Monday, July 31, 2017

Slettningsbu - Sløtatjernet

Massiv day 13.
Distance: 25.7km (291.6km), time spent: 10:04 (111:41).
Ascent / descent: 778m (9253m) / 765m (8909m).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 1312m / 1324m / 1342m.
Weather: Overcast, with erratic showers of rain.


From Slettningsbu, I followed Massiv to the next cabin on the trail, Fondsbu, but I did not stop for the night there. Even though I took a long break there. I continued instead further to a lake about an hour away from the DNT cabin, Sløtatjernet. Not the most exciting day on the hike, probably underlined by a somewhat boring weather. Mostly overcast with erratic rain showers.

Both sides of the valley, on the way down from Slettningsbu to the field of cabins between Torolmen and Tyin.

The start of the day quite resembled yesterday, from Slettningsbu the trail quickly descends to the valley below. The walk down was nice enough, but at the bottom of the valley, a downpour and a field with cabins waited for me, I had to change to my waterproofs in the shelter of a transformer shed. Walking through a cabin field is not the most rewarding on a mountain hike (although, there are nice mountains around). While I walk on the path next to the road going through the valley, cars are passing by over the wet tarmac with people looking weird at me (oddly enough) where I go.

A straight road on the Massiv, dark clouds and a walk through a cabin field.

I was yesterday unsure of what possibilities I had of camping next to Tyin, I did count on that it should be possible to put up my tent alongside the water somewhere, but I cannot say that it tempted me. The path next to Tyin is extremely wet and marshy. So much that I choose to walk on the rocks and what little there is of sand on the beach next to the lake instead when possible. It is flat, but even so, incredible cumbersome walking.

Grey water, grey sky, Tyin in grim colours.

The finest part of the walk comes when the trail moves away from Tyin and up towards Trollsjøen next to Fonnkloppeggi. I get a lot more feeling of mountains here than it has been so far today. It is good that there is a bridge over Breikvamsbekken, the water runs strongly in the river. When I stand and look down at Trollsjøen, I think that I probably would have reached walking there today, if I had set my mind to it. At the same time, I think that I am satified having spent the night at pleasant Slettningsbu.

Above Trollsjøen with Jotunheimen in front of me.

Next to the lake there is a small hut. In a sneakpeek through the window, I can see that it is a cosy hut, but one part of the hut is not finished. Strangely enough, I cannot see any door leading in to that part. Just after the hut, I have to cross a small river between the small waters next to Trollsjøen. I just make it across without having to take of my shoes.

A tiny glimpse of the existence of a blue sky behind all the clouds, hear alongside Trollsjøen.

I get company by a buzzard again on the last part along the lake. Loud howls from the wingspan sailing above me. Down a large rock, there is also a rope attached to make sure you do not fall, it is seldom that I meet that here in the mountains of Norway (I then speak about the usual hikes, not climbing). The stone might be slippery when it is rainy weather, but I think it would be no problem going down it now anyway (I still of course have to use the rope).

The heart of Jotunheimen is getting closer, view down towards Bygdin and the mountains behind, on the way to Fondsbu and Eidsbugarden.

The path after Trollsjøen brings you down to a gravel track going along the northside of Tyin (the road continues further up Koldedalen, giving you the possibility of skipping the walk to Fondsbu if you want to). It crosses yet another river with heavy flowing water in, before it comes to the paved road at Tyinholmen. In my mind, I see a lot of walking on a road on this part.

Stone statue of Aasmund Olavsson Vinje outside Eidsbugarden, the first cabin there was build by the poet and journalist.

That I fortunately does not have to do, since I find a path from Tyinholmen that leads you to the cabin field above Fondsbu and Eidsbugarden. From there however, you have to go down between the cabins and on a road to Fondsbu. There are siginificant more people that I meet here than I have met in a long time. Both access to the cabin by car and boat, easy to get there. Although, it is a lot quieter here now than it was for a couple of days ago, when the music festival Vinjerock shaked the foundations of Jotunheimen.

