This section of the trail is mostly through a wide valley with spectacular mountains all around. It's a reasonably gentle hike, with some areas over wood planks. (Be cautious here if the weather is wet as it is easy to slip on the untreated wood). The second half of this section is quite rocky, and as you reach the STF cabin, you come close to a narrow but impressive river carved from the rock.

03 - Alesjaurestugorna - Tjäktastugan

This section of the trail is mostly through a wide valley with spectacular mountains all around. It's a reasonably gentle hike, with some areas over wood planks. (Be cautious here if the weather is wet as it is easy to slip on the untreated wood). The second half of this section is quite rocky, and as you reach the STF cabin, you come close to a narrow but impressive river carved from the rock.


Trail Information

Distance: 13km

Difficulty: Easy, tending towards moderate for the final few kilometres.

Transport: None

Resupply: Alesjaure is an average SFT shop, so offers all the basics you'll need and a few luxuries you may want.


Accommodation & Shopping

STF Alesjaure Fjällstuga

STF Alesjaurestugorna from the approach
STF Alesjaurestugorna from the approach

Set on the top of a hill, the ground is rocky. You can pay to stay at the cabins themselves and have full use of all facilities, pay to camp in the area and use their kitchen or cross the bridge and stay in one of the lovely spots set in the bend of a river. You can still use the shop and toilets at any STF location if you are camping free, so it is only if you want to use one of the other facilities, or if it is one of the camps with no nearby camping its worth the extra cost.

STF Alesjaurestugorna viewed from the free campsite
STF Alesjaurestugorna viewed from the free campsite

The shop is good, a full selection and accepts cards, there is a small indoor common room, as well as a kitchen for guests. Plenty of clean drop toilets and water piped up from the lake.

Campsite over the bridge from the STF Cabin
Campsite over the bridge from the STF Cabin

The free camping is easy to find, and has better views than the SFT location, sitting as it does in the crook of the rivers bend. It's close enough that you don't feel bothered by heading back the following morning to use the facilities and drop off any recycling.


Sights

A huge number of wide streams to wade across is the hallmark of this section of the trail.

There is also an incredible river to cross by the bridge right by the meditation spot.

Side Trails

Waterfall

The waterfall on the east side of Alesjaure is apparently worth a day tour, though I've not done this.


Day 2 - 20th:

I camped a short distance away from the STF cabins, in a beautiful spot and had my tent up just moments before the rain started. I'd been lucky both days with timing, having got my shelter in place before the rain really started coming down. Meditation outside was proving difficult, when there was no rain, the mosquitoes made it a challenge, and whilst possible inside the tent, that does lack the style of doing it in the wilds.

Two days in, and I was feeling very confident of the distances involved, I was even becoming aware that I may have underestimated how far I could go each day. The main worry I had at this stage was the connections to buses and boats as they were at specific times of the day.

Daily Approx: 18.5km

Total: 35km - 8%


Day 3 - 21st:

I was up and packed early, light rain coming down, leading to me wearing my full wet weather gear for the first time. The hiking was wet, but not terrible, and I crossed so many mountain streams. The blogs and books had all said you're never far from water, but I'm cautious and had been carrying 1.5 litres in my camel pack and another 2 litres in bottles. I reduced that down to just 1.5 litres in the camel pack by the end of this day, dropping my weight noticeably.

Facing a wide fast-moving, over-flowing stream, I stripped off shoes and socks and moved to my camp shoes. Crossing ice-cold water with my bag on my back was a bracing challenge, and I immediately rubbed my feet dry and was glad of my thick alpaca wool hiking socks.

On the trail, a few hours past STF Alesjaure is a meditation spot overlooking a snowy canyon with a metal bridge spanning it. I paused for a moment here to take it in.

After removing shoes and crossing a second stream, there was a brief break in the rain, so I set up my camp stove on a rock on the water's edge and had a hot soup and trail biscuit for lunch. It was perfect, warming after all the cold. The rain, cold wind, cold water crossings and mud was becoming wearing.

A few kilometres before reaching Tjäktastugan, I passed one of the workers finishing up at Tjäktastugan and heading home. She gave me some advice on campsites after the summit.

From my lunch break to the next cabin, Tjäktastugan, was a short walk but a challenging one, up some steep slopes and over some snowfields. It was the first time I encountered snow on the trail rather than on distant peaks, and it is a strange experience amid the water and greenery to suddenly come across wide white spaces. Below the snow are always rocks, their natural temperature keeping the snow from melting. So crossing is a careful process making sure you have sound footing as it is easy to drop through to a gap between the rocks, potentially injuring yourself.

This high on the trail, the weather is cold, the wind is brisk, perhaps 3 degrees above zero and with an intense wind chill.

Tjäktastugan is on the opposite side of a canyon with a rapid river running through it. Perhaps half a kilometre away from the trail. The scenery surrounding the small cabin is stunning, likely the best to this point on the track. I ran into a small gang of lads that I'd been leapfrogging all day. They intended to do the 13km to the next station that afternoon. I planned a simple 4k before I would stop.