Three-hundred and eighty-five kilometers over rivers and bogs and mountains, oh my. My intrepid husband and I hiked north through Norway from Ringebu toward Kristiansund for three weeks in July. We slept in our trusty tent two weeks and overnighted in DNT cabins the other seven days, when we decided our bodies and gear could use some drying. After all, this was a holiday and not a test of endurance, although some days certainly did test our endurance.
(Tustna, Stabblandet, & Ertvågsøya behind Skålvikfjorden, seen from Flatfjellet in Halsa in Møre and Romsdal, above. Looking back toward Trollheimen on our way from Vindølbu to Sæterseter, below)
Norway is pretty boggy. It is also not flat. Combine climbing a mountain with boggy ground and rain and what do you get? Sweaty. You also combine all my least favourite things. That day tested my mental and physical endurance, even if we did get some fantastic views over foggy Trollheimen. (Gjevillvatnet on our right, Indre Gjevillvasskamben ahead, snow underfoot)
There was still significant snow along Storlifjellet toward Mellomfjellet and we saw no tracks before us: Sometimes a rock with a little red T stood above the far horizon. Mr. P is good with a map so we knew where the path ran underneath the snow. We were cautious, unclipping from our backpacks and paying attention to snow depth. A herd of reindeer crossed the snow over a stream before us. Good news – if that snow can hold reindeer, it can hold us and our 12 kilo packs. By the way, 12 kilos can feel pretty heavy if you unclip from your hip belt for many kilometers. (Indre Vulutjønna, Nord-Fron in Oppland between Eldåbu and Bjørnhollia DNT cabins)
This hike was a continuation of our first long-distance foray through Norway from Oslo to Otta in 2015. We like the subtle green-rock terrain of Rondane and Dovrefjell and were lucky enough to spot muskox again this year. The repetition of a day’s worth of terrain also showed us how we’ve grown in our hiking abilites. We have better gear now, Helsport sleeping bags that can withstand colder temperatures and pack small for their weight and comfort level (fits inside my the bottom of my 48 litre Osprey Kestrel pack as a perfect shelf for heavy things like food) and a Helsport Fjellheimen Superlight 2 tent. Paying extra for the lightweight tent was a good choice. (Loennechenbua, DNT’s smallest hytte (cabin), Sunndal in Møre and Romsdal)
There are many reasons why we enjoy hiking in Norway. Allemannsretten (everyman’s right) is one. Den Norske Turistforening (DNT) is another. We are members and every krone we pay is worth it. We met a team of volunteers repairing the signature red T rock cairns in Rondane and saw first-hand how much work it is to move rocks and repaint Ts. The knowledge that a dry cabin awaits you can make a rainy day seem more bearable – even better if it has waffles. It is fun for us to chat in Norwegian with locals or English with wanderers from Germany, Poland, or France. We’re not the only crazy people who walk through bogs in the rain and, despite protesting knees, plan to do it again soon. (The last night before we climb some more to reach Halsa and take public transport to Kristiansund)