Day 28. Hadlaskard to Garden

Posted by: James on January 28, 2009

Distance 24km | Time 8.5hrs | Ascent 290m | Descent 570m

Day 28. Looking into Berastolsdalen after climbing from ViveliI was up early and away from the hut at 0800. I was a bit worried about the distance and conditions today and needed an early start. 0800 was the earliest I could have left without a headtorch.

It was very icy still. Obviously this area was in the rain shadow of the massive dump of snow the Setersheiene received recently. Still it was quite fast and I could double pole down the frozen marshes and river bed.

Just before Hedlo I came across some moose tracks. They had been nibbling the willow and birch which was plentiful here. Moose belong more to the forests of the east rather than the fjord regions, which I was almost in so I was surprised to see them.

The fast icy run continued to Viveli with a couple of more awkward sections of river to avoid. In some sections where it was faster flowing over small rapids it was open. In one of the adjacent frozen marshes there was a flock of about 200 willow grouse.

The willow grouse are very closely related to ptarmigan but occupy the willow scrub zone. In winter they take on the same white camouflage as the ptarmigan and they are impossible to tell apart from a distance. So I might be mistaken.

Viveli itself is a tourist lodge surrounded by a score of private cabins. It was deserted with all the roofs covered in snow. Luckily there was a snow scooter track from here up through the birch forest I wanted to go to a road head. Without this track I would have been an extra hour navigating the humps of the forest.

Day 28. Summer farms or stols in BerastolsdalenThis left me just before the roadhead in high valley just at the treeline. There were some summer farms in this valley. The scooter tracks continued to the eventual roadhead. The road then dropped about 800 metres down to Eidfjorden in a series of hairpins in precipitous terrain.

I was not going down so went east up the valley past the summer farms and across more frozen marches to a gentle watershed some 5 km or 2 hours away. At this watershed I should have been able to see Hardangerjokulen, a large round icecap which sits on the northern section of Hardangervidda. Unfortunately it was too cloudy and the whole thing was shrouded.

From here there was a lovely descent to Garden which took a good half hour. Garden sat on the road in a much larger valley. Sometime it was a bit steep for my tired legs. Private cabins, perhaps a 1000, stretched up and down the valley from Garden. They did not intrude too harshly into the environs.

At Garden there was a small shop which also rented out tiny log cabins, with a bunk bed and electric cooker. I bought food from the shop and then settled into the cabin. It only had a electric heater and I missed the raw effective heat from a wood stove. Eventually it warmed up though. The lady who ran the shop and cabins, a very outdoor type, explained tomorrows route to Kjeldebu cabin.

It was still light when I arrived. It was not as bad as I thought at all in terms of conditions or times. It had been a bit barren and the large icy sections and scant snow did not contribute to the winter wonderland picture.

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