On the way up to Sløtafjellet with Bygdin, Fondsbu and Eidsbugarden below.

At Fondsbu, I take a long break. It is like being back on the Massiv last year. Where I walked to a staffed cabin and relaxed with some cold beers, before venturing out again to find a place to camp at. I eat some simple food and have a couple of beers, while I sit and listen to people around me in the lounge talk about today's and tomorrow's walks. But where the others are moving to the dinner table, I lift up my backpack again and walks up again along the road. To where the trail leaves the road and goes up towards Sløtafjellet. I meet some people on their way down.

My tent next to Sløtatjernet.

At Sløtatjernet, I put up the tent on what little space I can find. It is quite rocky next to the lake, but it is just space enough for my tent. Windy and cloudy, but otherwise no rain. A nice evening, where a lighter layer of clouds later leads to more colours on the sky above me, the mountains and lake. I prepare my homemade hiking dish and feel otherwise content enough with the day, despite not being the most exciting. Now I am for sure in Jotunheimen.

Preparing my homemade hiking dinner at Sløtatjernet.

For tomorrow I have already decided to walk to Skogadalsbøen, I really want to camp, but there is a reason why I choose to go there (I would have walked there anyway, the trail goes there, but my thought involves stopping there for the night as well). That reason can those who reads about my hike, get to read about later.

Map of the trail for the thirteenth day on Massiv, from Slettningsbu to Sløtatjernet.

<- SlettningsbuSkogadalsbøen ->

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Nedre Skavlegiltjernet - Slettningsbu

Massiv day 12.
Distance: 14.9km (265.9km), time spent: 7:09 (101:37).
Ascent / descent: 679m (8475m) / 609m (8144m).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 1242m / 1312m / 1407m.
Weather: Overcast most of the time, but the first day without any rain while walking, came in the evening.


And then I might have exaggerated a little bit too much when it comes to not exaggerate. After having decided to calm down a bit and not to go so long days, distancewise, I ended up with quite the short walk today. Overly short perhaps. The time still disappeared though, I took my time on the way. I chose to go to Slettningsbu, since I could not see that there would be any suitable place after the cabin to camp at, until a long walk after it. From Slettningsbu, you go down to the cabin field between Tyin and Torolmen and I do not want to camp there, I was unsure of the possibilites alongside the shores of Tyin. I stopped at Slettningsbu.

On the way down from Nedre Skavlegiltjernet towards Kyrkjestølane, a view across the valley towards the mountains on the other side, where the clouds lie low.

It had rained during the night, but a break in the weather and wind in the morning made it possible to pack down the tent quite dry. It is grey outside anyhow. From Nedre Skavlegiltjernet the trail goes down into the valley to Kyrkjestølane. Parts of the descent goes through a wonderful birchwood, which provides for a welcome break from the more open scenery you otherwise walk in. With the leaves around me fluttering slowly in the wind through the trees.

Path through a pleasant birchwood down to Kyrkjestølane.

Down in the valley, the route then offer some church history, as it passes right next to the St. Thomas Church at Filefjell, originally a stave church inaugurated to Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterybury from 1162. In 1808, the small stave church was torn since the priests no longer could handle all the fuss related to the church, due to a myth that you could be healed by visiting the church. The church standing there now was built in 1971. The visit at Kyrkjestølane gives me the possibility to waste more time for two waffles and a little bit long awaited cup of hot coffee.

The Church of St. Thomas at Filefjell.

From Kyrkjestølane is Massiv crossing over the mountain area around Slettningsegge, from a road to another road. The ascent is relatively steep, but the terrain after is easier for the feet. It strikes me that if I had not decided to calm it down, I could have made quick headway of this part. The most cumbersome part of the day's stage was the walk next to Austrefjordtjerne and the descent down to Øvre Årdalsvatnet (which Slettningsbu is situated next to).

