Archive for March, 2009

Day 70. Viermahytta to Kvalpskarmo

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Distance 53km | Time 14hrs | Ascent 740m | Descent 920m

Day 70. Skiing up Viermadalen with Namsvatnet belowWe got up at 0500. It still took some 2 hours to breakfast, pack, wash up and tidy up the cabin. So we didn’t leave until 0700. It was a wind still overcast day with mist obscuring everything but the valleys.

I set off with a mission to ski right over Borgefjellet to Susendalen on the north side of the park where there were some overnighting possibilities. Andre thought he would overnight in a shelter before the descent to Susendalen.

Luckily the snow was at last consolidating in the forest and with the recent mild weather which was sometimes even plus 1 or 2 when it later froze it provided a hard surface which supported my weight. The 6 km ski up through the forest was therefore quite easy.

The spruce disappeared quickly. There were no pines above the spruce in this valley and the birch dominated the higher forest. As I skied past one birch there was a white flash at my feet as a ptarmigan which had been partly buried under the snow took off.

As the end of the forest I stopped and waited for Andre who had a sledge of 45 kg and a rucksack of 15. It was far too much stuff and it slowed him up a bit.

We then climbed up into the higher valley east of Gaukavatnet. Here there were undulating moraine piles and small lakes to ski through. We made quick time and the sun was trying to break through. There was a bright luminous quality to the snow against the grey mist higher up.

We crossed Store Kjukkelvatnet and reached a locked cabin on the north side It was probably owned by a Lapp and used for reindeer herding. After lunch we continued north across a couple of smaller lakes and climbed a small rise.

Day 70 James with Kvigtind in the backgroundAfter the rise we seemed to enter a different climate. There was blue sky to the north while to the west the Queen of Borgefjell, Kvigtind mountain, appeared. Some of the slopes were covered in mist but the general shape of the peaks and glaciers were obvious. It was a beautiful sight.

Day 70. Andre skiing across the high plateau under KvigtindWe then skied across a high plateau deep with snow and in full view of Kvigtind for the next 15 km. The sun was strong and despite the altitude it was very warm. I soon worked up a sweat. It took about 4 hours to ski these 15 km to reach the shelter at Legdvatnet. This shelter lay under the other big mountain of Borgefjellet called Golvertind, 1682m.

The shelter contrary to the map description turned out to be a substantial cabin which was locked. Andre decided to follow me down to Susendalen rather than camp here.

It was mostly down hill from this cabin to Susendalen. I went west to try and follow the ridge down. I wanted to avoid the knolly ravines near the rivers on each side of the ridge. Andres’ sledge was less manoeuvrable and we got separated. I thought I would blast down and get a cabin and warm it up rather than wait.

The ski down the ridge was initially enchanting. It was not too steep and the snow amongst the birch trees was firm. I weaved in and out for a good 3 km until I reached the first spruce. There were some scooter tracks here. I tried to follow them but they were too steep so I zig-zagged through the forest until it became difficult.

The scooter tracks were firm so I decided to remove my skis and walk down the steep bit. As I removed my skis Andre arrived. I was astonished to see him as I saw him heading into a difficult gnarly area half and hour before.

We soon reached the snow covered road and skied down to the farm the map said had accommodation. We reached it in 10 minutes. It was a beautiful old log farm called Sorgarden. There trouble was it was completely closed and there was no one there. We went to the next and asked the farmer there what he knew.

Andre and him made quick arrangements with a farm 3 km back up the valley at Furuheim. They had cabins and served food. A van was dispatched from there to pick us up. By the time the van had arrived I caught the drift of what was happening.

I will walk the whole of Norway. Motors are not part of my agenda. So I declined the van. In addition I was not going to walk 3 km south back up the valley to return tomorrow. So I declined the accommodation at Furuheim.

There was accommodation another 11 km down the valley in a north direction at Kvalpskarmo and a phone called arranged this. It was nearly 1900 however and I would not get there until after 2100. Still it was a very quiet lane and a nice evening. Andre had had enough and asked the van driver from Furuheim, who had already driven 3 km to find his business evaporating, to drive him and the sledge the 11 km to Kvalpskarmo.

