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.


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.

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