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  • Writer's pictureChase Davidson

Jämtland's Triangle - 4 Day Trek | SWE




Prologue:


Every adventure begins with an idea and the notion of hiking for four days along the Swedish trail system known as The Jämtland’s Triangle began as a thought just over two years ago when I first moved to the tiny mountain village of Åre, Sweden.


At that time, I had never heard of any of the nearby hikes but when those around me began to mention this hike in particular, I took notice. In my off time, I had gathered the resources necessary and planned out my hike but by the time summer rolled around, a different hike had replaced this one; The Kungsleden.


You can view my blog for The Kungsleden here: "KUNGSLEDEN 17 DAY TREK"and also watch more hiking videos of the trek on my YouTube channel here: "KUNGSLEDEN on YOUTUBE".


Two years on now and the universe granted me the opportunity to make this hike possible thanks to both unfortunate events and incredible timing. I wasn’t going to let this one past me by knowing very well this could be my last time visiting this Scandinavian country.


 

Getting from Skåne to Jämtland


Throughout the month of May and June, my good friends Galatia and Marios have been allowing me to use their cute little home in Hörby, Sweden as a base of sorts while I did some travelling following the unfortunate loss of my job and subsequent working visa in Sweden.


My first trip over 23 days took me to Germany, Denmark and Mexico before coming back for a weekend in order to switch into hiking mode for the upcoming hikes. I say “hikes” here because The Jämtland’s Triangle is only the first of two distanced hikes I’ll be undertaking, the second being “Höga Kusten” or The High Coast which will be four days along the northern part of the trail. Let’s call this one the warm up!



I left Hörby via bus around 3pm (15:00) in the afternoon on Monday, May 27th with Galatia as she was making her way to a nearby city for a job interview herself. After arriving in Lund 50 minutes later, we said a quick goodbye before I ran off to pick up a Too Good To Go bag from a nearby market I had reserved the day prior for my lengthy train voyage ahead.


Too Good To Go is an awesome app that allows companies to offer discounted prices on food items that are either near expiry or that would soon be thrown out. It’s a great way to save on waste AND your wallet! Especially here in Sweden…


From that moment, I had everything I would need and it was off to catch my overnight train to Åre which would involve one quick change in Stockholm en route. While on the way to Stockholm, I mass message came through stating that the AC was broken on our train and that we would be reimbursed 50% of our ticket price. Considering that it’s not that hot compared to Mexico, I’ll take that as a win!


Time to get some sleep…


 

Day 1 - Åre to Sylarnas Fjällstation


The night train sleep didn’t go nearly as well as intended. I’m starting to think it’s a “getting older” thing because I use to practically drop dead on these types of missions. Either way, I had tried to sleep from the moment my train left Stockholm for the next two hours before a child screaming at the top of their lungs woke the entire train car. 


I decided to use this time to practice some German and hopefully tire myself out a bit with still 8 hours to go until arriving in Åre. The problem with heading this far north is that even though it’s 1am, dawn has already begun.


Managing to get a few hours sleep off and on throughout the night, we arrived in Östersund ahead of schedule which gave me optimal time to get to a nearby bakery called Edenbos before the train departed yet again. A breakfast sandwich, a kanelbullar (cinnamon bun) and a cappuccino to go! Next stop, Duved station!


As my train came one stop away, I got the unfortunate call that my friend was not able to give me a lift out to Storulvån (Jämtland’s Triangle Trailhead) due to some unforeseen events. My instant thought was that I would then need to take a taxi which would cost roughly 1400kr (€122)… Thankfully, I gave my buddy Lucas a call who lived in the area and offered him some money and good banter in exchange for a ride in which he gratefully accepted.


This may have been a dramatic setback otherwise both financially and time wise but the stars aligned and by 9:45am, Lucas and I were on our way to Storulvån!


The first view of Storulvån Fjällstation
Storulvån Fjällstation

We made it to Storulvån just before 11am. Lucas walked me down to the first bridge to see me off and the 16km hike to Sylarnas Fjällstation officially began.


