A lot harder than expected!
This is by no means a guide or a tour suggestion; for this, there are lots of good suggestions in Claes Grundsten’s book “Mountain Hiking Around Grövelsjön”. He is a much more experienced guide to these areas; this is just a description of a short trip in these areas, which at times was much more difficult than I expected.
I bought a one-way ticket with SJ and Dalatrafik to Grövelsjön on a Monday in July, without any real thought of where I would end my hike. Tänndalen? Tännäs? I was going to leave it open. It would turn out to be a decision with interesting consequences this summer.
I got off the bus at a crowded lodge in Grövelsjön and loaded the backpack right away for a hike up Jakobshöjden. The forecast this week was for 100% rain, and at 1103 meters above sea level, it started. The rain. Sideways. The day’s march was unclear, but I decided to go to Grötvallsjön, – about 15 km from the mountain lodge. Between Jakobshöjden and the intended overnight accommodation, there is a smooth and rolling mountain ridge with stones of smaller size. Open expanses and a free lease for the wind. There was no clear path, but I had a hunch about the direction and map and compass, of course. I had both heard and read about the abundance of rocks and stones in this area, but if this was it, the hike would be an easy one. However, my attitude towards the difficulty of the hike would change as early as the next day.
At Grötvallsjön, I camped and enjoyed the first night on the mountain. Freeze-dried food, mountain water, and gently snoozing to sleep by the wind. After breakfast with an incomparable view of the lake and Grøthogna, the journey continued towards Hävlingen, a lake at a lower altitude with accommodations if the famous rocks were too much. But the hike was very enjoyable on ridges over cloudberry and meadow wool-filled bogs and slightly downhill to the headland between Hävlingen and Sörsjön. Heavy-duty hiking boots, reasonably well-trained, and a substantial solo pack. Everything felt good! After lunch, I decided to continue on towards Slagusjön instead of stopping halfway at Hävlingen. From the southern end of Hävlingen, the path winds up through sparse pine forest at the edge of Töfsingen’s nature reserve, and the ground becomes increasingly rocky. The trail here, up Olåsen, is walked very slowly – sometimes I think I do less than 1 km per hour. These are stones from hell. It slopes slowly upward for a long time, and it becomes so difficult that I have to laugh at the misery. Sometimes the path consists of only rocks and stones, and there is no trail left—just your own ability to navigate these monstrous obstacles in the easiest way possible. I give a thought of gratitude to my choice of really sturdy hiking boots and a pair of hiking poles.
Finally, I am in a mountain birch forest and can sense the bare mountain in the distance. The last bit up towards Slagusjön, it rains “cats and dogs” again, but it’s thankfully easy hiking on ridges. I met a German woman, and we talked a bit about the rocks before we continued in different directions. I arrived at Slagusjön’s emergency shelter and toilet late this afternoon, and I can finally relieve myself of the backpack and cook some dinner.There are several of us on site, and I notice two companies trying to dry their boots by the stove. They all mentioned they would take the helicopter home the next day and instead make day trips from Grövelsjön. Instead, I attempted an evening trip around the lake but had to turn around halfway due to the moisture in the fields this year, but I did notice a nice sandy beach at the small peninsula on the west side of the lake. Here, I would definitely like to take a dip on a slightly drier summer day!
On the second day, I continued towards Rogenstugan and began early. The three kilometers between Slagusjön and Storrödtjärnstugan offered really rocky hiking but also some nice company from what I think was a heather piper. The bird seemed to circulate around me, and the bird song came from all directions—a wonderful companion this early morning. The hike passed the lodge Storrödtjärnstugan, which this July seemed completely deserted—or perhaps I was just a little too early. The trail is still very rocky, but there are some appreciated stretches on footbridges over bogs.
At the south end of Rogen, it was a good idea to have lunch and coffee to replenish the energy depots before the last sprint towards Rogenstugan. Not much distance left to Rogenstugan I thought. Between Storrödtjärnstugan and Rogenstugan, it’s only 15 km, and I had already walked for quite a long time. But it has now resumed. The kingdom of the stones, the hell of man, the nightmare of bad knees and weak ankles. The terrain was very rocky and difficult to hike, with a gradual and painful ascent. The stones were sometimes large fields with rocks the size of a person; it became important to really keep track of where I put my feet. I stared so hard at the ground that I often forgot to look around. When I completely leave the tree line behind me, the short but strenuous ascent to Tandsjövlen (993 masl) begins. It’s me and some reindeer. The mountain is of the type that constantly tricks you—the next ridge must be the top, right? But no, there will be another. And another. Finally, on top, I’m so tired that I sit down and think hard about why you do this. Of course, it doesn’t take many minutes of recovery before I am captivated by the view. Country with no roads in all directions. No buildings, just wilderness. Without a trace of civilization. Here I am completely alone, and Rogen’s impressive waters dominate the view to the northwest. And I can see today’s end goal: Rogenstugan.
Of course, the trail between the top of Tandsjövålen and Rogenstugan refused to be simple. It continued to be really hard with the uneven terrain and all the rocks; one or two mature cloudberries enlivened me, but most of all I just wanted to arrive at the destination. The last bit on the small peninsula on which the cottage is located felt like a whole day’s march, and once I arrived, I pitched the tent at the specified location and fell asleep right away!
But Rogen then. What a place! After a couple of hours of sleep, I woke up to the sunset (!). And could not help but fall in love with the place. I probably don’t want to go there in the same way again, but I want to come back for sure! Lonely, peaceful, and an incredible lake. The beautiful, quiet evening and night kept me awake for a long time, and all the hardships along the way were (almost) forgotten.
I should have stayed longer, but when I woke up, I wanted to move on. So with packing done and boots on, I decided to take a summer trail to Tännäs, and if I had previously been relatively alone on the trail, I was now totally solo! The path first led to Kärringsjön, then 5 kilometers on a small gravel road before disappearing into the wilderness.In this part, the thumb had to crawl on the map—what was the (deficiently marked) marked trail, and what was the animal trail? Wet bogs were crossed, streams were waded, and secluded summer pastures were visited. The hike was technically easy but navigationally challenging. Not until the evening did I reach Tännäs, and I just had time to buy a chocolate biscuit in the only shop. But I still have to say that this trail was worth the hike. Not only for the pleasant tranquility but for the delicious primeval forest, the flowers of the cattle huts, and the company of the reindeer
After an overnight stay at Lake Lossen at Tännäs, I jumped on Dalatrafik’s bus 164 towards Sveg in the hope of getting a train ticket to Stockholm and my next adventure. But since more people than ever chose to holiday at home this year, all trains and buses were sold out for the next three days, ALL! I checked into the local campsite and decided to discover what Sveg has to offer. Should you ever be stranded in Sveg, I can recommend the excellent Café Cineast (cheap, tasty and super popular!), a walk around the city center with its straight streets and avenues and many old wooden houses, Mankellbron over the river Ljusnan which is one of only two remaining combined car and train bridges in Sweden, a secret statue of Greta Garbo in the middle of the forest outside Lillhärdal (a short journey but still within the Sveg area) and a memorial stone and replica of the first witch executions in Sweden in the 17th century. That’s what you’re discovering when you have to. And in fact, my time in Sveg became unexpectedly enjoyable. Not just because it was stone free.