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Day 64 (6): Roller-coaster Of Emotions

Straumbu to Bekken

Distance: 35km


No thunder, no steong winds. But another rainy night (at times it rained so heavily, the water penetrated the rain fly, making it an uncomfortable night), another early start, another fast packing due to mosquitoes.


The walk across Rondane National Park offers some wonderful views, however, due to a rocky track, my focus was mostly where I would put my feet down next.


On the other side of the park, at Rondvassbu, I more or less bump into Frank as he just gets out of the hut. Frank, a lovely hiker from Germany, who I met in Abisko, 4 years ago. Me on E1 southbound, he on his way to Nordkapp. Such a huge coincidence, we meet again. Again, I head south, he's heading north. There's so much catching up to do. We spend nearly 2 hours talking. It feels good and really motivates me to carry on my adventure. 


After a long hug, it's time to continue. A long road walk to Otta to resupply. Or at least so I thought. 

In Bekken, around a kilometer out of Otta, I get into a conversation with a local. And shortly after, get invited to pitch my tent in their garden. A wonderful, highly appreciated gesture as I don't have anywhere to stay in Otta. 


I settle in, preparing for a relaxed afternoon. Well, at least so I thought again... 

As I blow air into my mattress, three loud 'pops' make me flinch. It takes me a couple of seconds to realize that some of the seams of my mattress gave up the ghost. And from reports from other hikers I met over the years, that's it. Nothing to fix. Distaster. Yeah Maria, I know you warned me a while ago... But ignorant me wouldn't listen... 


What to do? I take out my phone, google for sport stores in Otta. Bingo! But they close in less than hour. Marit, my trail angel, offers me her bicycle. What an nice gesture. A 10 minutes cycle takes me into town and to the sports store. Very limited selection. I go with one of their overpriced foam mattresses. Something completely different to my air mattresses. I'll report tomorrow how I slept. 


Anyway, once back, I get treated with a delicious fish dinner with potatoes and carrots. We have very interesting conversations about the area. Great so get some background information about the area I walk through. Time flies. They are headed to some friends, I do my resupply, have a hot shower, write my blog. It's well past nine, whenn I finally retreat into my tent. 


What a day it was. Full of surprises. Negative but (luckily) mostly postive ones.  A day to remember for sure. 

On my way across Rondane National Park
On my way across Rondane National Park
First and only snow today
First and only snow today
Rondvassbu located in an idyllic spot
Rondvassbu located in an idyllic spot
Frank, what a lovely surprise to meet him
Frank, what a lovely surprise to meet him
Cyclists...
Cyclists...
Sheep...(no, they are not dead)
Sheep...(no, they are not dead)
A look towards the north. Like a painting.
A look towards the north. Like a painting.
My campspot for the night
My campspot for the night
Not looking good
Not looking good
On my mission 'new mattress'
On my mission 'new mattress'
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Day 63 (5): And Into The Mountains I Go

Dollbekksaetran to Straumbu

Distance: 40km


14 hours of rain. Not heavy but continuous. Everything in my tent is damp. Not a pleasant feeling.

So I start packing by 03:00. The super aggressive mosquitoes, going straight after my legs, are a good motivation to pack quickly. So soon after getting up I am on my way. 


The rain has stopped, just some low hanging clouds remain. A friendly day weatherwise. Also the the rest of today's hike is wonderful from A to Z. Good but challenging, sometimes rocky trails, spectacular views and my body feeling fresh. A day like this is the perfect medicine too boost the hiking spirit.


Laying in my tent, overlooking a small alpine tarn, I feel satisfied after a rewarding day. Not even the strong winds and the towering cumulus clouds, which might even end up in thunder, can worry me at the moment.


I don't want to add anything else at this point. Rather, I'd like to let the photos speak. 

Sunrise over the Norwegian mountains
Sunrise over the Norwegian mountains
Me, enjoying the views
Me, enjoying the views
Simply beautiful
Simply beautiful
A bit windy
A bit windy
Many rivers along the way
Many rivers along the way
Rocky parts
Rocky parts
Lots of rocks
Lots of rocks
Looking towars Rondane National Park
Looking towars Rondane National Park
I'll pass these mountains tomorrow
I'll pass these mountains tomorrow
Cloud berries!
Cloud berries!
Idyllic camp spot
Idyllic camp spot
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Day 62 (4): Like A Racing Horse In A Cage

Brønnåtjønna to Dollbekksaetran

Distance: 30km


03:00. Even for me, this is an early start. However, with daylight permitting and bad weather forecasted for the afternoon, it's not the most stupid thing to set off that early.


