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Lofsdalen Sky Bar and Hovärken 1125 m.a.s.l.


View Summit hikes in Härjedalen on bejjan's travel map.

Length: 4,6 km
Height difference: 280 meters

Packed down the last things in my bags and set up the girls’ transportation cage. They had suspected all morning that something was up since mum had been running around like a giddy hen. Parked the car right outside my door so I could pack all the luggage more easily. I was a little nervous that everything wouldn’t fit, as I always tend to pack a little too much. But it is surprisingly how much can fit in a Renault Captur, when you fold the back seat. Started driving a little later than planned. But no worry. The key to the cabin could be collected from an arrival box outside Destination Lofsdalen from 4 pm according to the email I received yesterday.

Had to drive a little more than 1 hour along European Route E4 before turning off at Tönnebro and continue along Highway 83. Norrlandsporten was passed, a valley between Kölberget and Digerberget, just south of Kilafors.

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Here, already, you got a taste of what was to come. Highway 83 is, along with County Road 272, a part of “Road of Times”. It is the distance between Uppsala and Ånge, namely 480 kilometers, along a narrower and more winding road than the European Rout E4. Another experience than the stress along E4. But both in turns of time and distance, you benefit from taking the European Route E4 and then a shorter distance along the “Road of Times”, than driving the entire way of “Road of Times”.

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Turned off onto County Road 84 to finally get on Lofsdalsvägen towards the village of Lofsdalen. Here, the terrain really started to get rugged, small mountains towered up and finally mountain massifs with summits. Cozy factor was definitely starting to set in even though I wasn’t quite there yet. It felt like an eternity but suddenly I was there. A fatigue body, after having “bench-pressed” 443 kilometers without stopping, it was really nice getting out of the car and breath in crystal clear mountain air. As agreed, my key to the cabin was in a letter in one of the arrival boxes outside Destination Lofsdalen. It was pretty close to 4 pm and I had a look around. Around the parking lot was the village’s only grocery store, a sport goods store and one of all the restaurants in Lofsdalen. Also, a small gas pump. It was no more than that. Cabins could be seen all around and the lake Lofssjön could be seen a little further away. But now I was more inclined to reach the cabin to unpack and let the girls out of their small transportation cage. Started driving up the Hovärken Cabin Area and looked for the road where the cabin would be. It was quite steep uphill and I throttled a little extra so the car would be able to get up.

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But suddenly behind a curve, were the first reindeer I saw. One came trotting downhill towards me on the other side of the road and the other one was calmly grazing in the ditch. Stopped and took my cell phone, now time for photos! Then continued uphill to the road for my cabin and turned onto a narrow bumpy graveled road. You couldn’t drive fast, but it didn’t matter because I had basically arrived.

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And very truly was the grey cabin at the end of the road, with the white corners and its steep tin gable roof. Magical view.

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It had to be one of the best views in all of Lofsdalen. Because the sun had shined all day, the cabin was warm. But that was aired out quickly. Brought in all the bags and boxes, bedding and hay. Made up the temporary cage for the girls. They were extremely tired (understandably) and went straight into their small wooden hutches and slept. I started to unpack some stuff and clothes.

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Suddenly saw a cute red squirrel in the spruce just outside the terrace. Of course, the system camera was put into action.

Brought out some hiking clothes and packed the backpack in order to maybe have time to hike a trail. Started going up towards Hovärken Trail Center, from where several trails start. The original plan was to walk the Panoramic Route, which is supposed to be easily accessed and nice to walk. But I also noticed that the summit hike to the mountain Hovärken started here as well. So, after a quick debate with myself, Hovärken it is!

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You can spot the cell phone tower on top of Hovärken 1125 masl, to the right is Lofsdalen Sky Bar.

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Walked on along the rocky trail and could glimpse MTB bikers that whizzed past in the arctic downy birch forest around me. If it is something Lofsdalen is known for – during summer – is its downhill tracks and MTB trails. Partially steep, but manageable. When I reached the tree line, the wind picked up and the terrain steeper. But my grit told me to continue. This was just the beginning of what would come this week, so I couldn’t back down now!

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First stop was Lofsdalen Sky Bar (which was closed) but provided much needed shelter from the wind while I ate some of my packed food.

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Highest point of Hovärken, 1125 masl.

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From here, it wasn’t far left up to the summit at 1125 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). One of the ski lifts were here and a cell phone tower somewhat ruined the view. But it was probably the mountains of Digervålen, Digerhågna and Sonfjället that I could glimpse from here on one side, on the other side of lake Lofssjön I could see Västvallen with summits Svanhågna and Sömlingshågna. It went pretty fast to get down.

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Well down in the arctic downy birch forest again the silence became obvious. Wonderful! Up at the summit it was really windy, but now the contrast became apparent. All MTB bikers had probably retreated to their cabins because it was completely quiet now.