It was a very nice walk for me. There was not enough light for me to ski and the head torch didn’t really show the roads surface and potential gravel so I walked it with skis on the pack. Some stars were out but it was too overcast to see the northern lights. I still have not seen them on this trip but am sure I will soon at the Abisko area.

It was a long walk for my tired feet but eventually just after 2100 I reached the supposed cabin. It was actually a house and extremely comfortable. The stove was lit and the place was already warm. It even had a bathroom with a shower.

I ate a oil rich supper Andre cooked. Had a shower and then started the blog. I didn’t finish until 0100. However I knew if I left it until tomorrow it would be worse. The next destination was Hatfjelldal and it was now just 18 km down this lane. I wanted to get there early enough to buy a few things.

It had been a long day, equalling my distance record. I felt I could have gone further if needed such was the level of my fitness and stamina now. It had also been a very very good day. The skiing was excellent and it was nice to be back in proper mountains again after the farms and forests of North Trondelag, nice as they were.

Day 69. Royrvik to Viermahytta

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Distance 29km | Time 7hrs | Ascent 200m | Descent 190m

Day 69 The ice fisherman on Namsvatnet lake practising his philosophical sportThe advantage of staying in a guest house is it very quick to get going after breakfast. This guest house also served breakfast at 0700 after we and the other two guests requested it. We were therefore ready to go at 0800.

It was a mild overcast grey day just below zero degrees. Snow was sliding of the roofs in Royrvik in metre thick avalanches. A car or human would be damaged by these cascades.

Andre was back on the Norge Paa Langs trip again and caught up the last two days with the help of a van. We set off up a snow covered road for a couple of km to the north and then took a smaller road for 14 km to Namsvatnet. Here there was a parking place for hikers going into Borgefjell National Park.

The ski up the road was fast. The snow was hard packed and my skis flew over the surface. On the few uphill sections they wanted to slide back so I had to work hard with my arms. Andre with his ski skins on and sledge was soon far behind.

I passed a few farms en route. Some were very well kept and others looked like the parents had passed on and the kids didn’t want to farm so mothballed the place. The latter farms could have done with a coat of paint to protect the wooden buildings.

The forest along this road stretch was mostly spruce with some birch. Frozen tarns dotted the forest. I passed one old farm where there was and old couple cutting wood with a saw and splitting device on the back of a tractor. They had cut a vast pile and were obviously going to sell it.

At Namsvatnet parking place there was a small information room attached to the side of a cabin to rent owned by Royrvik mountain committee. This committee looked after the mountainous region in the area, issued hunting and fishing licenses, made sure no one infringed regulations and also rented out some cabins, of which Viermahytta was one.

I waited for Andre here and chatted with the committee employee who policed the area. Some Lapps appeared and were going to Viermahytta vicinity to clear his cabin roof from snow. They would make tracks for us now which was great as the hydro power snow depth measures had to change plans.

When Andre came we set off soon after. The route was well used by various scooters across to an area with a a few cabins called Sandvika. It then followed the north shore of Namsvatnet lake occasionally in spruce forest and occasionally on the lake itself. The scooter tracks stopped a few km from Viermahytta at Bustadslatten.

We followed some ski tracks for another km until we came to a lonely ice fisher. He had spent the last 9 days staying in a nearby cabin and coming down to the lake to sit on his stool and hoist small roye fish out of the small hole. He liked the peace and quiet to unwind from his job as a psychologist.

Just beyond him we picked up the Lapps scooter tracks again. The Lapps have permission to drive scooters in National Parks in connection with their reindeer herding. His reindeer were down on the coast near Steinskjer but would return in the spring to their summer pastures. Occasionally they misuse this permission to go illegal hunting but generally they are responsible.

We chatted with them for a good half hour when they returned from clearing their cabin roofs. They claimed March was the most snow rich month and it was better to clear it now as if it got too deep and then rained the snow would act as a sponge and the weight would be enormous on the roof timbers.

Day 692 The small cabin at viermahytta was easy to make homelySoon after them we arrived at the small simple Viermahytta. It had a stove, gas and 6 beds. It would be easy to heat it up. I got the stove going while Andre collected snow. It was about 1600 now and we could look forward to a warm cosy hut for the evening.

