Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hedmark, Norway 2017 - weather 'n' heights

Sunday saw me start with an early rise again, but this time there was a difference. There was silence. No wind, no rain and nothing stirred. The light was quite different too. So I got up quietly, fired up the stove, put on my anorak and grabbed the camera. I was out before sunrise and I wandered, taking pictures and looking at the world around me until the sun rose.... and then took some more pictures and looked some more. There was so much to see!! The sun felt warm on my face... well warmer, since the morning chill, combined with the moisture, made my fingers numb. I continued operating the camera with thin knitted finger gloves on. The skies continued breaking up, the sun claiming more and more terrain, but Sølen was covered in clouds and what looked like rain.

That dim grey shape in the distance is Sölen

That's the cabin..
After breakfast, an equally fulfilling one as yesterday, we packed up our gear and headed out. As I said the rifle stayed behind. This time we drove a little bit just to reduce time lost hiking alongside the road, before venturing off into the "wild".
What can I say? The landscape was phenomenal, the colours almost overwhelming and weather as good as we could wish for; cool, dry, sunny spells, with a slight breeze. There was so much (very) clean and (very) fresh water around that we not not have bothered filling our canteens and bringing them. But I guess we can put that down to habit.
We did not see any animals except from a number of ducks and small birds, but we came across reindeer- and moosetracks and droppings.
Our first goal was a cabin nearby some smaller lakes. A lovely place, but I did not envy the owners if they were planning on a longer stay here. Everything had to be hauled out here.

An old boathouse

A sip of real mountain dew!!
Picture by Odd
Odd wanted me to show a gorge in the area, before hiking on beyond it, over the flats toward higher ground. That gorge was really something else. On the top it was barren save for the abundant mosses and lichen, where especially the white moss felt like walking over soapy sponges, but in the wind shadow/lee side (?) a small forest grew. Here we decided to take a break and we wanted to see if we could get a fire going. Everything was soaked because of all the rain, so there was a challenge. We did bring back up, just in case....
We set out to explore the area, looking for dead standing wood and Odd collected some crowberries in the process. These were all around and he found some juniper too. Along we way we came across some lingon and blueberries as well. After we had gathered some materials I started preparing the things we found to light a fire and Odd scoured around some more.
We found some previous fire sites, but they were kind of hard to miss. A pile of rocks, charcoal and charred logs strewn all over the place and we found one birch, where some idiot had been hacking into it with what looked like some kind of very big knife; a dozen or so cuts in a row.....
Lunch consisted of woodscoffee, a present from a fellow Dalarna bushcrafter, and chocolate covered oat cookies. Strangely enough neither of us were really hungry.

Picture by Odd

Picture by Odd

After lunch we doused the fire properly and Odd refilled the canteens with water from the nearby lake. There would be no water where we were going next. The next goal was another gorge or crevice on the other side of the height we were facing with some steep drops. So off we went. I must say that I was glad I had brought those walking staves, since this way I could keep my balance much more on this very uneven ground with a backpack on my back. I had strapped a tarpaulin onto the side of the pack since that was where 2 attachment points were located, but I now transferred that tarp into the backpack. The centre of gravity had been too low and the tarp kept bumping into my butt in the most annoying way. The pack immediately rode much better!!
We hiked up the height, but up here there was much more wind. We buttoned up our coats a bit more. By the time we had reached the other side the wind had picked up even more and it was quickly becoming quite chilly. Now even the finger gloves came out! But the landscape was just awe inspiring.... Big skies and big lands...... Up here I tried to erect the Norwegian shelter, but failed. I could not make heads nor tails from the design. It is rhomboid and I could not get straight edges and a heightened center, so we could sit there in case of an emergency. I need to work on that one! We lingered a while longer until we had seen enough, if ever one can do that, but also because in the distance trouble was brewing. If I had learned one thing it was that you do not want to get caught in bad weather out here! You are just too exposed!

A fumbling moron
picture by Odd

That looks like an area with very humid air coming our way!
Picture by Odd

We packed up and turned around, regularly casting a watchful eye over our shoulders. The wind had picked up some more, dropped a few degrees in temperature and the skies were getting darker and darker, clouds rushing overhead as the wind swept them past us.
We did stop occasionally to spot for any form of wildlife, reindeer mostly, but none were seen. We found the trail again at the gorge and followed that one back via the cabin down to the road. The patch leading to the road was the worst part of the hike; boulders and rocks jumbled over one another and the entire path was murder on feet, ankles and legs in general. Very uneven ground. The untrodden and moss covered heights were much more easy on the legs and feet, despite the shrubs and mini birch growing there.
With the car in sight the first drops had started to come down and by the time we sat in the car the skies opened up........

With strong and cold gales in the neck, the hood came up regularly!
Picture by Odd

Picture by Odd

After that the weather just became worse and we were glad to be spending the evening in the warm cosiness of the cabin.
Odd had planned yet another culinary surprise; rakfisk. That is fermented fish...... but not as bad as the infamous Swedish surströmming! I must admit that I was sceptical and when I smelled the fish it indeed was no way near as bad, but still had a smell that would make me chuck the fish right in the bin if I were home. But when one eats it with some raw leeks, mashed potatoes and butter, wrapped in potato pancakes with a dash of sour cream it taste quite good!!
We did not linger to long that night. That much fresh air, exercise, food and a can of beer makes a man sleepy. There would be an early rise the day after and a long drive home again and I was anxious to get home as early as possible, since the dogs would be home alone from the early morning until my arrival.
We packed up as much as possible, went to bed early, rose early, cleaned everything up and left. I dropped Odd of at his parents place, said goodbye and drove off. Here the phone gps played some nasty tricks on me, sending me circling through the village, making me end up before a closed railway crossing. Another lesson learned; prepare your route and NOT rely on technology solely. I have to admit that I did not keep to speed limits all that much, regarding them more as a guideline instead of a rule and 5hrs. 10 minutes later I was home.......


  1. That sums it up quite good. Days well spent, despite bad weather. Guess we payed for the very good weather we had last year. Thanks for taking the time comming over and keeping me company. Looking forward to next years adventure already.

    1. The pleasure was all mine!
      And this weather too has a charm of its own.
      Ready for Rogen?? ;)