Monday, August 1, 2016

Haukeliseter - Sandflofossen

Massiv day 1.
Distance: 16.3km (16.3km), time spent: 4:07 (4:07).
Ascent / descent: 726m (726m) / 373m (373m).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 988m / 1341m / 1378m.
Weather: Overcast but stable in the beginning, then rain and a lot of wind, overcast in the evening.

Massiv is a new long distance trail made by the Norwegian trekking association, Den Norske Turistforening (DNT). It has been given its name since it is going through four massive mountain areas in Norway, massive and iv. The trail begins at Sota Sæter from where it passes through Breheimen, Jotunheimen, Skarvheimen and Hardangervidda where it ends at Haukeliseter, it is about 350km long. This summer, my plan was to go on a walkabout on Hardangervidda and finally get to the top of Hårteigen. I have wanted to climb that mountain so many times, but I have never got to do it. Then the thought of hiking the Massiv trail hit me.

Homemade vacuum-packed dinner for my hike. Four bags of minced meat that I have fried and dried, four bags of basis for a stew (from the shop) and four bags of barley salad.

However, when I checked the timetable for the bus from Oslo to Dønfoss bridge for today (Monday), it was not exactly many seats available, in fact there were none. I considered taking the night bus, although I am not very enthusiastic about sitting up during the night unable to sleep, something I cannot do on a bus. Sota Sæter is located about 30 kilometres from where the bus stops. There is a taxi service available, which on certain days only charges a bus fare for the ride. Not today. I have to pay the usual taxi fare for the ride. Since I had to take a night bus and pay about thousand (Norwegian) kroner (NOK) to get to Sota Sæter, I have instead chosen to reverse the route and start from Haukeliseter. That way, I get to do a walkabout on Hardangervidda after all. I have a week available, it should suffice to get me to Finse.

From the start of my hike on Massiv, on the ascent from Haukeliseter. The trail originally begins from Sota Sæter going southwards, but I have chosen to reverse the route and walk it from here. I will only go for one week, which will allow me to complete the Hardangervidda-section of the trail. Overcast in the beginning, but dark clouds are threatening.

The bus going to Haukeliseter (Haukeliekspressen) is not arriving until around half past three, so there will be a late start for me. After a small but good meal and two beers(?), I begin walking. My first hike alone in the mountains also started here from the DNT cabin at Haukeliseter, I remember that the ascent from the cabin felt like an eternal climb. It has become easier over the years.

View over Loftsdokktjønn, still small glimpses of blue sky are visible.

The sky is overcast at the start of the hike, many clouds, in the horizon they are dark, but no rain. It is nice weather for walking, but when I am at the top of the pass below Vesle Nup, before going down towards Mannevatn, rain is coming. With the low temperature, rain and wind, the walk now makes me feel chilly. The rain takes a break down by Mannvatn, but towards Holmasjøen it picks up again. On my said first hike, I camped down by the lake, then it was sunny and warm, now it is anything but that.

Dark clouds above Haukeliseter when I am on my way into the wilderness, with rain clearly visible above the DNT cabin alongside the E134.

The rain finally came when I was below Vesle Nup, for a short while, everything of view in the mountains were grey and imprenetable. Gusty and cold.

I do not have all the time in the world today, due to the late start. When I arrive at the small bridge that crosses the river above Sandflofossen, I call it the day, with the clock being a quarter past eight. There will still be bright for some time, but I want to have some time in the evening to relax. Back home, my first thought was that I should be able to get to Simletindvatnet, but then I saw that reaching Holmasjøen would be more realistic, this was a reasonable compromise. Not only due to the time. At Holmasjøen, the wind was blowing fiercely, but after the lake you cross a hill. On the other side of the hill, where I have stopped, there is shelter from the wind. I have been out for four hours and managed to walk about 16 kilometers, I should feel content with it.

Holmasjøen, planned to stop and camp at this lake, but despite the dark clouds it is still bright enough to be able to proceed further. In addition, the wind was blowing sharply and camping in shelter from the wind is preferable.

Fortunately, the rain has subsided for the moment when I find a place to pitch my tent, but the ground is wet all over. The walk from Haukeliseter was still nice, in spite of the weather. I have hiked here several times, this being one of my favorite mountain areas in Norway. And I especially enjoy it here in this part of the plateau, which is the western part of Hardangervidda, this part feels more wild and rugged than the eastern part.

Pitch black on the other side of Holmasjøen, and a fierce wind.

The biggest problem that I find with Massiv, is that the trail looks planned to pass by as many as possible of the staffed cabins. That is all very well in its own way, spending an evening and a night at one of DNT's staffed cabins in the mountains is a luxury, but for those who want to camp (like me), it poses a small problem. Food. The route passes by very few self-served cabins, where it is possible to buy provisions on the way. Another thing is that it is expensive in the long run to stay at the staffed cabins, considering accommodation, the three-course dinner, breakfast and packed lunch. Not to mention if you have a crawing for wine or beer. I do not want to carry food for a whole week, so I will base myself on two stays in cabins along the way (the cabins in mind are Litlos and Krækkja).

Satisfied with the walk, even though it is windy, gusty and cold. On my way across a hill towards Sandflofossen, during a break in the rain.

My campsite above Sandflofossen.

I have carried dinner for four nights in my backpack. Not a commercial freeze-dried food like Real turmat that you get here in Norway, or something like that. This time, I have prepared my own food. Fried and dried minced meat, which I have vacuum-packed together with corn and pineapple. Four bags. Then I split up two bags of stew basis that you get from the store, into four bags. In addition, I vacuum-packed a barley salad for each dinner.
I prepare my first dinner on my hike, while I am sitting outside and freezing a little. It is chilly and definitely not warm in the mountains now. I start by cooking up my casserole, in which I have put water and one of the bags of stew basis, before I mix into one of the bags of minced meat, served with salad. It works great and the food tastes really good (though, almost everything tastes good when you are in the mountains and are hungry), the view while eating is also quite nice.

Dinner in the evening, my homemade food felt just as good as the hiking food I get from the sports store. A pasta stew with a lot of minced meat, together with a barley salad.

When I have crawled into my tent, the rain returns, though only a light drizzle. After a long bus ride from Oslo to Haukeliseter and a hike in varying weather, I am too sleepy to stay awake for long. A warmness spreads in my body after tucking my self into my sleeping bag, which does not help when it comes to stay awake. Rain drums lightly on the canvas, from outside, I can hear the roar of the river, my eyes slowly closes.

Map of the trail for the first day on Massiv, from Haukeliseter to Sandflofossen.

Grøndalsvatni ->

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