Distance 23km | Time 7hrs | Ascent 700m | Descent 530m
I had thought it would be a long day so was ready to go at 0800. There was a slight breeze which was bitterly cold. I was well dressed for the cold. It was still dawn when I set off but pretty soon the first rays of the new day were turning the mountain tops a golden orange. It all the promise of a perfect day.
I made very good time over the easy ground and after a couple of hours was at a junction where I could either go over Helvetes fjell, Hells mountain, or round an easier but much longer way via Finnsbergvatn lake. The latter route would have taken me past an archaeological site where stone age dwellers onwards have waited for migrating reindeer to cross a neck of water. When the reindeer were half way across they were ambushed by the hunters in small boats.
I choose the route over Helvetes fjell as there were tracks which went this way and it was easy to ski on them. The route over was very scenic and much easier than the map indicated. There were some wonderful views down to the plateau of Hardangervidda and also up to the Hardangerjokulen icecap which I was skirting round. There were lots of hare tracks up here.
The weather was now absolutely fantastic. Windstill under a deep blue sky with the sun beating down. If I turned south I could feel the sun burn my face. Generally I was heading north though. I climbed up to 1400 metres before descending down the north side of the pass to Midnutvatn lake. It was a glorious and lovely descent in soft snow.
January really had kept its best to last. It was a magnificent day. Easily the best yet on this tour. I was also making very good time. It was just after 1300 and I only had a couple of hours to go to Finse. The terrain was pleasant and easy.
An hour before Finse I met some other skiiers. They were heading to a cabin called Kraekkja where they would camp as it was closed. We chatted a bit and then passed. The remaining hour to Finse was a delightful descent in the full sun. Ahead of me was a long steep ridge called Hallingskarvet. Crossing it would be tomorrows task.
Finse itself was hosting a kite-flying weekend. There were 150 people attending and the only hotel, Finse 1222, was completely full. I managed to find a bed in a shared room. In contrast to Haukeliseter this hotel was not nearly so friendly or down to earth.
I had a great shower and then picked up my maps for the next section from the post office and dispatched the ones I had used. After a heavy supper I wrote the blog and did my washing which the hotel was very good about.
I had planned to spend a rest day here but felt quite fresh still. The busy, noisy atmosphere of the hotel did not sit easy with the peace and quiet of the last few weeks and I could not leave quick enough. In addition the weather forecast for the next days is a cracker so I will be heading north again tomorrow.
The next cabin, Gieteryggenhytta, is closed so I will have to go to the next again at Kongshelleren. Given the marvellous conditions and my improving form I felt up for it.
Today had been a really stunning day, I could not fault it at all. The hotel let things down a bit but it was irrelevant in the grandness of today and the completion of crossing the Hardandervidda.
Tomorrow I will start the fourth section, Skarvheimen. It will take about a week and take me to Tyin and the start of Jotunheimen. I have skied in the Skarvheimen before. In fact it was my first ski trip. I did it in 1983 together with a friend Jonas. Are you still eating handfuls of raw garlic Jonas?