The weather was perfect and it just so happened to be my moms birthday as well! I had been keeping an eye on the weather forecast leading up to this and my window should be good. The first part of the hike lead up through the trees adjacent to some electricity lines. Dry, wet and snowy every so often but before long the first couple kilometers were behind me and from there on, the hike became otherworldly.



Another river crossing took place but this time with a trampoline like suspension bridge. Had a good couple laughs to myself before continuing onward. Lots of boardwalks to help get over the boggy sections which I’ll gladly accept since it’s been well over a year since I’ve done a longer trek. 


As the elevation gained, so did the views and you could really start to make out the destination, Sylarna. Not the fjällstation itself, but the mountain it resides at the base to. Distance is so deceiving when you’re hiking but sure enough, that’s where I would end up in a few hours.



There were cairns all along the path easy enough to spot which would keep anyone from losing the path. Occasionally, I’d come across giant patches of snow that I’d either have to carefully cross using my pole to measure depth or take an alternate route off the path.


Time rolled on and I passed a few good picnic spots and a couple other bridges when I finally I decided to stop for a quick chocolate bar, and admire the sights a bit. It occurred to me that I hadn’t seen a single person yet which even with it being the off season for hiking, still surprising.


The Final Bridge to Sylarna
The Final Bridge to Sylarna

By 4pm (16:00), I reach the final bridge just 4km’s from the fjällstation. There was an old hut just 2km’s up that could also be used for shelter if needed as well. It ended up taking an hour or so to reach the fjällstation due to the mandatory video/photo sessions that would occur. All in all, it took about 6 hours to cover 16km’s which lines up pretty well with my 3km/hour hiking pace. Of course this speeds up or down depending on what kind of scenery is around too!


When I got to the Sylarnas Fjällstation, I noticed everything was boarded up before reading a note on the door saying closed until the summer season which doesn’t begin till July 15th. No wonder I haven’t seen a single soul out here! 



I had debated to set my tent up on the other side of the river so I could be a bit away from the fjällstation but two things occurred to me.


  1. There is nobody here so I can sleep anywhere.

  2. The bridge that’s suppose to be crossing the river is uninstalled.


With no choice about setting up on the other side of the river, I found a nice little corner of the building on a deck and set up camp there. Curious about the river crossing and how it impacts my plans for tomorrow, I went for a walk.


After taking an off the beaten path approach upstream, I located an area that may be passable. I didn’t want to give it a shot tonight because it’s been a long walk and would rather not get wet now. The attempt will have to come or not in the morning. While walking back, I chose to take a higher path which was easier but lead me to a small stream crossing that I’d have to walk on snow over. I could hear the water moving underneath which is a sign that the snow is not thick and should not be crossed but I ignored my own thoughts… Within moments, I dropped down and hit the stream and jumped back up like a cat hitting water. I don’t even think my feet got wet it happened so fast, and all I could say to myself was “Nope, nope, nope.” 


Panorama View of Sylarna Mountain
Panorama View of Sylarna Mountain

Back at camp, I got my little MSI stove out and running to make some dehydrated Pasta Bolognese. I use the REAL brand for hiking because I find it packs a lot of calories into a small lightweight size. 


Then it was time to get organized for tomorrow’s adventure. With the tent all cosy, I put together a day bag that is highly water resistant and put my camera into a waterproof bag. I gathered just a few things that I’ll need for the hike and will go with pants and a sweater to start but will be able to de-layer if need be. Even though the time was only 9pm (21:00), I was wrecked and after not sleeping so well on the train yesterday, I was anxious for a good nights sleep!


 

Day 2 - Sylarna to Blåhammeren


It was nearly 1am and the winds where I had set my tent up were so fierce that it was literally pushing me along the deck. Gusts would come through that would physically lift my feet up off the ground and I knew I couldn’t stay here if I wanted to get any sort of sleep before a big day.