Late shower and food. It would rain tonight and tomorrow morning, so I could easily take a sleep-in tomorrow.

Posted by bejjan 00:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged hiking summit_hike Comments (0)

Funäsdalen – Norwegian Mecca


View Summit hikes in Härjedalen on bejjan's travel map.

Length: 4 km
Height difference: 200 meters

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Woke up to occasional heavy rain, temperature was only +12° Celsius outside, so a little chilly inside the cabin.

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The red squirrel now had a friend, so two red squirrels sat in the spruce outside when I had breakfast. Took the car down to the grocery store for some shopping. Once back in the cabin I packed for today’s hike to the mountain Svanjökläppen. It stopped raining and the weather forecast showed fairly good weather in the village of Funäsdalen.

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Started driving along the road Lofsdalsvägen towards the village Sörvattnet. The road maintenance was really neglected and road damage reoccurred every now and then. The road was narrow, winding and the hill crests were sometimes so steep that your stomach tingled when you passed over them. So overall, a really bad road. So bad that I managed to get motion sickness even though I was driving myself – which I never got before.

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Once in Sörvattnet, I turned onto County Road 311. The road led through mountainous and forest landscape and straight through reindeer pastures, which is why you need to watch out for reindeer crossing the road. Also, this road was narrow and curvy, but not as the road Lofsdalsvägen. Along County Road 311 you passed through the village of Högvålen, Sweden’s highest village at 830 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). The highest peak along the road was at 854 m.a.s.l., which was marked by a small yellow sign, before gong downhill again and you eventually arrive in the village of Tännäs. Here, I turned onto Highway 84, a nice wide road where you could drive at the permitted speed. Not long thereafter, you arrive in Funäsdalen. The traffic congested, people in motion along the main street. Quite the opposite to Lofsdalen, which can be described as peaceful. In Funäsdalen are several grocery stores, gas stations, a police station, health center, large hotels and of course a lot of cabins. One thing that struck me the most was how many Norwegian registered cars there were here. Every other car actually. A lot of German and Dutch cars as well.

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But I had my mind set on the small village of Tänndalen and the mountain Svansjökläppen, so I drove by Funäsdalen and Hamra and turned left onto the road Svansjökläppsvägen. Here, for a small fee, you can get up to the Svansjökläppen’s parking lot. It is a toll road and costs 40 SEK which can easily be paid by cell phone according to the instruction to the specified number (another option is to take the ski lift – which costs even more – and you have to hike significantly longer).

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The road was – despite paying a small amount – really bad, narrow and bumpy. Where does the money go really? At the bridge crossing the river Tännån, it was posted a sign that you are crossing the bridge at your own risk. SCARY! Further on, the graveled road got even steeper and you were urged to drive in 1st gear. After this adventure, only to reach the parking lot, then the vastness of Svansjökläppen stretched out in front of you. It took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get here from Lofsdalen.

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Here starts several trails. To the right of the parking lot, rose the summit of Svansjökläppen at 1125 m.a.s.l.

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Looking to the left, you could spot one of Europe’s 236 Big Bench Project benches. The American designer Chris Bangle has designed the bench that makes any adult feeling like a child again.

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You had to hike for about 15 minutes that ended with a pretty steep ascent to reach the bench. It was windy and cold up here, luckily, I had packed both a hat and gloves!

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A little tricky how you were supposed to get up on the bench. There was no ladder or anything like that, to help. But I swung myself up like mounting a horse. Okay, that was that then. Took the same trail back, over spans and along the rocky path back to the parking lot. Now, time to climb the summit of Svansjökläppen! The trail up is steep, so I managed to take alternative path around so I hiked up from a less steep side.

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Along that trail, I spotted a small reindeer herd peacefully grazing the heathland. Photo opportunity of course!

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Right at the summit of Svansjökläppen (1125 m.a.s.l.), the sun broke through the clouds for a while. For some time, I had the whole peak for myself, no one else was up there. My cell phone operator thought I had crossed the border to Norway and sent me a welcome text that I was now able to phone and text as usual.

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From up here, on one side you could see the lake Svansjön and the Hamra Mountain Massif on the other, with a glimpse of the waterfall of Anderssjöåfallet and its wooden stairs among the trees. The waterfall didn’t look much to the world from up here. I went down from the summit the nearest way, i.e. the steep trail. A good workout for the legs and I went slow and careful, you don’t want to wreck your knees first thing. Along the way down I met many people fought their way up, some with their dogs.
Got in my car and carefully started driving downhill the graveled road of Svansjökläppsvägen again. It didn’t feel as steep as on the way up.

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The bridge is crossing the Creek Tännån.

