Norway | Reinheimen & Sunnmøre
From Tromsø I take the plane back to Oslo, where I meet up with puffins Sofie and Oskar. Together we head to Lom, to have a beer with a Belgian migrant and go look for local moose. On the way over, we have a stop in Lillehammer to watch the locals learn to fly.
The next day, Sofie drops me off at the start of the tollroad in direction of Tunga. I check my shoelaces and make a little prayer the weather won't turn too bad. Another hour later, it starts raining, and after climbing a bit higher, the rain turns to snow. After passing Pytbua I pitch my tent and get in my sleeping bag, wooly hat and all, while outside the weather turns from bad to worse. When I take a look outside at 5am, I find myself in a snowy landscape.
Between Pytbua and Reinheimseter I cross a pass where the safety rope comes in handy because of the fresh snow. The descend goes over a boulderfield, on which the snow provides an additional challenge.
After hitting the ground a few times I get below the snow again and descend to Reindalseter, where coffee and a friendly smile awaits me. The sun starts shining through the clouds and I follow the path down to Zakariasvatnet. Before going all the way down, I pitch my tent at Sildevatnet, where I spend the night.
The next day, there's more rain, and I decide to go to Kaldhussaeterhytta to spend the night. I have been in Norway for three weeks now, and I think my feet have been dry a full five minutes. Upon arriving at the hut, I chop some wood and after lighting the stove, four cheery Norwegian ladies arrive. They planned on going up to Danskehytta, but because of the weather they opted for a lower route. Around 9pm, four Swiss girls arrive. They also planned camping out, but because of the weather, they preferred a more solid roof.
The next day is a short hike to Herdalseter, so I leave late in the day in a failed attempt to avoid the rain. I pass a very nice potential camping place, from where a climb to Heregga would be nice, but I continue down the other side.
The next day is pretty amazing. Glacial lakes and an easy but exposed scramble along a ridge which I have all to myself to Holeegga (1569). I'm wearing my trail-running shoes, and my backpack is fairly light, so I'm having a blast! The route is also known as Dronningrutta (dronning = queen) because it's one of queen Sonja's favourites. I don't know our queen Mathilde in person. She seems nice enough, but I'm not sure if she would be up for this.
From Holeegga I descend 1567m to Geiranger. The last few days I haven't met a lot of people (except the ladies in Kaldhusseter), but once near Geiranger I am appalled by the noise, dieselfumes and crowdedness of the place. Instead of breing happy to be back amongst the people, I feel completely estranged and look for another way out (crossing the fjord by swimming?), but I'll have to wait another 30 minutes before taking the ferry to Hellesylt. Hellesylt is, thank god, a lot more quiet than Geiranger, where I will never ever go back.
In Hellesylt I takt the bus to Stranda in order to start "Liasetra round" through Sunnmøre. Across the busstation in Stranda I buy some food in the local G-Sport. I planned on hitchhiking my way in, but I have to walk the 15k over concrete to Liasetra.
The next day the weather turned completely. Blue skies, sun, no wind... And my feet are dry! This is actually starting to feel like a holiday! And next up is Slogen, nice! I first pass Patchelhytta and Slogen to pitch my tent above Isavatnet, after which I head back to Slogen to go to the summit. The climb is not technical or difficult, and the weather and friendliness of the Norwegians make it a relaxing day out. Having just finished Tromsø Skyrace, I'm having some difficulties going slow and I hop off the mountain to dive straight into my private swimming pool (only to get out of there 5 seconds later, shivering and turning blue, sometimes I would welcome an additional layer of isolation).
Once leaving the clear path to Urke and heading to Velleseterhytta it's clear not many people choose this direction. When the boulder on which I was standing tumbles down to dissapear into the lake 100m lower, I think it might have been better to follow a slightly different route to climb out of the valley.
The descent gives several choices between boulderfields and snowfields. As it doesn't get too steep, I have a lot of fun skiing on my shoes, trying and failing to keep balance to get to Velleseterhytta.
The next day back to Patchelhytta is rather short. The map shows a path which seems to be overgrown, so I start the day with some bushwacking. From the pass to Patchelhytta I head over the shoulder of Skartinden to get an amazing view.
Descending to Stranda I am more lucky with hitchhiking. I notice the driver wears Inov-8's, so within 10 seconds the conversation has turned to trailrunning.
After spending the night in Stranda I take the bus to Ålesund. There's only one camp-site, which is full of people heading to the local festival. The price is also a lot higher than the one in Tromsø and I get the feeling I get out of the shower dirtier than I got in, so in general this felt like a scam. To have some quiet I head to the airport a day sooner (free wifi and netflix can be welcoming). Also contrary to the airport in Tromsø, the buildings are closed during the night, so I have to sleep on the porch before heading home. Oh well... I've had worse travels!