Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sløtatjernet - Skogadalsbøen

Massiv day 14.
Distance: 22.9km (314.5km), time spent: 9:26 (121:07).
Ascent / descent: 581m (9834m) / 1087m (9996m).
Altitude (start / end / highest: 1324m / 816m / 1430m.
Weather: Dark clouds, a lot of wind, several rain showers.


Not the longest day on my hike so far, but definitely among the hardest, if not the hardest one. Plenty of ascent, a cumbersome surface (lots of rocks, wet) and changing weather saw to that. Jotunheimen is mighty, with massive mountains and jagged peaks, the backside to this is that this part of Norway also is very rocky. And when the stones gets wet, they become treacherous to walk on. Though, as this became one of the toughest days on the hike, it also became one of the best.

At the summit of Torshamaren with a view over Tyin, with a light at the end of the tunnel.

My breakfast on the hike, when camping, consists of porridge, made from pre-prepared portions. I have a lot more of these prepared bags of porridge left than I need, given that it has become more nights at cabins than originally planned. The solution is however, very simple, double portions for breakfast. There are tiny drops of rain in the air when I pack together, but my tent is relatively dry when I continue walking. There is less if any sign of dryness in the clouds above me.

Snowy contrats. The trail passing over a snowbank on the way to Rusteggvatnet.

Shortly after set off, I get derailed. By myself. A quick look up towards Torshamaren is enough. It does not appear to be a long way up to the top, must be good views from there. At least, that was what was on my mind yesterday when I walked beneath it and looked up at those who were at the top then, tiny silhouettes towards the grey sky. I 'hide' my backpack at a large rock and make for a good speed up to the top. From the summit, Tyin is unfolding below me, covered by a grey sky, but at the end there are some light escaping through the layers of clouds. Although there is a lid across the mountains and peaks around me, it does not put a lid on the experience and joy of standing here.

A small window in the clouds let some light shimmer over Rusteggvatnene.

The trail over to Skogadalsbøen is barren, desolate and rocky, it is worst through Uradalen and alongside Uradalsvatnet that carries its name with pride (ur means scree). Here, the stones are slippery and makes no effort trying to get you to walk steadily. The lower part of Uradalen provides some relief, before a huge field of large rocks are barring the way (Storuri) and an ensuing wet, muddy and tiresome path down underlines the claim that this is the hardest day so far.

Kvitevatnet. A barren scenery underneath the grim clouds, not many colours to trace.

There was also not few passages across snow. Especially shortly after setting off, around Rusteggvatnet, but the sheer steep snowbank at the end of Kvitevatnet was the most distinctive. Here, I get the feeling of being a climber, quite exaggerated of course, but I should not make more than one mistake and I would had a painful meeting with the rocks below. Down from Uradalsbandet however, the snowbank was used as a lot quicker alternative for getting down than on the treacherous stones.

Climbing a sheer steep snowbank at the end of Kvitevatnet.

Uranostinden was under constant surveillance by the clouds while it was in my eyesight, but during short moments the supervision floundered and I could see the summit appear out of the clouds. On the way down Uradalen, I met two young girls and one boy on their way to climb the summit. They carried a heavy load and had spent a long time up from Skogadalsbøen. So long, that I for myself was a little bit scared of how much time it would take me to go down there. I do not know how it went, but I hoped that they would get a great climb up to the summit with views (although I really doubt they would).

Uranostinden, for short moment the peak was visible amongst the clouds.

The rain was abating and intensifying constantly during the whole stage. It rains when I eat lunch. But that does not matter. On the west side of Uradalsvatnet there is a large stone with an overhang, you could sit completely dry underneath it.

The angriest encounter of the hike, this lemming hissed so much that it actually was shaking back and forth on the ground, you could probably hear its tiny snarling from far away.

I met the first hiker of the day, coming from the opposite direction, in the north end of Uradalsvatnet below Uradalsbandet. A vigorous old man still hiking in his old hiking clothes, a useful reminder of the equipment hysteria of today. Time had passed since he left Skogadalsbøen, he was going to Fondsbu, which meant still at lof of hours left for him to go. But frankly speaking, I am nothing but impressed.

Flowers next to the path at Hurrungbrestvatnet, Hurrungane with the Jervvassbreen and Maradalsbreen glaciers in the background.

There is a wonderful sight in both ends of Uradalen (if the weather allows). When you walk towards the west, Hurrungane with Jervvassbreen and Maradalsbreen are towering in your line of sight. If you walk east, is the peak of Uranostinden rising majestic upwards. After having maneuvred myself through the wall that is formed by the huge stones at the end of the valley, there is a cacophoni of light in the sky. Then a slippery descent on a muddy path awaits me, where I all the time expect to see my legs disappear underneath me and slide down. It goes fine.

A cacophoni of light above Utladalen between Uradalen and Hurrungane.

A lot of people at Skogadalsbøen as well. So many that there are no places for me in the ordinary rooms and dormitories, I get stowed away in a small cabin outside. Inside the hut there are three rows of shelves, each with three storeys fitting four to five people. Narrow space between the shelves. It will be fun maneuvring past all the people with all our gear. The drying room is complete full. Tenting is slightly more tempting actually, but then I have to continue walking. I never really want to camp next to cabins.

Skogadalsbøen. A cosy DNT cabin, although I felt kind of stowed away.

Looking beyond that, the stay at the cabin is pleasant, with a good fish stew for dinner. The sky was just as mighty as the mountains today, massive clouds swallowing the peaks around me. And although the rain did all it could to make me unhappy, together with a tiresome and slippery surface as times, am I enthralled by todays walk.

Map of the trail for the fourteenth day on Massiv, from Sløtatjernet to Skogadalsbøen.

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