I didn’t have to throttle once before I reached the bridge and the road leveled out. Turned left onto Highway 84 and drove maybe 500 meters before arriving at the parking lot next to the waterfall Anderssjöåfallet. You could hear the rushing water as soon as you opened the car door. Here were real toilets with sinks, but no lights. Only a small window (about 10 x 40 centimeters) that let daylight in, but it was pitch black before your eyes had adapt. But if you still bother to draw sewage and water to the toilet, why not electricity as well?

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Walked further along a small path leading up to the wooden stairs. The stairs have 303 steps and runs parallel to the waterfall. I pushed myself to walk all the steps without paus – but after maybe 60 steps lactic acid were literally squirted out of my ears. I didn’t count the number of steps (assuming many others already done so) but suddenly they just ran out and the trail continued through dense arctic downy birch forest. You can continue through the birch forest up to the flower meadows of the Mountain Hamra and further hike other trails. But I sat down on the ledge at the last step and ate my packed food. Then soon the mosquitos became very close, so I packed up and walked down all 303 steps.

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Began the returning journey to Lofsdalen at 4.30 pm by going the same road back. Saw several reindeers along the way and the clouds started gathering. The rain was literally in the air. With just a few kilometers left the rain poured down. But it also ended pretty soon. Made a quick stop at the grocery store to bye some vegetables for the girls.

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After a shower and well-needed dinner, the clouds dissolved.

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A thin crescent moon appeared in the sky and the rain left a nice rainbow. According to the weather forecast temperature would drop to only +2° Celsius tonight. So, I turned up the heat on all radiators in the cabin.

Posted by bejjan 00:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged waterfalls mountains lakes hiking summit_hike Comments (0)

Sonfjället with summit hike to Högfjället 1278 m.a.s.l.


View Summit hikes in Härjedalen on bejjan's travel map.

Length: 11 km
Height difference: 560 meters

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Woke up to sunshine and clear-blue sky with occasional light clouds. But cold. Outside temperature hade definitely been close to zero degrees Celsius last night. The weather forecast suggested the best weather would be between 5 am and noon today. Which was perfect as it is good to be early to the most popular hiking trails, partly to get a parking space but also to avoid crowds of people. So, the plan was to leave at 7 am, which I did.

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Drove along the road Lofsdalsvägen to Linsell.

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Felt very lonely on the road, which was nice. Met a few company cars most likely heading to their jobs. Turned left onto Highway 84 towards Hedeviken. A wide nice road with speed limits up to 100 km/h. Amazing views along the road and the clouds continued their absence. The sun warmed in attempt to raise the chilly outside temperature.

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Once in Hedeviken I turned left, signed Sonfjället National Park. Passed through the village and in the outskirts, just before the narrow bridge begins, is a perfect view of Sonfjället Mountain Massif, a must to stop for photos. The bridge crossing the river Ljusnan was so narrow that two cars weren’t even able to meet. Just before the small village Sörviken, turn right following the signs to Sonfjället and then accessed the graveled road with the sign “Public Road ends here”. The graveled road was on and off pretty bad and you had to drive 15 kilometers before arriving at the parking lot at Nyvallen.

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The winding road leading up to Nyvallen offered some really nice views over probably the most known and photographed silhouette of the Mountain Sonfjället, which is really “just” a side ridge. The highest point of that side ridge is still 1247 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.) and is thus not something to belittle in any way.

Time was just 9 o’clock as I parked at Nyvallen’s parking lot. Only some campers and few other cars had made it before me. Perfect! Then I made it before the bigger crowd of people arrives and the mountain turns into a sea of people. There were dry toilets for the needed. Put on my hiking boots, backpack and took a deep breath of the clear chilly mountain air. Let’s go!

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The hiking trail started right next to the information cabin and continued through a beautiful arctic downy birch forest. After 1,5 kilometers you reach the tree line and met by endless views. Somewhere here, the trail took a course to the right (keep an eye out for when the orange markers stop!) and started to wind itself uphill towards Lillfjället. I missed that completely, and kept going uphill in the steep ravine.

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The energy began to wane, but the unforgettable views made it worthwhile.

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At the top of the ravine, I turned right and followed the trail over the heathland to the summit of Lillfjället – the small summit with the big view – with its 1010 m.a.s.l. After 30 minutes of steep ascent, there was a well-deserved break. The silence was striking and the miles wide view of forests, mountains and clear small tarns were amazing.

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From here, you have some kilometers left uphill the side ridge at 1247 m.a.s.l., which was the “summit” you saw down at the parking lot. Here was a trail along the steep slope that now had been closed due tot the risk of falling down. The signage of this was inadequate. The trail had been re-routed and was definitely longer and steeper. But law-abiding as I am, I chose the new trail.

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Tough terrain, rocky and steep – but shame on he who gives up! After a brutal uphill hike, the side ridge’s highest point was glimpsed. But to get there required a tough hike through the sea of blocks that lay before you. The sea of rugged block consists of Quartzite that, through constant change in temperature between plus and minus degrees, is frost blasted to larger and smaller blocks. Sonfjället’s soil is nutrient-poor and coarse-grained which is why only map lichens and low bushes thrives here.

