentle river valley with alpine birch forest. Last time we were here, the ice on the river was already breaking up in places, and we could see patches low shrubs peeking through. This time the river was still under thick ice, and the snow on the ground was thick enough to cover all plant life except for trees.

Then we went up a steepish hill (which was an exciting and fun descent last time). Last time it was mostly covered in soft powder snow (but with surprises in the shape of ice here and there). This time the slope was almost all covered in solid ice, and where there was snow, it was thin. I’m glad we were going up this time and not down.

Then it was flattish again, around some mountains, until we got to lake Alesjaure. There we saw two very tired and hungry elks, who were barely moving. The hut staff later told us that the elks had been there for some weeks already, but that there was hope for them still since winter should be over very soon now.

We had our first lunch in the lee of a bunch of large rocks, but for our next break there was no natural shelter and the wind was blowing hard. So we got to use our bothy bags for real – and they were wonderful! Normally I’d put on a thick extra layer such as a down jacket for a sit-down break, but the bothy bags blocked the wind so well that there was barely any need for extra clothes. We dug knee-deep holes in the snow for our legs so we could sit down comfortably inside the bags, so the lunch break felt surprisingly comfy despite the weather.

In the huts we take turns with the daily chores. Yesterday I was on the dinner team; today I’m on the wood + water team. I got to chop wood for the first time in about twenty years. (Unsurprisingly I wasn’t very good at it.)

Alesjaure is a biggish hut site, with multiple huts, and with all the amenities somewhat spread out. The sauna is at the bottom of a seriously steep slope, and the slope to the water hole is even worse. Fetching the water here was definitely a two-man job: one pulling and the other one pushing the jerry can from behind.

The downside of a large hut site is that it can feel anonymous – so many people around you that you have no idea who they are. The upside is that the shop is larger and better stocked. But we’re making surprisingly little use of the shop here – we were handed a large pile of food at the start of the trip and we barely had to buy anything today. I guess we’re getting better dinners this way, and more variety, but carrying tomato sauce with us feels like wasted work.


Day trip from Vistas to Nallo and back, 9 + 9 km.

The route from Vistas to Nallo goes along Stuor Reaiddávággi, a broad and empty valley. Apart from the birch forest at the very beginning near Vistas, there is just snow, a very few rocks, and tall, very “mountain-shaped” mountains. There is not much for the eye to hold on to, especially in cloudy weather. The path is also quite straight and even, so this is an almost meditative trip. I made the most of it by staying at the head of the group as much as possible, so I could really see nothing but mountains and snow.

It’s gently uphill all the way to the Nallo hut and obviously equally gently downhill all the way back. A thin layer of fresh soft snow made skiing easy. We also had a slight headwind in the morning, which grew into a decently strong tailwind in the afternoon, so the trip back went much faster.


When we were nearing Vistas again, we stopped for a mountain safety exercise. We practised setting up bothy bags and digging a snow cave.


This year’s ski tour goes to Lappland, zig-zagging across the Kungsleden trail. The past two (and thus far the only two) ski tours I’ve done were with Warthog Mountaineering, but this year I’m travelling with STF instead (the Swedish Tourist Association).

Today was mostly a transportation day. The overnight sleeper train got me to Kiruna by morning. From there by bus to Nikkaluokta, and in the afternoon snowmobiles took our group and all our stuff to the wonderfully scenic Vistas hut.

Vistas is my favourite of all the STF mountain huts I’ve stayed at. It’s in a particularly beautiful location, even compared to all the other huts. It’s small and cosy, and generally not crowded because it’s a bit off the beaten track. So this is an excellent start for the week.

The snowmobiles were supposed to drop us off some kilometres before the hut so we could ski the last bit, but the drivers forgot and took us all the way there. But after a night and a day of waiting + sitting, we weren’t having any more of that, so we went for a short local tour near the hut.


I decided to ignore Easter and all its traditions and musts as much as possible. So we’re not painting eggs today, or cooking fancy Easter food. Instead we went for an Easter walk in Tyresta.

It’s Easter and the last day of March and the springtime sun can be warm, but the weather is still really cold. We were all wearing our winter gear, padded trousers and warm jackets. The paths were still covered with a thick and really slippery layer of ice. Eric and I often chose to walk next to the path when it got really bad. The kids didn’t even consider icy paths “bad”: they happily crawled and slid on the icy patches and even actively sought out the most slippery places. I guess the risk of falling doesn’t bother them. For me, the ground is too far away and my body is too heavy and breakable for such risks.

A few hours of walking took us to the Bylsjön campfire site where we had lunch. It was in a very nice and sunny spot by the lakeside, and thus quite popular. Families and groups were coming and going all the time, locals as well as tourists, and grilling sausages. Ingrid and Adrian were disappointed that there was a fire already going when we got there and we didn’t get to build our own, but again we adults had a different view and found this quite convenient.

We went for a walk around lake Judarn. Or rather, across lake Judarn. After the recent melt-and-then-freeze weather, the paths in the woods were as slippery as they could possibly be, and uneven and treacherous. The lake ice meanwhile was solid and thick (30+ centimetres according to an ice report conveniently posted on the lakeshore by the city) and flat.