Saturday, August 6, 2016

Stigstu - Finnsbergvatnet

Massiv day 6.
Distance: 26.1km (139.5km), time spent: 9:53 (50:51).
Ascent / descent: 661m (3994m) / 668m (3768m).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 1223m / 1209m / 1362m.
Weather: Fog in the morning, then overcast, evening sun.

A small gust goes through my body when I cross the courtyard between the annex and the main cabin at Stigstu. Outside, the fog is dense, as in a fairy tale. It is almost as if the fog seeps through tiny openings in the walls and windows. The guests sits down inside in front of the breakfast table, yesterday they gathered, today they became separated again, each to their own direction.

Stigstu shrouded by fog in the morning.

That I will not be spending the night at Krækkja is decided, but that does not mean that I will not pay a visit to the cabin. In a way, you could say that I have fallen into a routine now, hike to a staffed cabin, take a break and then continue on to find a place to camp (and get a stamp in Massiv passport).

Mistwalkers on the moorland above Stigstu.

Last time I went here, between Krækkja and Stigstu, was in the winter-summer of 2012. At that time, there were a lot of snow in the mountains, although it was more modest here than in other areas. I cannot see any snow now, just the fog lying thick above the ground. Still, the fog is not as thick as pea soup, the path is clearly visible, though you do not see that far. I had better views that summer, so it does not matter that I wander amongst gnomes and fairies today, rather than looking at distant mountains.

A window in the mist. The valley below Skaupsjøbrotet appears underneath the clouds for a short while.

Stigstu disappeared at least quickly in the fog, and if someone stood and watched me when I left the cabin, they probably just saw a solitary figure who disappeared among the clounds, slowly swallowed up by them. Above the moorland clouds are drifting, slight howls from the wind and occasionally small glimpses of view. Small lakes and ponds appears and sinks back into oblivion.

Above Lundhaukedalen, the fog has lifted somewhat and more and more views remains.

Behind me, I am being chased by a group that yesterday came from Rauhelleren, in front a dog is dragging on the rains, apparently it does not like having people walking in front of him. Competitive instinct at large. We talked together a great day yesterday and at the breakfast table today; and after they overtake me, we walk for some time together talking along the way. With lighter backpacks and not hindered by an equal desire to take pictures, they gradually disappears into the fog and the cloudy landscape. I overtake them one last time, when they stop for a lunch break, and then they disappear for good when I stop for my lunch by Skulevikåne. For them the journey ends at Halne.

On the way towards Halne with Halnekongen visible behind, the road barely visible as a thin line.

At Lundhaukedalen, the clouds have been lifted higher up into the sky, the landscape in the horizon is greeting me welcome. Highway 7 (R7) at Halne marks a nice border between the flat eastern part of Hardangervidda and the more torn scenery where Massiv is approaching Skarvheimen. After walking a long way from any high trafficked road for some time, you have to remember to look around when crossing the road. I have no wish to stay long next to the road (or any road), to I quickly walk on. The most distinctive landmark here, Halnekongen, has long been visible.

After Halne Fjellstova, the trail slips into a more rocky, gnarled and rugged landscapes when Massive is approaching Skarvheimen.

Halnekongen is tempting me, but I continue on, resisting the temptation. The top beckons again, I have to take time to think, but resists the temptation again. The clouds does not resist the temptation, they often climb up to gaze out over the landscape. As I does, over the more gnarled scenery above Krækkja.

At Krækkja, the cabin is being improved, the place looking like a construction site more than a tranquil place in the mountains. Even though the cabin is getting bigger, there will be no more places to sleep there. Not allowed, a bit baffling given that the Norwegian trekking association (DNT) still has the unwritten rule that no one is to be turned away even if it is full. Which means that the only difference is that people have to sleep on mattresses on the floor instead of a bed. The point is, if people are determined to get out and know they we will get a shelter for the night, fewer beds available will not prevent them from coming.

On the way down from Halnebotnane where you can look down at Krækkja. From here, the construction works at the cabin is clearly visible.

I arrive at DNT's staffed construction site together with another hiker, who turns out to be married to the hostess at Fagerheim Fjellstugu. They have a full house today he tells over a cup of coffee, as opposed to here, but it will probably be more people here eventually. When he walks on to return to Fagerheim to help with the evening dinner there, I sit down in the fireplace lounge with a cold beer (heard that before?). The lounge is untouched by the work, except for some scaffolding outside the window.

A rocky landscape, a lonesome hiker and dramatic clouds greets me between Drageidfjorden and Finnsbergvatnet.

Leaving Krækkja, I go with the expectation that it will rain, ominous clouds lies heavily over the mountains and Hardangerjøkulen (the famous glacier in the north of Hardangervidda), ready to drop its load. At Drageidfjorden, I meet some of those who have hiked the long way from Finse, expectant of soon reaching Krækkja. For me, the trek is head, past Drageidfjorden, rocky mounds and small suspension bridges over babbling rivers and streams. Dramatic clouds, the world in dark hues.

Roughly two hours later I come to Finnsbergvatnet, at a convenient time to stop for the day. At the southeastern end of the lake is a good campground, with nice views of the lake and towards Helveteshorga with Hardangerjøkulen as background. When the backpack is on the ground and the tent brought out, I only wait for the first raindrops to appear, but instead the layer of clouds are breaking up in the west.

A wonderful evening sun above Finnsbergvatnet when dinner is prepared.

What follows is the finest evening of the trip so far, it is also the last night. When I sit outside preparing the dinner there is a great evening sun over Helveteshorga and Finnsbergvatnet. The clouds disappears rapidly and above me blue sky is making its entry, while in the horizon the clouds lie like waves across the mountain, just not moving.

Evening at Finnsbergvatnet.

In the evening, when the sun has disappeared behind the glacier, and the verge of the mountains has assummed a reddish hue, the temperature drops again. I creep into the tent and relax before the night closes on the landscape. From fog to a lovely evening sun, a varied day where I have moved from Hardangervidda towards Skarvheimen.

Map of the trail for the sixth day on Massiv, from Stigstu to Finnsbergvatnet.

<- StigstuFinse ->

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