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I jumped and skipped through the sea of blocks and eventually reached the ridge top – 1247 m.a.s.l. Some adults and children had made it before me, maybe they took the closed trail anyway?

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From here, I continued on hiking over the ridge towards the Mountain Summit of Högfjället, the highest summit of the Sonfjället Mountain Massif.

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The sea of blocks seemed to go on forever and the last part of the hike along the rugged ridge was occasionally so steep, almost 45°, that you had to zig-zag your way up. Anyone who doesn’t get tired in the legs from this walk is supernatural. At the very last part of the rocky ridge, the trail became very vague and you had to jump and skip your way forward among the rocks and blocks. But with the summit in sight, you can’t go wrong. High up at 1278 altitude meters, it was impossible to not get mesmerized. The amazing 360° panoramic view of the mountainous landscape offered views of the mountains of Helags, Funäsdalsfjällen, Jämtlandsfjällen and even mountains in Norway. Even though the sun shined there was a fresh breeze, the mound of stones provided shelter from the wind. I had a seat and ate some of my packed food. Quiet, calm. No other people in sight. While I was sitting there and philosophized by myself, I heard a silent pitter-patter down in between the rocks. I looked for a while and managed to see something moving.

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Suddenly I felt very watched. A small Arvicolinae was curiously watching me. Just managed to snap a photo of it before it rushed down and hid among the rocks again. It had to be a rough climate to survive up here. Just as I put on my backpack again and started descending, I met four people on their way up. I’m lucky I got up there when I did and was able to sit by myself without anyone else there talking. But they were really nice and had hiked a little different trail that I had. They had hiked trough the valley of Sododalen and now up towards the Högfjället summit.

I changed my plans and aimed for that hike on my wat back. It was physically exhausting to descent through the sea of blocks by skipping and jumping. The rocks and blocks wouldn’t always lie still once you put your weight on them and then you almost fell over. Close but no cigar! I managed to stay on both feet all the way down.

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In the valley Sododalen were lichen covered block and low bushes. I got to a stream delta area, that never seemed to end. I crossed over stream after stream, but new ones just kept coming my way. Although, the sound from the rippling stream was calming, my boots became wet after some time.

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Eventually the trail I had been looking for appeared. It led you back to Lillfjället and the winding trail downhill the Sonfjället slope which faces Nyvallen. Now, the predicted mass of people had begun showing up. When I turned around looking up the mountain, a train of adults and children, some even brought their dog with them, aiming for the side ridge’s highest point. None of them seemed to care about that trail being closed. But on the other hand, it wasn’t well signed about it either.

Once back at the parking lot, 6 hours had passed, including breaks for food. And I didn’t have that extreme pace either. The parking lot was full of cars now so if you want to be sure of getting a parking space, definitely make sure to arrive early in the day. Started driving back on the graveled road and it felt like an eternity before I got back to the cabin. After a well-deserved shower and warm food, the weather started to change; the wind picked up and it started to rain. But it is very cozy to lie down and listen to the rain hitting the tin roof. The red squirrels ran their shuttle route across the terrace. Early in bed, looking forward to tomorrow’s “rest-day”.

Posted by bejjan 00:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged mountains hiking summit_hike Comments (0)

Waffle Hut


View Summit hikes in Härjedalen on bejjan's travel map.

Length: 7,6 km
Height difference: 210 meters

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Still, a pretty nice morning despite the forecast for bad weather. The sun shone through the low clouds and it was significantly warmer than yesterday. Today, I’ve seen the first signs of life from the cabin neighbor. A person moving around in the cabin. Otherwise, I’ve only seen the blackout curtain in the bedroom being up or down. So, it felt safe to see an actual person. The red squirrels have been crossing the terrace since early. Wonder what they are really doing? It doesn’t look like they are carrying food or anything, but they just run back and forth? If I had the door open I could here their paws against the wooden planks.

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The lake Lofssjön.

Today, I planned on staying in and around Lofsdalen.

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On the other side of the lake Lofssjön is Västvallen and that was where I was heading. I arrived at 10 o’clock and there were quite a few cars there already. Many cars with bike racks on. There are many hiking and MTB trails in Västvallen. At the information board, a sign was posted that the Waffle Hut was open today. The Waffle Hut is a popular place during both winter and summer. But during the summer time you need to check thoroughly if they are open or not, each and every day. Most easily done via social media and a lot is decided by the weather expectations. Today, they would be open between 11 am and 3 pm. If you want to hike the shortest way up to the Waffle Hut, you should “follow the old Rombo Trail” according to all maps. But there is no sign of Rombo Trail to be seen. In the beginning, there was only one trail to follow before the trail split up in different directions. But the signage was inadequate. I almost missed to turn off to the right and follow the trail towards the summits Sömlingshågna and Stenrutsstugan.