Going to the summit of Kyrkjenøse, at 1308m, is well worth the short and easy climb up from the path. The opposite side of the summit, the southern side, is very steep, but that provides you with a great view over the valley below and further behind towards Suletinden and Sulefjellet. There is a sting from the wind at the top. The whole edge of the ridge from Kyrkjenøse, past Støgonøse and to Skørsnøse is steep and precipitous on the side facing down towards the valley.

View from the summit of Kyrkjenøse.

Now that I walk at a leisurely pace, take my time and do not rush ahead, I get better time to take in my surroundings. That I usually rush ahead might be an exaggeration, but I am often driven by an urge to keep on walking, to continue further. Too curious to stop at times, and hence do not take a closer look around me where I am then. That being said though, even when I do walk in my usual pace, I still pay attention to what I can see.

A small stranded bush on a mossy rock, at a tiny lake near Slettningen.

You are not quickly done with Slettningen anyway, even how fast you walk. Unless you take the other option at the junction between Slettningen and Grønevatnet. I an pondering if I should take the path that goes through Grønedalen and around the westside of Slettningsegge to Slettningsbu, since it is slightly longer, but my choice still fall upon the route past Austrefjordtjerne. Across the river between the two lakes, I get no quarter, the shoes has to go off.

View over Slettningen with Sulefjellet and Suletinden behind in the horizon. Straight across on the other side is the trail coming up from Kyrkjestølane right next to Kyrkjenøse.

I share my place for lunch with a slightly anxious lemming where the path are moving away from Slettningen, it runs back and forth from behind the stones. As soon as it spots me, it strikes a full retreat. Alongside Austrefjordtjerne is the landscape again dominated by rocks, but much simpler to walk on that in the desert two days ago. Someone has forgotten a cloth doll, a small dog, it now functions as a guardian of one of the cairns.

Another stony landscape, at Austrefjordtjerne.

You get the reward for taking this way to Slettningsbu at the top of the pass before the descent to Øvre Årdalsvatnet. Even with clouds, both bright and dark ones lingering over the mountains, is it a massive and powerful sight. Where the peaks of Jotunheimen reaches towards the sky and are pushing themselves up through the layers of clouds. Another way to say it, is that the clouds are cutting off the top of the mountains. On the other side of the lake below me there are two small dots, the two huts at Slettningsbu. Must be a wonderful view here underneath a clear blue sky.

Magnificent view towards the peaks of Jotunheimen at the pass above Øvre Årdalsvatnet. Slettningsbu is visible on the other side of the lake below.

Along the lake, it is not first and foremost the short, but nice ridgewalk before the cabin that catches my attention. In the air above me, there is now a buzzard circle over me, with its high-pitched howls and wings in full span. It gets an answer from another buzzard shortly after, and then there are two of them sailing through the air, sceptical to what this wanderer on the ground is up to. They fly away just short of before I arrive at the self-served cabin. It is conspicuously quiet there after the howls from the birds.

A buzzard sailing on the air above me, following my every move.

I have fortunately lost so much time on my walk today, that I do not arrive at Slettningsbu too early, which also sort of reaffirms that I do not walk further today. It is a pleasant small cabin. And if I may say so, when it comes to the cabins of the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT), I do like the self-served cabins the best. There is always more of a mood of its own on these cabins than on the staffed ones, which might be attributed to the fact that here you have to do the things yourself to stay (like preparing dinner). For my part, I spend some of the time to wash the clothes I walk in. An excellent excuse to stay one night at a cabin.

A short, but nice ridgewalk next to Øvre Årdalsvatnet before arriving at Slettningsbu.

Later, I see some others coming from the other side of the lake and I do not become alone as I first believed. Yet another couple doing a part of Massiv, they started their walk today from Sletterust at Torolmen (a short walk from here). It turns out afterwards, as repeatedly has been proven, that the world is small. One of them has been the girlfriend of one I played football with from my homeplace and is also the second cousin of some friends of my family (this I first found out when I saw the surname in the protocol). It is however nice with more people at the hut. For dinner I prepare the best canned food DNT has on their self-served cabins, bacalao.