I wrote the blog and then cooked a dried meal and mash potato for supper. Andre had some cognac and we polished that off in the evening as we chatted in front of the fire. Tomorrow we would go into Borgefjell for a day or 2 before going our own ways again.

It had been a pretty easy day. Although I covered a good distance it was largely flat so quite fast. The weather was not unkind but being grey and overcast cut out and view of the mountains in Borgefjell. The cabin was a nice finish to an easy and somewhat uninteresting day.

Skotsk pause på Otta

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009


Scotten James Baxter (49) har tenkt å gå Norge på langs på ski. Deretter skal han dadle tilbake. Godt da, å få hviledag på Otta. Av Truis Gjefsen.

Copy of an article appearing in this month’s copy of the Norwegian magazine Norddalen.

Day 68. Tunnsjo to Royrvik

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Distance 37km | Time 7hrs | Ascent 680m | Descent 650m

Day 68. The forest between Tunnsjo and Limingen lakeAfter a comfortable stay with the Reitan family I was completely refreshed and ready to finish the North Trondelag section with a ski to Royrvik. Like all my stays in North Trondelag the hospitality was fantastic and even the kids made me welcome here.

Leif and his brother owned a fair bit of land between here and Limingen. A lot of it was forested and they used scooters to transport the wood. I should be able to ski from one farm to the other on these old tracks. This would replace 8 km of hard road snow with 8 km of interesting forest.

I found the tracks easily enough and followed them through the spruce forest and then up the hillside to the birch forest. It was quite steep in places and my skis were not waxed well, making them slippery and hard work. It was a nice ski however and I got a slight view down Tunnsjo lake.

At the top the weather changed and a blizzard arrived from the east. It was a strong wind, driving snow and poor visibility. Luckily like most quick changes in the weather it did not last long and by the time I had descended into the spruce on the Limingen side it had blown over.

The descent to Limingen through the spruce was steep. Too steep to ski directly so I left the tracks and made large traverses in the forest using the deep snow to slow me up. Eventually the forest spilt me onto the fields of Fjellvang farm which was Leifs brothers farm.

I decided to ski across a narrow section of Limingen lake here to avoid a detour on the road. There was a large patch of open water just east of the farm which was caused by currents in the hydro scheme. I went north west on a scooter track made by ice fishermen.

Day 68. Ice fishing on Limingen lakeThe fishermen were fishing for roye which is a very red trout type fish. They bored a hole in the ice with a large auger and then fished through this whole. The 3 fishermen had mad about 20 holes in all. I took a picture of one then carried on acros the lake to the north shore. There were no tracks here and the going was difficult with deep wet snow on top of the ice. Luckily it was only a km but it let me know the lake was no option.

I reached the road by Limingen island. From here my task was simple – follow the road north west for 26 km to Royrvik. The road was well covered in snow and the wind had deposited spindrift onto its surface. As such it was fast but my skis were still slippery. The weather however had improved a lot and the sun broke through in many places.

The uphill sections were testing and my arms were working hard to stop me slipping back even with a lot of wax. The downhill sections were fast and generally OK but there was the occasional area with gravel on the surface. I was making good progress.

Day 68. Limingen lake is 30 km longI passed the old rickety farm at Deviktangen and soon reached Devik itself Devik was a couple of farms and a collection of simple leisure cabins. Below me on the west was the vast white expanse of the frozen surface of Limingen lake. It looked difficult to ski across even from here.

The final 10 km to Royrvik were tedious. The road surface was covered in ice and packed snow. It offered my skis very little grip and was tiring to ski along except for the downhill sections. On these I went like a rocket. There were almost no cars on this road.

At last I reached Royrvik. It was not before time. It seemed a friendly town with about 2 to 300 houses and a school, shop, petrol station and a simple hotel. The shop was still open so I bought some treats and then checked into the hotel.