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Here, it would have made it easier for a nonresident if there had also been a sign towards Waffle Hut, because the “Old Rombo Trail” was not signed at all. No, this can be done better – get it together! The trail was partially extremely rocky with roots sticking up.

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You passed swamps, rippling streams and dense conifers. I walked for a long time without seeing anyone. But after some time, I heard a few people catching up with me. I stepped aside from the trail and let them pass. They were faster than me and felt like they were running up the mountain. I moved on in my pace and after 3 kilometers came the very first sign pointing out the Waffle Hut! So now was the time?!

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Now, it leveled off with spanned swamp areas and heathlands that had amazing view and even more so as the conifers were sparse out. About 300 meters from the hut, you could hear a faint humming from the diesel generator that produced electricity for the Waffle Hut.

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Once you arrived at the Waffle Hut at 820 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.), at summit of Mossaruten, the views of the mountains Hovärken and Digervålen were hard to take in. I tried to find my rental cabin between the spruces on the other side, but gave up pretty soon. In total, it took about 2 hours and there are dry toilets at your convenience.

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Not many souls up here. The couple that passed me half-running was seated at one table, eating. Then there was another couple of MTB-bikers that arrived at the same time as me. I ordered a Double Waffle with Strawberry Jam and Whipped Cream for the, not so comfortable, price of 140 SEK.

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But it was great having a newly baked waffle after all hiking and the service was excellent. He brought the waffles outside to my table where I was seated. It was warm up here, +19 °C. The guy said that it was unusual with those warm temperatures up here. But of course. That’s because I’m here! I could easily have eaten two more waffles. But for that price, well… When I had finished, the guy came out and picked up the tray. Very nice. I sat there resting for a while until loads people started to arrive. Adults, children, dogs and more MTB-bikers. I packed my things and started the descent. The further I got, the more people I met. Phew! Again, lucky that I was early so I didn’t have to be seated at the Waffle Hut in the horde of people and dogs.

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View of Västvallen with the Waffle Hut, just to the right of the two spruces.

I got back to my cabin and had a shower, made some food. The cabin neighbor now had put out some flowers in his terrace, maybe not that very smart since the wind increased more and more and the forecast said rain. I treated myself with a nap. The plan was one hour, but turned into a full 2,5-hour nap instead. But then it was well needed too. Now the cabin neighbor sat out on the terrace with a big cold beer in his hand. It must have been very cold in the wind. The flowers had been taken in due to the rain.

Posted by bejjan 00:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged mountains lakes hiking summit_hike Comments (0)

A sea calmed in storm


View Summit hikes in Härjedalen on bejjan's travel map.

Length: 10 km
Height difference: 550 meters

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After a good night of sleep, I woke up to a clear nice morning. I discovered my cabin neighbor has a cat and it sat squeezed in-between the window and the blackout curtain looking out the window. As I was washing the dishes, I noticed the man had woken up and now pulling up the blackout curtain. It was then 7 am. My plan today was to hit the road at 7.30 am to be early onsite for a hike up on the mountain massif of Anåfjället. According to the internet, this was one of the most popular hiking trails in the area of Funäsdalen. So, if you don’t want to be crowded you have to be early in order to be somewhat alone.

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I started driving along the road of Lofsdalsvägen and I felt the motions sickness sneaking up on me. The road had not gotten any straighter and hill crests hadn’t gotten any smaller since Monday. One just had to focus on the road and taking it easy.

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Blue sky and the sun showing off the best side. Turned onto County Road 311 towards Tännäs and not a single reindeer in sight, which always is nice so you don’t have to brake and/or stop.

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But as a turned left onto Highway 84 towards the village of Funäsdalen, where the speed limit is 80 km/hours, the reindeers showed up. Just as you reach Funäsdalen make a right hand turn towards Messlingen and Bruksvallarna.

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After a few kilometers you turn yet again to the right where the signs say Ljungdalen and Flatruet. Now you have to pay attention because after pretty much 5 kilometers, a graveled parking space appear on the right side of the road. The first smaller parking space is used for the winter trail.

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At this location, a posted sign, saying “Sommarled 200 m” points in the direction of the bigger parking space. Drive further to that bigger parking space where you see a sign “Guldtur 350 Anåfjället” telling you the trail starts here. Time was 9.30 am and I was definitely not first onsite, at least 5 other cars was parked here before me. I started hiking the 2,5-kilometer-long trail (350 altitude meters) uphill to Anåfjället that rapidly brings you up to the heathland above the tree line.

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But first, one walked along a graveled road up to Övre Lillåsvallen, a very much alive sheeling and you could hear the cows mooing.