Outside, the wind is increasing and there are never a day without rain on this hike, but this time it luckily comes in the evening only. I escaped any raindrops on my walk. A comfortable walk today, almost for a rest day to count. Which suited me just fine actually.

Map of the trail for the twelfth day on Massiv, from Nedre Skavlegiltjernet to Slettningsbu.

<- Nedre SkavlegiltjernetSløtatjernet ->

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Breistølen - Nedre Skavlegiltjernet

Massiv day 11.
Distance: 23.6km (251.0km), time spentt: 10:33 (94:28).
Ascent / descent: 987m (7796m) / 757m (7535m).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 1011m / 1242m / 1534m.
Weather: Alternating, though overcast most of the time.


I almost end up spending another night at a cabin again at the end of this day, at Sulebu, probably saved by arriving at the cabin not too late. I had a long break there, something that may put the finger on the problem, it is quickly done just staying put when you take a too long break and has a feeling of having quit for the day. I walked to Nedre Skavlegiltjernet where I found a nice place to camp, which also lay hidden from the one hut near the lake.

There is actually a path going through here. Up from Breistølen, the Massiv trail goes through massiv scrub and thickets.

The eleventh stage on Massiv for my part resulted in a lot of change of clothes, of the raingear type. Even when it did not rain it was necesarry to walk with the waterproofs on. There has not been done much to keep the path free from vegetation on the path up from Breistølen. The four young girls at Iungsdalshytta had already given me proper notice of what I could expect. The path goes up the northern mountainside of the Mørkedalen valley through thick scrub and thickets, sometimes without being able to see the path at all. With that many twigs and leaves that you have to push through, you quickly get wet. Even if it has not rained, the morning dew sees to that.

View down towards Breistølen and over to where I came down from yesterday, Stardalen and Stardalsmønen.

Afterwards, I could at least take of my raingear, sit down in the heather and enjoy the sight of a rainbow above the valley further below. The walk to Sulebu goes over a relatively easy terrain to walk on, there are some rocky parts, but not at least as much and bad as yesterday. You have to walk over two passes before you can see the target in sight, first one below Nordre Kluftenosi and then over Suleskaret between Suletinden and Sulefjellet. The waterproofs has to be brought back on after the first pass. There is a dark and wet wall that is quickly coming up from the southeast and Eldrevatnet.

Rainbow over Mørkedalen.

At Masseringstjørni, the rain has ended and there are more blue sky to see, but it still gets wet. Beneath the lake, I have to take off my shoes to vade across the river. Great is therefore the irritation of finding out that I again have to take off my shoes to cross the river above the lake afterwards. When I look at the map and the western side of Masseringstjørni, I quickly see that it would have been possible to go on that side. Why they have put the path around the lake in this way is a little bit confusing. Although the river probably contains more water now than usual, but still. I found the solution on the map at the same time though, right next to the path there is a gravel road that goes up to a dam further up, this crosses the river on a bridge not far away. I aim for the road, crosses the bridge and finds my way back to the path from there. I have no problem dealing with vading, but honestly, I am not that happy to spend much time taking my shoes on and off all the time.

Nordre Kluftenosi in the picture.

Masseringsnosi.

According to the hostess at Breistølen, there was a hiking group from the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) coming there today. Since they would not be coming from Bjordalsbu (then I would have met them yesterday), I figured out that they should be coming from Sulebu. But I meet no one, the mountain stays calm and quiet withouth any voices to hear. At lunchbreak in the valley after Masseringstjørni, I see that there are something that is moving higher up in the direction the path is going to, but the movements are too quick to be humans. I assume it is reindeer.

Up towards Suleskaret with Suletinden at left.

It is first when the sky is closing up again, with the mountainsides around me doing the same thing, that I encounter other people. Where the trail enters the pass up between Suletinden and Sulefjellet, Suleskaret, I hear quick steps coming from behind. At least, quicker steps than mine. A couple that has been to the top of Sulefjellet and is on their way down again are overtaking me. Before I get to know that they were coming down from there, I feel that I walk quite slowly. We speak for a while, in the middle of the pass with views over Øvre Sulevatnet, and are almost keeping company the rest of the way to Sulebu.

