Day 72. Hattfjelldal to Sivertgarden

Posted by: James on March 13, 2009

Distance 55km | Time 12hrs | Ascent 730m | Descent 430m

Day 72. An old forest farm beside the trail above HattfjelldalI did not sleep that long in the morning and was awake at 0600. Breakfast was at 0630 and an hour later I was ready to go. The hotel barracks had an old washing machine so I managed to wash all my cloths.

Andre and I were going different routes now and I had a long day to Sivertgarden. While he was faffing with packing the sledge I decided to go as there was little point me waiting. We said our goodbyes and off I went.

The were some prepared tracks which left the Rossvatnet lake road on the east side of town. I followed this road up for a km until I found them heading north. They were prepared ski tracks. They were a bit confusing to follow as there were so many, but by good luck I managed to thread through the maze and find the scooter tracks which apparently went to Hemavan in Sweden.

Day 72. Hattfjell is the distinctive mountain or nunatak which the valley is named afterThe ski tracks went up through the forest passing old farms, abandoned in winter, and crossing the occasional snowy forest glade. After some 5 km they met the scooter tracks which came from the barracks hotel, but were very undulating after the hotel and best avoided. These scooter tracks continued up the forest to a ridge. This ridge was open and I got some great views to Hatten, a curious block of a mountain which was probably a nunatak. It gave the region its name.

From here there was a fast and exciting run down through the spruce forest to Rossvatnet lake. This lake the sixth biggest in Norway is dammed and the level fluctuates some 10 metres. The question now was do I go round the east or west side of the large island. Dubious advice in Hattfjelldal said west but the sign for the scooter track said east. I choose east.

There were some magnificent mountains to the north west with one very prominent mountain called Kjerringtind jutting into the sky. The day was getting better and better and I was warm under a blue sky.

The scooter tracks to my concern started to follow the shoreline rather than cut across to the eastern tip of the island. I followed them as to leave them and start across the sometimes loose snow would have been madness. Soon I reached Grubben and could see cars on the road up from Hattfjelldal.

Day 72. The ice fishermans goal is a half kilo roye or roding which is possibly arctic char in englishThe tracks continued to follow the shoreline all the way into Krutaga rather than cut across the bay. This was a nuisance but they were fast to ski along. At Krutaga I met a local family who were ice fishing. They had caught about 20 roye and when I was chatting with them they caught the biggest, a half kilo specimen. I think roye are Arctic Char and prehaps a reader could confirm that. They told me the tracks did go all they way to Verntrask further up the lake but unfortunately followed the shore.

Day 72. Difficult conditions of ice and sastrugi on Rossvatnet lakeI left them and continued round the shore. There route now became difficult as there must have been strong winds here. Much of the snow had been blown off the ice leaving it bare and the remaining snow had been sculptured into ridges and shapes like a blacksmiths anvil. This hard wind shaped snow is called sastrugi and its larger versions in the poles are the nightmare of polar explorers.

Luckily this sastrugi was small but it lasted of a good 10 km until I reached the point at Brustad. It slowed me up considerably and I had to be careful not to break a ski. After the point I must have left the wind channel as the conditions improved again and the scooter tracks reappeared again.

Day 72 A picturesque farm on the east shore of Rossvatnet lakeIt was getting on when I reached Sordalen and its collection of farms looking picturesque in the later afternoon sun. Unfortunately I still had yet another peninsular to go round to get to Varntrask which was a bit more than 5 km.

Day 72. At the north end of Rossvatnet lake the Okstind massif rises above all elseAs I rounded this final peninsular the view to the north became very clear and the whole of the Okstind massif appeared. These mountains are 1900 metres and quite alpine in character. The evening light did them justice against the blue sky.

The scooter tracks at last reached Verntrask bay where there was a collection of some 20 houses. However, they did not go in but continued across the inlet and round a smaller peninsular before heading inland. It was now 1730 and I still had 10 km to go.

As I started through the spruce forest the weather changed abruptly as a snow shower arrived from the east. It was blowing into in my face. I considered camping but continued. The scooter tracks now started to climb up a valley out of the spruce and into the birch forest. Luckily the snow shower passed and the wind died as there was no protection from the bare birch trees.

On and on it climbed, most of it very gently for a good hour and a half, crossing open frozen marshes and sneaking up rivulet beds. I disturbed plenty of ptarmigan. Just as I thought about putting the head torch on I reached the top of the climb. I could just make out the Famnvatnet lake below me and see a smattering of lights on its north shore. One of these was Sivertgarden farm.

I was dreading the ski down in the dark but the scooter track provided a very gentle run down. I enjoyed it despite my tiredness once I was confident it was not going to plunge down. It snaked down with me barely able to see beyond 10 metres, for 2 km until it reached the road. Form here I only had an easy 2km to go.

I skied along the road as it was easy covered in old snow with the recent snow shower covering any gravel. I passed a couple of houses and then reached the farm at about 1930. The farmer, a young man, was in the barn with the 40 sheep he had. He was surprised to see me and amazed I had come from Hattfjelldal.

He was very kind and even carried my skis to the small cabin he rented out. He showed me his house for toilet and shower. He offered me bread his wife had just baked and spreads. I accepted them as I could not be bothered cooking, or indeed eating, the dried food in my pack.

The farmer and his wife were not from here but bought the farm at the turn of the century. It was dilapidated so they got it cheaply. Since then they had restored the 2 houses and various cabins, built a barn, raised 4 children and worked as a teacher at Verntresk and as a nurse.

He lost a few sheep every year, to wolverine mostly and the occasional bear. He had seen wolf prints around the farm but never seen them. His farm was one of about 5 on the north side of Famnvatnet lake. Behind them rose the birch forest which then petered out up the mountain. They were very hospitable as rural north Norway seems to be.

I returned to the cabin, now warm with the huge stove heating the small room and ate the bread. I tried to write but fell asleep in the chair at about 2200.

It had been a long day. My longest yet in distance but not in effort or time. I ended up exactly where I wanted to be after a spectacular day.

2 Responses to “Day 72. Hattfjelldal to Sivertgarden”

  1. Fredrik I Says:

    Right you are, Sir! Arctic char, Salvelinus Alpinus.

    A half kilo fish is a monster, in my experience!

  2. William Says:


    I am wondering about the sleds you have seen or run across thus far. Obviously you are not using one, but should you have chosen that mode, have you see one that might fit the bill? I am in the process of designing one for Cecilie Skog for a trip to Greenland and Antartica and would appreciate your input. Not all of us have the muscle mass as you, and for those of us who don’t and are considering in following in your tracks, it could be the only way to do it.

    Stay strong. Giddy up, rock and roll.

    William and Eva