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Then a rugged rocky part of the trail started in dense arctic downy birch forest. But save up on your energy, it is well needed later on during the hike. The trail then transitions into a more and more steep, rough and rocky path. It rustled in the deciduous forest so I stopped. Deep into the birch forest, a herd of reindeers were watching me. But they decided to trot uphill. The reindeers made it look so easy going up – why can’t I do the same? At the end of the birch forest was the most demanding and steep ascent.

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Up to the first heathland, your legs felt completely drained of energy. But the unforgettable view made you forget how tired you really were. Above the tree line, one of the highest in Sweden at 960 altitude meters, the landscape was rocky and barren and despite a lean soil, purple mountain heather grew up here.

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The reindeers owned by the Mittådalen Saami people are herded up here, so show some respect! I had a break, ate some food to restore some energy. Up here, I met with the first people during the hike. Some had brought both dogs and children – SIGH! I guess that’s fine as long as they have the dogs under command. But one company had two Labradors with them, one of which was more wild than crazy barked at all other dogs and even the reindeers in the area.

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Now, the trail levels off and you have reached the mountain Anåfjället when you are at the tarn Ånnfjällstjärnen at 1106 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.).

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It is being said that the tarn is sheltered from the wind and perfect for a pick-nick – maybe even a cooling swim? But today’s wind made heavy waves in the water. So, no human took a swim, however one of the Labradors happily jumped into the water and splashed around. The actual trail to Anåfjället ends here, which is why many people turn around and do back.

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But from here, by another 2 kilometers hike, you can reach and climb the summit of Ånnfjället at 1301 m.a.s.l.

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“A sea calmed in storm”, so Linnaeus described the Anå Mountain Massif during his journey across Sweden, which most likely refers to the wavy profile of the mountain massif on distance. The Anå Mountain Massif consists of 8 summits, where Blåstöten is the highest with its 1332 m.a.s.l., second is Ånnfjället with its 1301 m.a.s.l.

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The magic panoramic view gave lookouts towards the mountains; Helags, Predikstolen, Vemdalsfjällen, Sonfjället and many more. Up here were arctic winds. The gusts were heavy and I searched for shelter from the wind and sat comfortably in lee and ate food. After 20 minutes, more and more people started to arrive at the summit and when I left, at least 4 dogs were up there including the hysterical Labrador. And I met even more dogs on my way crossing the heathland. One family had a black Flatcoated Retriever, and the dad just looked like a Swedish politician named Mikael Damberg. The descent from both Ånnfjället and Anåfjället wasn’t that hard. One thought, a steep ascent equal steep descent – but no. At least it didn’t dell that way.

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When I finally arrived at the parking space, it was full of cars. Also, the other parking space from which the winter trail starts was full. So here too you must be early to get a good parking space for the car. The hiking took about 5 hours all in all, break for food and photos of reindeers included. A thought that hit me was, if the trail is so popular – why haven’t they built some kind of dry toilet at least?

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On my way back, loads of reindeers were in the ditches, standing in the middle of the road and basically sleeping. You need to remember that you are a guest in reindeer land and just let it take the time they need. At this time of year, the reindeer cows have had their calves, so if you see a reindeer cow on one side of the road the calf may very well be on the other and suddenly run out in the middle of the road to reach its mother.
Once back in the cabin, a well-needed shower and some warm food. The wind picked up during the evening in Lofsdalen, so I tried to understand why the cabin neighbor had put out the flowers again. But he just sat comfortable on the terrace with a beer in his hand, today again. A little cold? The squirrels were very busy shuttle across the terrace. I mean, the must be gathering food for winter or something.

Posted by bejjan 00:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged mountains lakes hiking summit_hike Comments (0)

Two birds with one stone


View Summit hikes in Härjedalen on bejjan's travel map.

STORA MITTÅKLÄPPEN:
Length: 5 km
Height difference: 350 meters

VOLLDALSHØGDA:
Length: 6 km
Height difference: 250 meters

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Once again, a chilly clear morning. The cabin neighbor had left his flowers out on the terrace during the night – perhaps a bit on the coldest side? The plan for today was killing two birds with one stone – in other words climb to summits in one day. The plan was the mountains Stora Mittåkläppen and VolldalshØgda (Norwegian summit). Would be alternating cloudiness, sunshine and basically no wind today – so in other words, a perfect day for hiking. The mountain Stora Mittåkläppen is also one of the most popular summits to climb, so make sure to be on time for parking and avoid the crowd of people. My goal was to arrive at Djupdalsvallen’s parking lot at 9 am.

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So, I left the cabin at 7 am and started driving along the narrow and winding road Lofsdalsvägen with its steep hill crests. But now, third time is the charmed, I think my body had started to get used to the rollercoaster because the motion sickness stayed away, but still my tummy tickled a bit.