View over Øvre Sulevatnet beneath Suleskaret.

The terrain across Suleskaret is rocky and almost as grey as it is above me on the sky, but there is a nice view in the direction of the self-served cabin. The couple had spent some time trying to find a passage to get across the river running down towards Øvre Sulevatnet, without having to take off their shoes. I follow them to where they had marked where they came across, but chooses a different route across in the end. I came over without my feet getting wet. Over the heath there is the slightest hint of a rainbow.

Sulefjellet and Suletinden.

At Sulebu there is a family with children staying for the night. We all end up sitting outside and talking. The grey weather broke up and the sun is shining, around Suletinden and Sulefjellet the sky is blue with grey clouds. And I end up with an all too long break at the cabin, which almost makes me stay there. It does not help that the family staying there is a nice acquaintance, which also gives me some of their dinner (sausages with mashed potatoes). When I leave the cabin, the weather is characterized by a light rain.

The view from a top just before Sulebu.

Something that only gives the last part of this day's hike a simple atmospheric look. The rain mostly keeps to itself, I only get short visits from some small drops. At Nedre Skavlegiltjernet, the tent is quickly pitched and it does not take long time before I sit down and look at the stove heating up one of my homemade stews. Fried and dried minced meat, mixed with pre-made stew-ingredients, vacuum-packed. I only have to pour it into the pot, fill up water and heat it up. Simple and easy. And in the mountains everything tastes good (almost).

My campsite at Nedre Skavlegiltjernet, on a day with clear sky you should be able to see the peaks of Jotunheimen from here.

I wonder if there are any fish in the water, but it does not matter in the end. My fishing rod is left behind at home. A nice enough day on my hike this, but not the one that distinguished itself the most. In the tent after retreating for the evening, I sort of make up status of the hike so far. The conclusion is that I probably have gone too hard, the two previous days became way too long, and that I had been overly ambitious in my planning of the trail. I probably would have managed to toil myself through the given plan, but then a large part of the joy of being out in the mountains would probably be gone. I decide to slow down a bit, then see if I will get all the way to Sota Sæter or not. And if I do not make it, it does not matter really.

Map of the trail for the eleventh day on Massiv, from Breistølen to Nedre Skavlegiltjernet.

<- BreistølenSlettningsbu ->

Friday, July 28, 2017

Iungsdalshytta - Breistølen

Massiv day 10.
Distnace: 28.1km (227.4km), time spent: 11:04 (83:55).
Ascent / descent: 1112m (6809m) / 1202m (6778m).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 1099m / 1011m / 1693m.
Weather: Schizofrenic, alternated between sun, rain and wind all day.


The idea (or plan) was never to go all the way to Breistølen today, but still I ended up here. That meant two long and hard days in a row. When I came to Starsjøen, my designated stopover for the day (it was also where I had planned to go to on my original plan, which would have made for a way too long walk), I was met with a pitch black wall coming at me from the other side of the hills. With the smell of thunder and lightning a long way, since I just had walked for a while in almost radiant sunshine, good and warm, but that forms certain fronts of a kind as said. So I decided to walk down to Breistølen, the rain came pounding down on me when I set the course downwards.

Down by Breistølen the sun suddenly shone again, both down here and up there. So wrong you can be.

On the way up the Fødalen valley looking back at Iungsdalshytta, Fossebrekka running at full speed downwards.

Breakfast at a staffed cabin means you can fill up your body's food storage quite well before you venture out for the stage of the day. Something the workers building the mini power plant outside also is doing, they came with enormous portions on their plates and used the half-litre glasses for juice. The river outside runs high, Fossebrekka, so it is not strange that they want to utilize the energy you can get from it, I am only hoping that the construction does not become a too large an incision in the nature.

Systrandfossen, you could hear the roar from the water that charged down the mountainside from far away.