It's cold and due to the overnight rain, the humidity high. Yet, it's a smooth start into the day. Until I climb out of Tylldalen towards Avdal. Overgrown track, wet, hard to follow. Several times, I loose the faint trail. It seems like a typical "connection trail" that somehow remained on the map but neglected by whoever is responsible for the maintenance. Anyway, eventually I make it to Avdal. I have walked for 4 hours, still, it's only 08:00. And my body is already ready for lunch...


After stuffing the bought food into my pack and getting rid of all the packaging, I continue, only to realize that I forgot my hiking poles in the store. Luckily, I haven't left the parking lot yet, so the detour is not that painful. 


With my poles, I now definitely continue. After a short while, I spot 2 through hikers coming the opposite way! (we all look the same, it's not such a challenge to identify a through hiker).

A quick chat reveals that they are headed northbound from Lindesnes to Nordkapp and have been on the trail for 2 months.


As we can already smell the rain, we each continue our own ways. It felt good meeting them, knowing that I am not the only one out there.


Rain starts a couple of minutes later. Not heavy but continuous. Before climbing above the tree line, I decide to call it a day. It only 14:00 and I would easily be ready for another two hours. Physically. But walk another 10 kilometers in the rain, with no sheltered spots to camp... Not the smartest idea. 


A bit of shame that the weather is holding me back. Stopping, beside the urge to continue doesn't feel right. In the beginning at least it did.


Now, I actually feel quite comfortable. A lovely spot under a tree, listening to the rain and plenty of time to write the blog.


Early morning mood
Early morning mood
Some views
Some views
Where I am heading tomorrow
Where I am heading tomorrow
A look back at Avdal
A look back at Avdal
Going for the healthy option
Going for the healthy option
Ready for a rainy night
Ready for a rainy night
Sweetening the afternoon with some Liquorice Tea
Sweetening the afternoon with some Liquorice Tea
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Day 61 (3): the long way back into the thru-hiking mindset

Hodalen to Brønnåtjønna

Distance: 45km


Thanks to the firewood, the tipi is warm and cozy when I slip into my sleeping bag. Nevertheless, the sleep still isn't as deep as I hope it would be.

Maybe, it's, beside the not so dark nights, the usual tension at the beginning of a new hike, that is keeping me awake. 


Anyway, it's an early start. By 04:30, I am on my way, climbing out of Hodalen on a particularly wet track. Yet, progress is smooth and once above the bush line, the views are beautiful.

Every now and then, there's even some sunshine, which really helps to boost ny hiking spirit.

Eventually, I join a gravel road, taking me down to Bydalen, before gently climbing up the other side of the valley until I find a somewhat suitable place to pitch my tent. Nothing fancy, between a gravel road and a lake. Plenty of mosquitoes (reminds me of my time in Finnmark) but it's a flat, dry spot that will do just fine for the night. 


It was a long day today as wanted to make the most of the weather. Doing these long ones are mentally challenging for me. Especially, when I haven't really arrived in my thru-hiking mindset. Somehow, I am still stuck, back in Switzerland, going after my daily routine. Running, swimming, working. Challenging as well, but in a very different way. 

During the 45 kilometers today, I was thinking a lot about Switzerland, how nice it would be just to go for a run, a swim, having a shower and a coffee. Yet, towards the end of the hike, somehow I started feeling slightly more comfortable on the trail. Hike, eat, sleep, repeat... Doesn't sound that bad after all. I wouldn't say that I am fully there just yet but definitely on my way. 

The 'T' looking good in sunshine
The 'T' looking good in sunshine
Lovely views as I am following the high plateau
Lovely views as I am following the high plateau
The Fish Trail and a pilgrimage trail (St. Olav Way I think). Being on the latter, well established trail, helps getting into the thru-hiking mindset.
The Fish Trail and a pilgrimage trail (St. Olav Way I think). Being on the latter, well established trail, helps getting into the thru-hiking mindset.
My camp spot
My camp spot
Right by the lake
Right by the lake
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Day 60 (2): The Little Things...