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Turned onto Highway 83 and drove to Tännäs, then took Highway 84 towards Funäsdalen. Right before entering Funäsdalen, I turned right as signed towards Bruksvallarna. Arrived in Bruksvallarna at 8.30 am and turned onto the road Mittåkläppsvägen. This is a toll road and it costs 70 SEK to pass the roadblock with one car and drive to the parking lot, from where the trail to Stora Mittåkläppen begins.

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After the roadblock, a 10 kilometer very narrow graveled road. You were requested to take it easy and that the road is heavily trafficked. But this early in the morning, I didn’t meet one single car.

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That was great, then I could stop exactly where I wanted to photograph in perfect views of Stora Mittåkläppen without worrying about other cars.

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Arrived at the parking lot at 9 o’clock and right next door is a chalet with dry toilet for convenience. No cars were here – so I was first onsite.

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In solitary majesty, I started walking along the trail towards the summit. It started through arctic downy birch forest and then via spans up to a flower heath, with different orchids and small bluebells among others. The closer I got, the more I realized how steep the mountain really was.

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I reached a crossroads, where the trail split into one steep trail (straight up the extreme steep part of the mountain) or a somewhat longer but not as steep trail.

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Considering me climbing to summits today, it had to be the longer easier trail.

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It took just over an hour to reach the summit of Stora Mittåkläppen at 1212 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). Although it wasn’t very windy, one could feel the air had switched to cold and raw up here. So put on warm clothes, hat and gloves. Stayed for a while and ate some food and snacks. Then people started to show up here at the summit, yet again with their dogs.

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That was my cue to leave. But funny thing was, I had met several of these people during yesterday’s hike to Ånnfjället. One family, with the man who looked just like the politician Mikael Damberg, specifically remembered me too and greeted cheerfully: “Oh, hey, we met you yesterday at Ånnfjället”.

I was down at the parking lot in Djupdalsvallen again around noon and the food service had opened in the chalet. Waffles and other meals are served here if you are hungry. But I started driving, I had one more summit left to climb. The parking lot was full of cars. Lucky me, I was early today as well! Drove carefully along the winding road back to Bruksvallarna. Had the misfortune to end up right behind a camper that thought 40 km/h was the perfect cruising speed… not so much I could do about it. Was hardly any space to pass.

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Passed the roadblock and onto paved road again, back to Funäsdalen. There, I took right and headed for the national border to Norway. It wasn’t many kilometers and I arrived at the small parking lot which is shared between Swedish and Norwegian territory.

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Put on dry and fresh socks, hiking boots and backpack. Walked across the Highway 84 and passed through the opening in the reindeer fence.

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Here starts the trail. It was a small and narrow trail, partially inaccessible path along swamps and big blocks with sharp edges. So steady boots able to withstand water – is a must! I climbed, slid, jumped and crawled my way forward.

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If it had been a better maintained trail with passages over the swamps, it had gone faster. Now, sometimes, I had to take detours around the swamps which took its fair share of time. Yet, I had not seen many cloudberries but here they grew on both sides of the national border. If you – like me – wonder where all the mosquitos had been during the week, I can tell you they were all here! They attacked straight away and mosquito repellent came to handy.

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The trail followed the reindeer fence all the way up to a wooden stairway that took you across the border. It took about 45 minutes to get up here. Now you could clearly see the summit and you got a little extra energy just from being so close.

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It was striking how round-shaped all rock faces were on the Norwegian side, in contrast to the rocky ones in Sweden. So strange! There were not many meters between them. Found a few, tiny chanterelles along the trail. 1,5 cm in diameter at most. It took about 20 minutes more, then the summit was reached.

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A wooden stick, on top of a cairn, at 1103 m.a.s.l. marked the highest point at VolldalshØgda. Despite some wind, it was warm and the view from the summit of VolldalshØgda was amazing with miles wide mountainous views. A couple with their daughter were already here. A lot of energy in that child. She was high and low, talking and screaming.

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Up here, right next to the cairn, was a natural tarn. Tiny waves in the light wind, but yet mirror glossed as soon as the sun shined. Here, you can take a swim in the small tarn surrounded by the magical views. I was hungry, but had no interest in sitting next to the couple’s child. Way too much noise and fuss. Below, there were a few more tarns.

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I found a tarn not far away, no wind and the sun decided to shine. Total silence. Wonderful! The mirror glossed water, the warming sun and some food was the perfect ending of this hiking week. 6 summit hikes in 5 days (Wednesday excluded), all higher than 1100 m.a.s.l.
Started the descent and heard pretty soon a strange sound. I had to stop and look around. What was that sound? Some kind of birdsong?

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After a minute or two, I spotted a grizzled bird, probably a Lagopus. Close, were – what I believed was – two chicks. It felt like the mother Lagopus called for her chickens with that strange sound. Of course, the system camera was unpacked for some close-up photos of the birds.

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I kept on descending. Came rather quickly to the wooden staircase and over onto Swedish ground again.