Andre who had a couple of days with friends in Sweden arrived by car. He checked into the same hotel. Inevitably we will go together for a couple of days through Borgefjell. Also at the hotel were a couple of hydropower employees. They were measuring the snow depth to calculate how much water they would have in the reseviour later in the season. They were going the same way on snow scooters tomorrow so would make great tracks for us to ski on to Viermahytta cabin.

It had been a good morning but the long ski along the road was dull. It was the third day in a row with a lot of road work and it was getting tedious. Luckily it was now finished for a while. Mercifully todays road stretch of 26 km had gone relatively quickly. Tomorrow I could look forward to the mountains of Borgefjell. It was Norways second National Park and one of the biggest.

Day 67. Nordli to Tunnsjo

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Distance 30km | Time 6.5hrs | Ascent 730m | Descent 730m

Day 67. The Flytningsloype ski run went through the spruce forestI got up early at 0600 as I had had my fill of rest. I had a breakfast of bread and spreads then set about packing. It is also customary to clean the cabin upon departure including mopping the floor. I seldom did as I kept places clean anyway but I did brush the floor. I said goodbye to the kind Mrs Monsen and set off.

It was only 10 km to Kvelia along the road but there was a ski trail which was 12 km. This trail was part of the Flytningsrennet race in a weeks time. I think it is a 43 km race which goes from Nordli in Norway to Gaddede in Sweden. It is one of the trails people used to flee Norway in the war. This trail went near Kvelia.

It started just by the Monsens house. After a few 100 metres I met another of Nordli’s friendly folk and he confirmed the route as we chatted. I must say again just what a friendly place Nordli is.

The wind was quite strong, up to a force 6. However, it barely troubled me in the spruce forest. The wide ski track would see quite a few contestants next weekend as they snaked through the trees and crossed exposed frozen marshes. On these marshes the wind had a bitter bite today.

After 3 km the track split. One route continued to Holand downhill ski centre while the other headed north to Kvelia. I followed this ski trail for another 7 km from this junction through undulating forest. It climbed a couple of times out of the spruce and into the sparse pines where the wind blew again. I saw a few ptarmigan here.

Eventually this ski trail reached Harrbekkvollen. I left it here as it continued east. I skied along a farm track to the quiet main road and then followed this down for a couple of km to Kvelia.

Day 67. The shop at Kvelia has a tradition to give homemade woolen inner boot soles to all skiing or walking Norways lengthThere was a magnificent old farm, Oppgard, above the road. I think it was a museum. The buildings looked very substantial and old. Soon after there was Kvelia shop. Unfortunately being Sunday it was closed. Otherwise I would have gone in to sign the Norge Paa Langs book they kept and to receive a free pair of handmade woollen inner soles which they traditionally gave all these walkers and occasional skiers. Another nice touch from North Trondelag.

From Kvelia there was a 16 km road which went up a valley over a forested pass and then down to Tunnsjo. I did not look forward to it but started off on foot with my skis on my rucksack as I suspected it would be a snow and gravel mix. To my surprise the road was pretty much covered in snow so I put the skis back on.

It was a very quiet road with a car every half hour. As I reached the top of the valley I crossed into Sweden. Then on the fast hard descent on the other side I crossed back into Norway. In the Swedish bit of some 8 km there was a lot of logging happening.

I reached Tunnsjo very quickly and passed straight through it. It had a school but the shop/petrol station had been closed for a year apparently. It was only another 2 km up the Royrvik road to where the lady in the petrol station yesterday had arranged some accommodation for me so I pushed on.

I got to Nynes before 1500. It was a family home with a granny flat attached to it. The young family were extremely nice and I was made to feel very comfortable in the granny flat.

I had a shower, cooked some nice mandel potatoes they gave me, wrote the blog and then went through to the main house as they invited me. Here they let me use the PC so I could send another batch of photos by post to Scotland They had three young sons.

They told me the ice on Limingen was not that secure and I would be best avoiding it as I skied north to Royrvik tomorrow. However they said the road was covered in snow and very quiet so I should be able to ski most of the 37 km along it.

It seemed a very short day but I had done 30 km quite easily. The ski along the ski trail was great but the road was not. Like all road skis or walks it was just to reach a better place. I could avoid the roads and go through the trailess forest but this would be very slow and even less enjoyable.