Bredalsibua to Hodalen

Distance: 25km


While the sun is below the horizon at night, at this time of the year, it never gets completely dark. And despite being extremely tired, I still need to get used to it. As a result, my sleep is not as deep as I was hoping for. Anyway, I feel recovered enough to start into my hiking day. There's even a little bit of sun. Such a lovely surprise. The surprise, however, is just lasting for the first two hours. As I make my way up another hill, through a mystic, white mossy landscape, it starts pouring down. 3 hours of continuous, heavy rain, no shelter around. In the beginning, I cope with it but eventually it gets annoying. While the trail is great, it is still tough going. The more I am relieved, when I pass through the village of Hodalen and find some shelter under a porch of a closed restaurant. Still raining heavily, I have no urge to continue. I change into dry clothes, have something to eat. A local is approaching me, we have a chat. It feels good being a bit distracted from the weather. He points out a shelter just around the corner, even calls another local to ask if it was okay if I stayed there. With me still being cold and the weather not drastically improving, I head straight for the shelter. It's only 14:00 but I feel like walking no more today. So I settle in, hang my dry clothes. Eventually, the local comes  bag with big bag of firewood. What a lovely surprise. Being out in the rain for several hours, this actually means a lot for me.

So I fire up the old, rusty stove. The shelter heats up quickly, making it super pleasant.


Another short rainy day. Not an easy start into my hiking adventure. My hiking spirit is still up, but for how much longer? The forecast isn't very promising. A pleasant morning tomorrow (the reason why I want to have an early start tomorrow). Then rain again on Wednesday. I will see how it goes, how I feel. But let me worry about it later. For the moment I fully enjoy my warm shelter. 

Bredalsibua in lovely morning light
Bredalsibua in lovely morning light
Some sun, better views
Some sun, better views
Traffic
Traffic
Magical mossy landscape
Magical mossy landscape
Impressive cairn
Impressive cairn
Tonight's shelter
Tonight's shelter
Using another dry spell to enjoy the view
Using another dry spell to enjoy the view
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Day 59 (1): Embracing The Scandinavian Weather

Roros to Bredalsibua

Distance: 15km


Getting from Trondheim Airport to Roros is straightforward. Train to the City, another train to Roros. However, the connection is bad and the trains are slow. It takes me roughly 6 hours. I don't mind, I am not in a hurry to get off the train and into the rain, to hit the trail. While the train ride is actually quite picturesque, the bad weather and the tiredness, which hits me, makes for a difficult ride. Anyway, during my long layover in Tromdheim, I'm on a mission. Mission camping gas. Mission impossible as it turns out. Nevertheless, while looking for it in gas station, I meet to young cashiers. They apologize for their gas station poor selection and invite me for a well needed coffee, before I continue to Roros.


Once off the train, I head straight to the nearest gas station. One of my last chances... And success. With 175 kroners It's ridiculously expensive. It has to be a superb gas. Anyway, I am happy I have it. 


In the waiting lounge of the train station, I change, get ready for my hike in the rain. With every minute, I feel better (maybe the chocolate I have bought together with the gas helped). And when I finally hit the trail, there's even a dry spell.

Navigating out of town is easy. After my third visit in Roros, I start to know my way around. Eventually, I leave the road. After 2 steps, both my shoes are soaked. A taste of what is yet to come. But it was expected. But beside being wet, the trail is fantastic to walk. No ticks, no mosquitos. And from time to time I am even able to ignore the weather, which is getting harsher by the minute. And it's during these moments, I really enjoy being back out there.


Still, despite being outside for only 3 hours, I start feeling uncomfortably cold. Luckily, there's a hut/shelter close to the trail. Without thinking too much, I head straight for it. It turns out to be a lovely wee hut and despite only a short distance walked, a suitable place to set camp.


While writing these lines, the weather is becoming more intense. I feels good being sheltered in here - enjoying the luxury

However, it will be the first and only hut like this along my way and I fully appreciate that from tomorrow onwards, I will be more exposed to the elements. So fingers crossed, the weather will improve. 