The four young girls are already on their way when I set forth. The clouds are encircling Iungsdalsvatnet and the surrounding mountains, but there are just a few drops of rain. The trail follows the lush and verdant valley upwards, you cannot see the top of the mountains for all the clouds. This stage of Massiv goes between Iungsdalshytta and Bjordalsbu, and is characterized by that you move from the lush Fødalen valley that I walks through now, past several lakes and to the self-served cabin after a long final part with its barren and rocky scenery.

Jutultjørne.

The roar from Systrandfossen follows me on the continuing journey inwards in the mountains and Skarvheimen, with the sound of heavy rumbles comng from it at times. At Store Klevavatnet there is a tiny hut, which is exactly the kind of huts that I like. Not large and in a wonderful location. It is with a tiny hint of envy that I continue further, around the lake and up through Helvetet. A curious name (the name translates to The Hell), but the passage across is cool. Crossing over Helvetet, there are tiny hints of the existence of a sun behind all the clouds.

Valevatnet with torn mountain hills and dark clouds behind.

And it looks out from behind the clouds for some short moment during the descent from Helvetet to Svartetjørne and the ensuing ascent up towards Jutultjørne; but behind, the clouds are again pitch black. Two ladies that is hiking Norway lengthwise are coming from the opposite direction, they agree with me that they now have not much left to walk (given the distance they already has walked). Shortly after two young girls follows, also walking a part of Massiv. You can say that the trail is catching on. All of them warns me of the 'rocky hell' that they just have escaped from.

Rocks upon rocks upon rocks, on the highest part between Iungsdalshytta and Bjordalsbu.

For after Jutultjørne, I enter a desert, but only that in this desert there are no stones on the size of a grain of sand to find. Here the area is covered by medium large and loose rocks and since the rain now has found it the perfect time to begin, they soon become wet and slippery. It feels like an endless walk across the stony desert, each step always leads you slightly out of course and you have to stake out the direction anew, for then to repeat the process. It is a cumbersome walk across it, but the rewards that I get is great.

Dark clouds and contrasts above Øvre Bjordalsvatnet, and a barely visible rainbow.

Cause behind me when I walk down to Øvre Bjordalsvatnet the sun is pushing itself out from behind the clouds and the view across the lake with the mountains behind are illuminated in marvellous contrasts. This is even better when I walk down the snowbanks with their white surfaces. White from the snow, green from the moss on the rocks and mountains, blue from the water and sky. With a hint of a rainbow in the air. An additional contrast is added by the red t's that is the marks the Norwegian trekking organization DNT uses to waymark the paths in the mountains.

At Bjordalsbu there is a couple who, true to tradition now, also hikes Massiv. Today, they have just walked up from Breistølen, which they described as sort of like the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. Bjordalsbu is the highest located self-served cabin of DNT, at 1580m. It is a cosy cabin, with a open air urinal outside, and with a minimal possibility to see a wolverine (you are asked to keep the door closed due to the wolverine). Like Kongshelleren, this is a fitting place for lunch and as Kongshelleren, you may say that the cabin lies like an oasis in the stony desert.

The sun forces the clouds away for a short periode after having left Bjordalsbu, here not far away from Nedre Bjordalsvatnet on the way down towards Starsjøen.

From Bjordalsbu, the next stage of Massiv goes to Breistølen, where there are both a private mountain lodge and a self-served DNT-cabin, Breistølbu. This is the shortest stage of Massiv, at just about 13km, but it contains quite some descent (or ascent). Down towards Nedre Bjordalsvatnet the number of rocks diminishes and with them the clouds. At once there is suddenly blue sky above me, it is a large hole in the clouds and it gets hot. Promises of a nice evening by the tent.

The sun and dark clouds can form some fantastic contrasts in the mountains, as here of the mountainsides above Starsjøen.

Until I come down towards Starsjøen. Behind Skålanosi the sky is darker than dark. The colour forms a wonderful contrasts against the mountain, but warns about a weather change for the worse. Going at good speed, I decide to continue down to Breistølen, or am I a tiny bit inspired by the girls who walked from there yesterday? The rain hammer down its drops upon me when I walk up from Starsjøen and begin the descent towards Breistølbu.