Sunrise at 1am in Sylarna
Sunrise at 1am in Sylarna

I contemplated my options and then remembered there was an emergency shelter on the other side of the fjällstation so I packed down the tent with everything inside and ran it all over in two trips. The sunrise was already beginning to take shape and as beautiful as it looked off in the distance, taking photos and/or videos was the last thing on my mind at this moment. The inside of the shelter was welcoming and warm compared to the hurricane force winds currently going on outside. I sorted out everything that was in the tent and then called it a night for a second time by 2am.


Sylarna Emergency Shelter
Sylarna Emergency Shelter

My alarm went off at 8:30am, and I got up to see how the conditions were looking outside. The mountaintops were covered by low clouds and the wind was still as heavy as it was during the night. I really wanted to give Sylarna Mountain a shot, so I chose to read a chapter of my book and then lie down for another hour. 


By 10:45am, it was time to attempt the mountain peak and the river crossing I had scouted out the previous evening. I grabbed my waterproof bag and headed down to where I thought would be the best place to cross. Unfortunately, the water level had seemingly risen overnight due to the heavy winds and the spring snow melt. I walked further up the river hoping to find another place to cross but after an hour and a half of searching, I realized I was losing this one.


I headed back to the fjällstation where I had left my heavy gear and decided upon my next option. Do I stay here for the day or push on to Blåhammaren Fjällstation which was 19km’s away. I gave myself until 1pm (13:00) for a rest and then headed out the door towards Blåhammaren.


The River Crossing
The River Crossing

The first 4km’s were an overlap of the previous day until I reached the crossroads that led me in an opposite direction. From there the path climbed steadily as I said goodbye to Sylarna. I was feeling comfortable with the hike so far but with a long way to go still, I knew I’d be worn out eventually.


When I reached the halfway mark at 9km’s, I found a comfy spot with a spectacular view to have a quick snack. It was also around this time I realized that I got a solid blister forming on my right heel. 



Pushing on for another few kilometers and I happened to notice the darkest of skies forming behind me. I had checked the weather earlier in the day and was expecting some rain but I guess I still wasn’t prepared for the grim vibe the sky would give off when the time came.


I practically ran for a while trying to make up as much time as possible before the inevitable rain, but mainly I wanted to get over a boggy patch I saw up ahead. My thought was that if the rain gets there first, it’ll be flooded over and I did not want that. Frantically, I made it past the boggy section and quickly found a dry spot to drop my bag and switch into rain gear. Just as I was getting on my pants, the first few drops began to fall. 


The Inevitable Downpour
The Inevitable Downpour

It didn’t take long before the full pour began and not long after that when it turned to hail. The sections became extra muddy and increasingly more difficult to navigate without getting my feet wet.


Luckily, the rain didn’t last for too long and the sun came back out. I came to a sign stating that I only had 4km’s to go and by this point, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. It was far from over still and immediately afterwards, I came to a river flowing with no clear crossing except for a snow bridge. Instantly, I thought of the thin snow bridge I fell through yesterday which lead me to look for an alternative crossing. After searching for 20 minutes or so upstream and seeing no sign of a safer place, I unclipped my backpack to ensure that it’d be easy to get off in the event I do fall through and then sent it. My heart was probably beating faster than normal at this moment but the bridge was very sturdy and no sound of water running underneath it which meant it was indeed quite thick.



There would be a couple more sections of snow that I would need to cross but nothing nearly as adrenaline pumping. By this time, the rain had become nothing but a mere drizzle and my first sight of the fjällstation appeared. It must still be a good 2km’s ahead but the fact I could see it now was motivational. 


Blåhammaren's Fjällstation
Blåhammaren's Fjällstation

One final sketchy crossing laid before me and then it was smooth sailing from there. I even noticed a good looking waterfall that I have every intention to go back to tomorrow when I have a full day relaxing in the area. Almost 7 hours later, I finally arrived at my destination and didn’t hesitate to get making some food.


Instead of setting up the tent straight away, I decided to check the building for shelter and made myself at home. Tomorrow, I plan to sleep in my tent but after the long day I just had, I’ll take the comfort life!