At least one photo with a bit of color today
At least one photo with a bit of color today
Common, another one
Common, another one
The world's one and only bicycle lift
The world's one and only bicycle lift
On the way to Roros
On the way to Roros
Starting my hike with some Norwegian hiking chocolate
Starting my hike with some Norwegian hiking chocolate
Slowly climbing above the bush line
Slowly climbing above the bush line
Following the 'T'
Following the 'T'
Lovely trail
Lovely trail
The hut
The hut
Cozy afternoon
Cozy afternoon
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Northbound

I am writing these lines from the arrival hall at Trondheim airport, after spending a short night here and after a long, tiresome journey from Zurich.

Exhausted, but still somehow relieved that my new adventure has finally started.


There really is not that much to write. Honestly, I just kill some time, waiting for my train to Trondheim Central Station, where I will connect to a train bound for Roros. Somewhere in between, I really want to find gas for my cooker. So far I haven't been lucky. The gas station at the airport, did not have any camping gas. At least they had (well needed) coffee. 


The flights yesterday where uneventful. Heavy rain and thunder in Zurich, which delayed my first flight, rain again in Oslo. Because the same aircraft operated my second flight to Trondheim, I could make the connection. No free night in a hotel in Oslo after all...


The sun is shining here at Tromdheim airport. Blue skies in fact. But the sunny weather wont join me to Roros. Heavy rain is forcasted for the next two days. 

So I am not fully certain that I will start my hike today. Maybe, I will wait a bit for the worst of the weather to pass. But there is still a bit of time to decide. 

Waiting for my delayed flight to Oslo
Waiting for my delayed flight to Oslo
Rain in Zurich
Rain in Zurich
Some sun as the aircraft is descending into Trondheim shortly before midnight.
Some sun as the aircraft is descending into Trondheim shortly before midnight.
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A New Year, A New Hike

It feels like yesterday, the moment I touched the statue at Capo Passero, marking the end of my four year E1 adventure.


In fact, however, more a year has passed, I am back in the daily grind. Lucky for me though, I take another couple of weeks off work this summer.

The big question: what am I going to do?


Launching a new big project? Trying something completely different? 


Well, somehow I don't feel ready for a new big project like E1 just yet. Still, I'd like to do a bit of walking.


I have used the long winter nights to ponder my next move and eventually came up with Norge på langs (or NPL) – Norway Lengthwise. From the top to the bottom of Norway. Or vice versa. There is no given route. Hike your own hike. Whether you want to cut across Sweden or not, walk inland or closer to the coast – the choice is yours.


When I was hiking the E1 from Nordkapp to Sicily, without knowing back then (I only found out later about NPL), I was already doing roughly two thirds of the length of Norway (the green line on the map on the right), before making my down Sweden towards Denmark.


From Nordkapp to Roros, roundabout 2000 kilometers. The time spent on E1 in Norway was, looking back, the best of my whole 8000 kilometers E1 adventure. The scenery, the remoteness, being at the mercy of the elements, but also the people I met along the way – they all made my time in Norway unforgettable. There’d be so much to write about my time up there, but I don’t want to waffle on at this point. There is plenty of reading material here and here for those interested.


Since I have all these great memories, why not returning to this wonderful place and completing the length of Norway? Picking this low hanging fruit. From Roros to Lindesnes. Another 1000 kilometers to Norway’s southernmost point.


With my rough plan in place, I started looking for a date to hit the trail, suitable flights, planning a detailed hiking route, resupply points, etc etc.


A long story short: my flight leaves Zurich on July, 6th in the evening, arriving in Trondheim by midnight. From there, I will take the train to Roros, where I hope to arrive my Sunday noon. Somewhere between Trondheim and Roros, I will need to score a gas canister. Not an easy task on a Sunday in Norway. Anyway, if I get lucky, I hope to start diving into my adventure right after stepping off the train in Roros. 


Weather isn't looking to promising at the moment, with rain and not very summery temperatures. But, as the Norwegian say, there is no bad weather, just bad clothes. 


Leaving the Engadin for Wetzikon. Thanks Maria for the photo 🤗
Leaving the Engadin for Wetzikon. Thanks Maria for the photo 🤗
Enjoying a couple of days in Wetzikon, swimming, eating and checking on my Feijoas
Enjoying a couple of days in Wetzikon, swimming, eating and checking on my Feijoas
Planning in progress
Planning in progress
The not-so-good-looking weather forecast
The not-so-good-looking weather forecast
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