View of Starsjøen from where the path crosses the dam the river runs through from Mjåvatnet.

Down by the road and the private mountain lodge it has stopped raining, the sky has become brighter and has got rid of most of the clouds. I should have stayed behind up there, but now it is too late. The new self-served cabin, Breistølbu, is located right next to Breistølen Fjellhytte and is where I now think I will spend the night. Though, when the price at Breistølen is just slightly higher and I then do not have to clean up after me, I go for a room at the private cabin instead.

From the lounge in Breistølen.

Too late for the dinner, but they prepare a plate of wienerschnitzel to me, which actually is not that bad (wienerschnitzel has never stood on the upper part of the list of dishes that I like). It is a creaky and charming place, with quite faded wallpapers on the room. In the lounge, the interior appears to come from several different ages. I am the only guest for the night.

A good day in the mountains, despite a slightly cumbersome part crossing a lot of wet scree with the day getting longer and more tiring than planned.

Map of the trail for the tenth day on Massiv, from Iungsdalshytta to Breistølen.

<- IungsdalshyttaNedre Skavlegiltjernet ->

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Geitryggvatnet - Iungsdalshytta

Massiv day 9.
Distance: 29.0km (199.3km), time spent: 10:25 (72:51).
Ascent / descent: 695m (5697m) / 806m (5576m).
Altitude (start / end / highest): 1221m / 1099m / 1507m.
Weather: Mostly heavy rain and chilly wind, but with some breaks.


On the second day of this continuation of Massiv, the ninth day really, the weather gods showed themselves from their less hospitable sides. After a noisy night in the tent, where the wind played drums on the tent canvas, I could wake up to the sound of fresh drops on the tent. The plan for today is to go to Austre Volavatnet and camp there, on the way pay a visit to Kongshelleren to get some provisions for the evenings dinner (a nice solution for not to have to carry with you food for two weeks). Plans changes.

A snowbank on the side of Geitryggvatnet that you have pass over.

After yesterday, I am ahead now of my plan. For breakfast, I ate the porridge I prepared outside while the rain danced lightly around me and the tent. It is fortunately not the worst of rain when I pack down my tent, and here I shall be honest, I have never been very fond of packing together in rainy weather. Not a minute too early it seems as well, it does not take long before the rain increases in intensity. Just before Geiterygghytta, I encounter the first hikers coming from the cabin, tightly wrapped inside rain gear. Not everyone seems that happy. I take a short break there for my part also (my excuse is having to stamp the Massiv pass), before I too have to venture out into the cold and wet hike that awaits me.

Dark clouds pushing down over the landscape up towards Rossdalen and Bolhovdskaret.

From Geiterygghytta, Massiv continues further to the self-served cabin Kongshelleren and from there to Iungsdalshytta. Like yesterday, I have walked this path before, then I did shorter days and spend the night at Kongshelleren on the road. The area aorund the self-served cabin is rocky, with both large and smaller stones. It is quite likely that they will be slightly treacherous and slippery in the rain.

For the most part there is nothing but rain and a sour wind all day, but with some pauses between the rainy battles. The breaks are welcome. After I walked quite further than I originally had planned yesterday, it quickly becomes apparent that I will arrive earlier at Austre Volavatnet than I wants to (even though it is tempting to get shelter from the rain as quickly as possible). It all ends up with that I walk to Iungsdalshytta. A night at a cabin so soon was far from the plan, but when I did not stop to camp at Austre Volevatnet, I ended up so close to the served cabin that I chose to go all the way there.

A rock that resembles a tree with lots of chipped pieces of wood around it.

The rain keeps on coming when I walk up towards Rossdalen, but decreases some when I cross the valley and face the ascent towards Bolhovd. Clouds presses themselves threatening down over the mountains, as if they almost wishes to push the mountains down and flatten out the terrain. On the other side after having crossed over the Bolhovdskaret pass it starts again with a renewed vigour. In the rain, the scenery around me becomes a barren landscape. There is not much to do but wrap my rain- and windjacket tightly around me and step carefully further on the slippery rocks. A large rock lies casually next to the path, with large pieces of chipped stones all about it, like a mouldering piece of wood with loose splinters strewn around.

