Day 76. Syterstugan to Servestugan

Posted by: James on March 17, 2009

Distance 28km | Time 7hrs | Ascent 350m | Descent 400m

Day 76. Sun in the birch woods on the run down to Tarnasjon lakeI had a very slow start despite getting up at 0700. The weather outside was quite changeable with frequent snow showers between clear spells. The wind was slight but increased in the snow showers. All this encouraged a slow lingering breakfast and further chats with the cabin warden, Morgan, and the other guest.

Eventually I set off at 0930 for the short 14 km ski to Tarnasjonstugan cabin. The weather was much better now and the snow showers had almost ceased leaving longer clear spells. I soon skied down into the added shelter afforded by the birch woods.

As I have come further north the treeline has dropped considerably. In southern Norway it was about 1000 to 1050 metres. Here in north Sweden it is more like 750 to 800 metres at which the highest birch grows.

The descent to Tarnasjon lake was magical. The descent was gentle and yet sustained so I really just stood as I glided down the 3 km to the lake. All this was in the sun.

The southern end of the lake here has an archipelago of small islands. These islands are formed by moraine mounds. In the summer the walking track goes over them with numerous small bridges connecting each island. It must be quite idyllic here in August, a bit like wandering through a Japanese garden. So much so the previous king had a summer cottage near here called Forsavan. The fishing between these islands is said to be excellent and is restricted.

Now in the winter the ski route goes to the west and then north of this archipelago and then cuts across the white expanse on the ice for 7 km to reach Tarnasjonstugan cabin. As I ski over the ice the weather stayed fair as a snow shower remained stationary over the northern half of the lake. Only when I reached the cabin was I slightly affected by the shower.

I bought some snacks here and chatted with the lady warden. She seemed amazed I was contemplating skiing for another 14 km to the next cabin having already done 14 km. They were very easy segments though and the first 14km had only taken two and a half hours.

Day 76. Looking back down to Tarnasjon valley from the route to ServestuganI left at 1300 and continued up the frozen lake for another 2 km before following the scooter tracks into the forest on the east shore. From here there was a very gentle climb up through the birch trees and across bare frozen marshes to the the treeline. The sun was out again and the wind was behind me.

The marked scooter route continued to climb onto the bare snow covered hillside and I got a great view looking back down to the forested tarns and delta at the north end of Tarnasjon lake. It was bad weather to the west and I was just on the edge of the weather divide. I felt justified I had chosen this route and was not stuck in a cabin across in Norway.

Day 76. The high plateau between Tarnasjonstugan and ServestuganThe scooter route continued up across the snowy slopes over a saddle before descending to a small lake. The snow on this plateau was deep. I skirted round the north of the frozen lake before climbing up onto the plateau again and over a second saddle to reach the bigger lake called Servvejavrrie. There were a couple of small cabins here which were probably owned by Lapps and used for reindeer herding and fishing.

After the second lake there was a nice gentle run down the valley back into the birch forest again. The wind which had been behind me, on the saddles especially, now died away. After an easy km through the birch trees I reached the sheltered Servestugan cabin. It was nestled in a small valley in the birch trees. The sun was just setting on the surrounding mountains in a glow as it was 1730.

The cabin was very tidy and well kept as all had been so far on Kungsleden. I was the only guest. The warden, Sigvard, was a retired army officer. He had the leg pulling jokey antics which years of army banter had developed. After I got settled in and bought some tinned food I started to write for 10 minutes. Sigvard then appeared with coffee and a dram of Jaegermeister.

We spent the next 3 hours chatting about the Sweden, the STF or Swedish Trekking Club which owned the cabins and numerous other topics. I was anxious not to forget the blog as I did not want to postpone it. However Sigvard was extremely knowledgeable and the conversation very easy and informative for me. Eventually at 2200 he called it a day and I spent an hour writing before crashing out. Tomorrow was an easy 22 km to the small town of Ammarnas.

It had been a very good day. The weather was kind given what was happening to the west of me. The skiing was pleasant and easy and the views were great. I think I was lucky.

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