Endless expanse: Hardangervidda

Today it rains quite heavily and there is a strong wind. That is why I decided to just have a short hike to the next cabin Kjeldebu and to continue to Finse tomorrow (the weather is supposed to get better).

Infact the weather in the last days has been changeable. When I departed from Haukeliseter, Hardangervidda greeted me with fog and rain and the landscape became one white-greyish soup that was hard to orientate in. Luckily it soon got better and in the centre of Hardangervidda I could enjoy some sunshine.

Along my way through Hardangervidda the mountainous landscape around Haukeliseter transitioned into a hilly plateau with a spectacular visibility. At the same time the amount of snow decreased.

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On my way to Litlos I met the first other NPLers (Philipp: the game is on ;): Kristian Fredrik Meyer Ødegård and Maiken Larsen started in February at the North Cape and did the first stages with skis. They also gave me there blog adress – mangemil.no if you want to have a look.

In the centre of Hardangervidda I also saw a flock of wild reindeers. Unfortunately they were to fast for me and my camera 😉

Tomorrow I am heading for Finse thus leaving Hardangervidda and entering Skarvheimen.

Snow in Summer: Setesdals- & Ryfylkeheiane

No, do not be afraid – I am not doing drugs now 😉 But there was actually still a lot of snow in Setesdals- and Ryfylkeheiane. Once I came above some 1100 m a big part of the landscape (including the lakes) was still covered by a thick layer of snow. In this regard this stage was like a walk through the seasons: ascending from lovely valleys to rough, snowy hills. It felt always like a colour explosion when I descended into the next valley.

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On this stage I also reached the first cabins of the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT). For those of you who are not familiar with the DNT or its cabins, just a short overview: The DNT runs more than 500 cabins all over Norway. Some of them are staffed, some are self-serviced (i.e. with a food storage) and some are unstaffed. They are really cosy places were hikers can spend the night (or several days) and meet other people.

 

In the second cabin on my way, Øyuvsbu, I met Berghild, Borghild and Guri. They were doing dugnad (voluntary work) there and giving the cabin a spring cleaning. Two of them had cycled Norge på langs some years ago in just 4 weeks in June. They were really interested in my trip and we had a nice evening together. They also told me about a girl who had been there the night before and was also hiking Norge på langs. So now I got word of tree people who are on the same mission as I am, but the first personal encounter has yet to occur 🙂 The girl had decided to follow the road again from Øyuvsbu so that I could not catch up with her. The next morning, before my departure, the three women offered me egg and bread for breakfast and also gave me  Kvikk Lunsj for my way. Furthermore, I did not have to take care of the dishes or the cleaning of the cabin – they were taking care of everything. Better than any hotel 😉 Tusen takk Berghild, Borghild and Guri!

Some of the cabins are equipped with a radio and on one night I was listening to a broadcast from the Semper Opera in Dresden. Strange feeling to sit in the Norwegian wilderness and to listen to a concert from home 🙂

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On my way over Heiane I also passed by Blåsjø: A huge lake with the biggest reservoir dam I have seen so far. The view from the opposite mountains cannot be described with another word than breathtaking!

Another thrilling part on this stage was to find out if the summer bridges had already been planted. Some of them luckily had while others had not. Because of that I had a deep wading passage close to the cabin Svartenut. At the cabin Bossbu the bridge had been destroyed during the winter. When I arrived there, I tried to wade the river. Two attempts failed, because it was just to deep and the stream to strong. While I was busy trying, the sun disappeared behind the mountains and it suddenly got cold. So what to do? I could either have walked around the adjacent lake or tented where I was. I decided for option B and, ironically, tented some 300 m away from the cabin. Luckily I found a wading passage the next day so that I skipped walking around the lake 🙂

 

On this stage the GPS proved really useful, because most of the way marks were still covered by snow and it would have been hard to find the way otherwise.

I also have to mention that I was still really lucky with the weather. Not a single day of rain, but mostly sun. The first raining day was my resting day today – what a timing!

Unfortunately, I could not take photos with my mobile, because I ran out of battery. But I will try to upload the pics from my camera asap.

Tomorrow Hardangervidda is waiting for me 🙂 I hope everyone is doing well! Best, Jakob

The long way into Heiane: Fjotland – Ljosland

Today I finally arrived at Ljosland Fjellstove after some though days and now, after having enjoyed a big pizza and after having done my laundry I even have access to a computer and thus the possibility to upload some photos from my camera 🙂

Just check out some more pictures in my Google photos album.

To avoid walking on streets all the way to Knaben I decided to follow the road to Eftestøl and to take an unmarked path from there that was drawn in in my map. It turned out that it wasn`t actually a path most of the time – rather a mix of scrubs and swamp where I had to find my way through 🙂 In return it offered spectacular views on a scenic valley. Around noon I disturbed the nap of a Northern Viper that was lying in front of a weekend hut. After I had been waiting respectfully for some moments it returned and let me pass. At the end of the valley it turned out that the “unmarked path” in that part was not  walkable. The slopes there were so steep that I could hardly climb them without a bag (which I tried first) let alone with a bag of 30 kg. That is why I decided to follow the valley to the end and to find the least steap slope to Knaben there (according to the map). Even there I had to unpack my bag at the steapest part and to carry it up in several portions to be able to overcome the altitude. Because of those unexpected difficulties I did not make it to Knaben on that day as planned, but camped a bit South of Knaben Gruvene.DSC06037

The next day I finally  entered the hiking trail network and found myself in a beautiful mountain landscape not much later, offering spectacular views on partially snow covered hills, mountain lakes and streams. The first streams had to be waded through and the first snow fields had to be crossed. On one of those snow fields, covering part of a slope, my left leg was suddenly gone til the thigh. So I had to drop my backpack and slide down separately. On this day I also almost culled a Grouse (rype) with my feet. It had decided to hide from me – unfortunately the hiding place was directly on the trail. One meter before I would have stepped on it, it suddenly flew away. I think both of us were pretty startled in that moment 😉 On that day I found myself a nice camp site near a mountain lake and continued to Ljosland today.

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I am still really lucky with the weather. The sun is shining most of the time and it is summerly hot even in the mountains. A nice bonus there is that you can drink cold water from streams or refresh yourself with some snow 🙂

Hit the road Jack: Kvås – Eiken

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The last 2 days I literally hit the road since there were no hiking trails available in that part.

On the 30th of May I went from Kvås to Eiken. Around lunchtime I came across a supermarket that I had not found during my online researches. While I was enjoying lunch on a bench outside an elderly guy came up to me and asked me what I was up to. His first comment was “then you haven’t come far”. Afterwards he wanted to know more about my route. When I explained it to him, he asked me if I had brought a fishing rod, because according to him there are a lot of nice fishing lakes in Setesdalsheiane. When I denied he could not believe it and told me that I absolutely had to get hold of a little telescope fishing rod and a fly (“Veier jo nesten ingenting.”). I will think about it – at the moment my backpack is heavy enough as it is 😉 In general it is a nice thing about the rural areas that people just approach you and start a chat. In the last two days people already knew what I was up to. They are used to it and tell me that every year around that time some NPL guys are passing by. The standard intro question now is “Skal du til Nordkapp?” (Are you heading for the North Cape?)

Although there was little traffic on the roads and the scenery was nice, it was sometimes hard to motivate during those two days, because if the street just goes on for what appears an endless time, you are exhausted and your body hurts you sometimes just want to throw the bag away and continue without. Luckily I withstood that temptation so that I now still have my tent and can enjoy the setting sun at the shore of Fjotlandsvatnet the endpoint of todays walk 🙂

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