Made Myself Right at Home
Made Myself Right at Home

Dinner tonight was a Vegan Sweet Thai Chili and it hit the spot. Now a good nights sleep and hopefully some good weather for exploring the proximity tomorrow!


 

Day 3 - Blåhammaren


I awoke this morning at 4am to a warm glow on the building out my little cabin window. In anticipation of a welcomed sunrise, I gathered the drone and took off. A magical sight to behold, especially when you can barely open your eyes at this point of time. The brisk air woke me up and the warmth of the sun on my face made me feel so relaxed. 


Morning Glow
Morning Glow

Since it was quite early still, I thought it best to get some more sleep and laid back down to read a bit of my book until I drifted back off to sleep.


Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children is the book series I’m currently into and this one in particular titled “The Consolation of the Birds” is the fifth novel in a six part series. Highly recommend it if you’re looking for something of fiction!


Eventually, I grabbed my little day bag and hiked a couple kilometers out to what I thought was a waterfall but it ended up being just a bit of a stream. Maybe the rain yesterday made it look more intense? Either way, it was a good place to fill up my water and relax for a bit.



Not having many plans today allowed me to practice my Duolingo which is how I practice my German. During my session, I heard the door to the cabin open and thought “Wow, there is still other people.”


A man poked his head in and was surprised to see me, and I instantly spoke up and said “I haven’t seen anyone for over 48 hours now, how are you doing? My name’s Chase!”


We got talking about where he was from (Netherlands) and where he was heading which happened to be where I just came from so I gave him some advice on what to watch out for including the inevitable snow bridge 4km’s down the trail. We chatted for a bit and then said good luck to each other before he headed off down the trail and I went out to start setting up my camp for the night.

Tent Setup for the Night
Tent Setup for the Night

I was able to find a perfect little spot that had an overhanging rock that would be ideal when it came to cooking my final dinner of the trip. Enough shelter to block out any wind and knowing my gas canister was running low, I needed to be conservative. 


Moon Rising over the Mountains
Moon Rising over the Mountains

The rest of the afternoon was calm and chill. I turned my airplane mode off on the phone noticing the cell tower nearby and boom, 5G! While I use hiking as a way to disconnect, it was really nice to have access to the online features of Duolingo to get some extensive German practice in. I may have also used it to FaceTime my dad and show him the views and get his famous remark “And this is why I don’t need to travel, I have you.” Haha.  The thought occurred to me soon after that there could be a possibility of a geocache here since there was reception and while there was in fact one nearby, I wasn’t blessed with the skill of geocaching. Welp, back to the tent I went and it was Chili Con Carne with a side of peanuts that I forgot I had on the menu tonight.


I set a meet up point with my friend Annie to be in Storulvån tomorrow at 1pm (13:00) which was 12km’s away. Knowing that my average pace is 3km/hour, I’m expecting to be packed and off by 8am in order to give myself a little extra room for anything unexpected.


With that said, I packed it in for the night and got comfortable in my sleeping bag before continuing to read some more of book #5.


 

Day 4 - Blåhammaren to Storulvån


Just as the previous day entailed, I awoke to the feeling of the sun warming my face in the early morning. Knowing very well that it must only be about 4am, I turned over, readjusted my sleeping mask and knocked out for a few more hours. When the clock struck 7:15am, my alarm went off and it was time to get packing.


Having pre-packed nicely the night before, it was as simple as stuffing the sleeping bag and deflating the newly bought Nemo air mattress which I must say has been extremely comfortable. The tent came down next and by 7:50am, I was ahead of schedule and on my way towards Storulvån.


I reckon I walked about 500 meters before I heard the sound of a reindeer. The issue was that I was in the middle of nowhere and I was having trouble deciphering where the noise was actually coming from… And then I saw it! As majestic as those beautiful animals could ever be strolling along the trail I had come in on a couple days prior. I set my backpack down, grabbed my camera and started walking toward it hoping to get a closer shot of it. To my surprise, it liked the attention and also started walking towards me. I stopped and began to film and take photos as it strolled just a mere 20 meters or so away. 