The selv-served cabin Kongshelleren with the suspension bridge you have to pass over to get to the cabin in front.

That there is a lot of water in the mountain now is easily noticed. Last time I went here, I had no problems crossing over on the rocks separating an unnamed lake and Langavatnet to the south of Kongshelleren, with my shoes and feet well dry on the other side. Now, the water is flowing well above the rocks. So much that my boots are covered over by the water. I end up having too wade across larger rivers twice times later. The first time when the path crosses a river before Vestre Volavatnet. I probably could have made it over without taking off my shoes, but it did not appear that way from where I stood. The second time was where the trail crosses Skarvåne before the descent towards Iungsdalsvatnet. Here the water ran so much with a strong current that I did not see any other way to come across. At the same time, the clock had begun to tick late, so I was not very happy to have to spend more time on taking off and on my shoes.

View of Langavatnet from Kongshelleren.

In the middle of a rocky desert lies Kongshelleren, this is a small, but quite nice self-served cabin. I make use of the possibility to eat lunch in dry surroundings. The cabin is also well heated, a couple that is on their way out has made a fire in the oven. When I leave, there is another short break from the rain.

I wade across the river as mentioned, and by Vestre Volavatnet there weather is back to its usual self for the day. Sour and wet. Two eagles sours above in the air. Still, the walk alongside the water is nice. In the air, there is now both the sound of the wind and the water. Some places is the path going on rocks all down by the edge of the water. Above Austre Volavatnet, after confirming that there will be no stop for the night there, I cross tracks with a young girl who also hikes Massiv, in the 'correct' direction.

Dark and gloomy clouds forms a bleak landscape on the way to Vestre Volavatnet.

The shape of the Iungsdalen valley makes it so that there is a small hollow formed underneath the sombre clouds that clings steadily to its position. Above a snowbank I can see the valley as through a window or eye, formed by the snow and clouds. Rain alternating on and off, as if the eye blinks. Water is sprouting from the water falls I pass by. I remember the walk down the valley as a wonderful hike and it is the same today as well. Quite possible the reason why I still keeps on going.

Grey and gusty at Vestre Volavatnet.

I should have found a campsite somewhere around here really, but I push on forward. And ends up tired in front of the door to Iungsdalshytta, it has become a far too long walk with the backpack that I carry. Fair enough, I have walked significantly longer on the trail than planned, but the question is really if I will be made to pay for this later on.

An eye of the storm forming a small window towards Iungsdalen between the gloomy clouds and snow.

To lie inside a tent and listen to rain drops drum on the outer tent is actually something I enjoy quite well, as long as I am dry, but I am not dissatisfied having a roof over my head either. I arrive just in time for the second dinner serving, barely, and while the wind throws the rain at the windows, I can enjoy a better dinner than what I would have made in the tent myself. I eat together with four younger girls that also walks a part of the Massiv trail, in the opposite direction as I am, lead by the leader of DNT Ung (the youth part of the Norwegian trekking association).

Clouds lies like a lid across Iungsdalen on the way down.

Iungsdalshytta is however a place place to spend the night at. In the lounge afterwards are the girls lying and sitting tired after their walk today, they have as me walked a long distance today. From Breistølen and here, about thirty kilometres that also. Tomorrow they will do the same walk as I did today, almost, to Geiterygghytta. For my part, I have not planned to go all the way to Breistølen. Later, the couple I met at Kongshelleren, which also studied the eagles at Vestre Volavatnet with me, appear. They have ate dinned inside, but are camping outside. It is a pleasant evening.

Small waterfalls near the path on the way down Iungsdalen sprouting a lot of water.

A wet day in the mountains.

Map of the trail for the ninth day on Massiv, from Geitryggvatnet to Iungsdalshytta.

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