Day 116. Bekkarfjord to Hopseidet

Posted by: James on April 26, 2009

Distance 45km | Time 10.5hrs | Ascent 780m | Descent 800m

Day 116. The view west down Bekkarfjord and to the remote Svaerholt peninsula beyondI slept well in the Jennsens cabin and got up reasonably early at 0700. It was overcast but very warm. The temperature was plus 6. The bare patches outside were growing and were generally saturated with water.

After breakfast I tried some of the king crab legs. Pedder and his son had caught about 30 of them. The legs were boiled and cut open with scissors. Inside the meat was the same colour, taste and consistency as crab sticks. I got into conversation with Pedder as the weather deteriorated into showers and didn’t leave until 1030.

Day 116. Once on the peninsulas plateau there was masses of snowI initially followed the road for 10 km to gain height up onto the plateau again. It was the easiest way if I was to avoid the melting snow in the birch woods and lower slopes. There were some tremendous views here down Bekkarfjord inlet itself to the main Porsanger fjord, and then on the other side of that the remote Svaerholt peninsula. This wild peninsula was very steep sided and rose steeply to a snow covered plateau at about 400 metres altitude.

At Orretvatnet I was over 200 metres and left the road here. This was on the instructions of Vidar, who had sent me maps, as to follow the best route to Mehamn.

I skied past Orretvatnet lakes and down into Nikolasdalen, which was easily crossed. There were some scooter tracks here and I followed then as they climbed up the south and then east side of Gavdnjavarri mountain. To the south was the forested valley of Langfjorddalen which went down to a small roadless hamlet with a few houses.

Day 116. There was a line of old telephone posts to follow across the plateauOnce I was round the east side of Gavdnjavarri and had climbed to a pass the whole of the plateau opened before me. It was at about 400 metres altitude and everything was plastered in snow. This was a return to winter proper. Below me on the north side of the pass was a line of posts. Vidar recommended I follow these posts for some 20 km across the plateau. They were the remnants of an old telephone line from at least 50 years ago. The wire had long gone.

The next 20 km were a were a very good and quite fast ski. The weather was very changeable but on the whole it was overcast but there were a couple of very heavy snow showers where all visibility disappeared except for the telephone posts. Contrary to the soggy morning I now felt I was crossing Hardangervidda in February.

Day 116. There were some threatening signs in the west as I started to descend Smielvdalen valley to HopseidetThe ski route went on and on undulating over gentle ridges and then descending into shallow valleys. I had to work most of the time as I opted to keep my skins on and this cut down the glide I got considerably. Eventually after 20 km and a couple of snow showers the route started to reach the northern end of this block of land where it dropped of steeply to fjords. There was only one way down and that was down Smielvdalen valley and this was the way the road took also.

I had been skiing parallel to the road, but a few km to the east of it. It was easy to head west across the plateau to reach the exposed windswept road which must see some wild weather. Smielvdalen valley was about 4 km long and it dropped quite steeply down to Eidsfjorden.

There were masses of reindeer tracks and droppings here. They must have just migrated from the interior down here and over the isthmus onto Nordkinn peninsula. This is contrary to what is expected. Reindeer are severely bothered by flies. One type lays eggs in its nasal passages and throat which hatch maggots which eat these regions. There are few flies in the high mountains of central Scandinavia and also on these windswept peninsulas which is why they are preferred.

These reindeer are domestic ones now and are herded out to this peninsula by their Lapp owners. It is a tricky operation as the reindeer are uncomfortable about being herded down to the sea down a narrow valley. Recently a herd of them bolted up the steep slopes and got into trouble. Many lost their grip and slid on the steep snow and were killed.

Once at the sea by Eidsfjorden the road then heads east along the fjord and beneath the cliffs the reindeer came to grief on, until it gets to a narrow isthmus some 300 metres wide and long. This connects the Nordkinn peninsula to the north to the mainland, otherwise it would be and island. Once the reindeer have crossed this they have reached their summer pastures.

It was my goal for the day also and there was a hamlet here called Hopseidet. Once I crossed it I doubled back to the west to a abandoned workman’s hut I spotted earlier. It was open but was bare. It saved me putting up the tent up. I got in just in time as a sleet storm and high winds came blasting down the fjord from the west. After I unpacked and spread out on the floor I looked out of the window and it was miserable outside.

After sorting myself out I managed to lie on the floor and write the blog, all be it uncomfortably. The small waves were crashing onto the boulders along the shore with spray lifting. There were some little auks bobbing in the waves braving the elements to gather for pairing and nesting soon. To them this weather was probably pleasant.

It had been a good day. I was surprised at just how wild and wintery the plateau on this peninsula still was, while at sea level winter had lost its grip. It had been a long day, but reasonably easy with the pleasant skiing conditions and my fitness level.

One Response to “Day 116. Bekkarfjord to Hopseidet”

  1. Björn and Helena Says:

    Hi James,

    We hope the snow condition will be good all the way to the end at Nordkinn!
    Here it’s raining and snowing. And it’s only possible to go skiing in the morning on the crust. Spring is coming at last.
    Are you tired of skiing by now?
    It’s really impressing what you are doing.

    Best wishes,
    Björn and Helena in Kvikkjokk