After the emotional interaction with the reindeer, I took the opportunity to head down to the lake located nearby and attempt some reflection shots on the calm water. To my surprise once again, I managed to capture a hare and it’s reflection off in the distance not even knowing. What an absolute crushing start to the day!


Checking the time, I went from being ahead of schedule to behind schedule but that’s exactly why I wanted to give myself extra time. I just expected the delays to be more trail oriented obstructions rather than fauna based given the fact I hadn’t seen any animals the last three days.



The trail itself was easy going, probably the easiest of the paths I had taken thus far. I was having a good pace and only having to navigate around a couple snow fields here and there. The views from here were some of my favourite being able to truly see the Jämtland’s mountains in all directions.


Stream Flowing On
Stream Flowing On

At one point, I began walking adjacent to a running stream which had mellow little waterfalls every so often and an abundance of mini drops that made for some fun photography moments. I used one of these locations to have myself a break as well!


Soon after, I reached a sign that let me know I was now halfway to Storulvån with 6km’s to go and that made me think… At my pace, I’ll be there in 2 hours and that will put me at 12:20. Ahead of schedule once again! Then moments later I came to a crossing that was clearly made for the summer when the water level is lower… Time to take the boots and socks off to get a little wet. 



Eventually, I made my way back into the trees and this is where the trail system took a bit of a turn. The snowfields were no longer hard and compact, often making me sink up to my knees at times and the mud thick from the melting snow. Sometimes, I needed to navigate well off the main trail in order to bypass flooded areas. This was EXACTLY the reason I wanted to give myself that extra time.


Entering the Trees

Being within the stale water and bogginess also brought in the mosquitoes that I’ve happily avoided this whole hike. The other con to being in the thickness of trees was the sense of humidity that comes with it. I couldn’t find a balance between having my sleeves rolled up and my pant legs tied at the knees for a breeze, but get attacked by mosquitoes or keep them all long to deter the mosquitoes but feel the heat. To be honest, I didn’t mind falling through the snowfields from time to time just to cool off a bit.



The biggest patch of snow yet laid waiting ahead and when I got to it, I just stopped and stared. At this point I could see the Storulvån Fjällstation out in the distance roughly 2km’s away. It was one of those moments where you feel so close, yet so far away. My only option was to hike upwards to get up and around because this snow patch had a heavy stream running underneath and falling through it could have been a rough ride. When I got up to the clearing, I checked the time and decided to turn my airplane mode off to see if I had reception here. Annie had tried to contact me, so I gave her a FaceTime right away and had a laugh when I saw the background knowing very well she was nearby.


I showed her how close I was and we said “Vi ses snart” (see you soon). Managing to get around that ridiculously big patch of snow, I came to another… and another. This last bit was proving much more difficult than anticipated having to pretty much stay off trail for a whole kilometer. 


When I arrived at the final kilometer, I noticed that it’s the branching point I went through on the first day when I was on my way to Sylarnas Fjällstation. Knowing very well at this point that the hard part was over and it would be easy going beside the electrical lines back to the fjällstation. Each corner I took expecting to see Annie and her little boy. I got closer and closer with no sign of them and started to wonder if they had somehow gotten lost.


The Pickup Crew!
The Pickup Crew!


Right on schedule, I made it back to Storulvån at 12:45pm where I ran into Annie and her family. Her mom and dad had been up visiting for the week so it was nice to meet them as well! I quickly flew my drone for some shots of Storulvån Fjällstation and then we piled into the car together back to Åre.


What an unbelievable four days and the fact that I only saw one person on one of Sweden’s most popular hikes was certainly mind boggling. Definitely recommend this one and especially in the off season if you don’t mind a bit of remoteness feel to it.






*Note - You could always take a train to Storlien and then hike into Blåhammern to start the triangle from there. It would add on an extra 40km’s in total but save you the hassle of trying to get to Storulvån.

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