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Fought my way forward over rocks, swamps and heathlands. The hour had already passed 5 pm as I was back at the car.
Started the moderate entertaining road back to Lofsdalen. Highway 84 took you to and past Funäsdalen.

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Some reindeers had made it out on the road and there was a particular reindeer with a big white blaze in the face that was very nice looking. After a while, in Tännäs, I turned onto County Road 311. Last time during this vacation I had to drive this rugged way. Also, the miserable Lofsdalsvägen with its steep hill crests. I arrived just in time to the grocery store to buy vegetables to the girls before they closed. Reached the cabin and after a shower and warm food, I noticed the cabin neighbor brought in the flowers, the bikes and the car were gone. The blackout curtain was down. Felt like they had left the cabin now. But it felt safe to see the red squirrels running their errands across the terrace – whatever it may be. A rain shower with elements of hail did not stop the squirrels from their shuttle traffic. The evening presented later on a really beautiful half-moon and a clear sky.

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Posted by bejjan 00:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged mountains lakes hiking summit_hike Comments (0)

Recovery day


View Summit hikes in Härjedalen on bejjan's travel map.

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I got up after a really long sleep-in. It was going to be bad weather today. Windy, rain on and off and cold temperature. But I didn’t care. I had no plans of leaving the cabin at all today.

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The red squirrels still constituted some form of company by their tireless shuttle route across the terrace. You know you’re on vacation when you still are in your pajamas at 10.30 am and just had breakfast. Out of everything I had brought with me, I had barely used half of it. Typical me, overpacking when travelling.

Härjedalen, Lofsdalen. The calm itself. Am so happy I booked this amazing cabin here, and nowhere else. Now, just perfect post-Corona when you gotten even more antisocial. In Funäsdalen, there were many activities and full of people – just yuck. Sure, there are note many high-altitude trails in or near Lofsdalen… but if you don’t mind driving a bit, Lofsdalen is well located.

As mentioned before, there would not be high activity here today. Cold wind and chilly outside. Rain mixed with hail showers made the wish to even step outside non-existent. So, I brought out my laptop and started writing at this blog instead. Took a nap after lunch. Then started to prepare and pack for tomorrow’s departure. In your arrival-envelop, you received a solid 16-point list regarding cleaning of the cabin. Thank God, I had already booked cleaning in advance so I only had to do 3 out of the 16 points in return I had to leave the cabin already at 9 am. Sure, no problem. Then I didn’t have to; shake and air all carpets (about 20 carpets in the cabin), clean the sauna, disinfect all surfaces in kitchen and bathroom + door handles and lamp switches, vacuuming the couches (both on and under the pads) among other things.

Even though this day had offered rough weather, it dispersed later in the evening and the half-moon lit up the sky over Västvallen. Photo opportunity – of course.

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Posted by bejjan 00:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged animals sky Comments (0)

Travelling back home


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Departure.

Thought I got up in time to not be stressed and have time to pack the car and leave the cabin at 9 am. Ended up a little late though. Typical me. Anyway, left the cabin key in the box outside Destination Lofsdalen 15 minutes late. Calm traffic. The ones cleaning their cabin had to leave first at 11 am.

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Drove to the village Sveg along Highway 84. Here, the traffic congested a little. But not heavily. Until the urban area of Ljusdal, I got overtaken by some cars, some with MTB-bikes in racks carelessly hung. Oh well. Stress on you – I thought. I drove my little Renault Captur and turned onto Highway 83 and passed by Bollnäs and Kilafors.

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Made a pit-stop at Norrlandsporten by a nice lake to stretch my legs.

Came onto European Route E4 in Tönnebro and made a few hundred meters before the congestion started! Kilometers of car queues! Here unfortunately, E4 is a 2+1 lane road and as soon as the 2-lane stretch began everyone started to overtake each other. So, when the 2-lane stretch ended, traffic came almost to a complete stop and the speed dropped to 30 km/h. How could the traffic be so heavy? Had to be a weekend when loads of people end their vacation and are getting home. But it infuriated me so bad that a complete mental breakdown was inevitable.

Exited the E4 and drove smaller roads via Ockelbo and south to Sandviken. Almost no traffic and you could keep the speed. Then I took a chance and drove onto E4 again in Gävle, because it is 2 lanes all the way to Uppsala now. And very much so, traffic flow was normal. So nice! And it didn’t take many minutes before I got overtaken by a couple of cars that had overtook me way before Bollnäs! They might have stopped to eat along the way… but it told myself that it was thanks to me driving via Ockelbo – Sandviken, to get past the congestion, that had them overtake me again (I had earned time on them, that is).

Arrived at home at 3.45 pm and let the girls out in their cage. They were exhausted and went to sleep in a wooden hut each. They were so tired. Mom was also tired. Happy I didn’t have to buy any groceries today. I could put my legs up and rest, as well.

Posted by bejjan 00:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged traveling Comments (0)

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