Donnerstag, 17. September 2015

Jeg skal gå på tur i helga!

In my last posting I gave you a virtual tour through the most remarkable drawings of Norwegian landscapes & scenery. Now it's time to see the real thing! After i received the rest of my camping equipment last weekend (thanks to my parents & girlfriend, who made effective use of their free onboard luggage capacities) it is finally time to hit the trail and head out into the wilderness!

Norway has vast possibilities when it comes to hiking, but since the summer season is rather short in the mountaineous areas, my range of options was fairly limited - at least of those regions which I had familiarized myself with and taken into consideration. The peaks of popular Jotunheimen NP or Rondane NP can already be snowy and cold in late September (given their latitude and elevation) and what the vast Hardangervidda Plateau between Oslo and Bergen lacks in high summits, it more than makes up with treacherous snowstorms and sudden winter outbursts as early as September (2 Scottish cross country skiers died in one of those snowstorms not so long ago). But since weekend trips or dayhikes into the surrounding Nordmarka are still an option in October or maybe even November, I wanted something a little more remote in September. 

Thereore, after consulting my trusted Lonely Planet guidebook and the website of the Norwegian Trekking Association DNT (Den Norske Turistforening), i opted for a 50 km hike from Finse (a stop on the Oslo-Bergen railway line) to Vasbygdi, also known as the classic Aurlandsdalen trek. It is described as a very scenic and historic walk, since it runs along an old traditional hiking trail that connected the East and West of Norway for centuries, and passes by numerous abandoned farms en route through the lush and green valley of Aurlandsdalen. It is also mostly downhill (except for the beginning) and can easily be done in 3-4 days (which is the time window I had at my disposal) covering roughly 50 kilometres of walking distance. It also has the added bonus of ending at scenic Aurlandsfjorden, and seeing a fjord during my 4 months here (preferrably not in winter) was a must.

Originally I had chosen the trip for me and my Austrian friend and fellow hiker Simone, but after she had to cancel due to a conflicting event (she had tickets for the "All Blacks" Kiwi rugby team in London on the same weekend) I decided to do the trip by myself and forego the luxuries of a DNT mountain hut, instead taking my camping gear with me and making use of the quintessential Scandinavian privilege called "allemansretten" ( "every man's right"), which basically allows you to camp anywhere in the countryside, as long as you keep 100m distance to the next house.

I seem to be quite lucky with the weather, because after a week full of rain and grey skies, the weather is predicted to lighten up on Saturday. A welcome change, because this is what the railway station in Finse (the trailhead of my hike) looked like on Wednesday afternoon: 

Even though i've made up my mind to head out under any given conditions, and would actually enjoy putting my hiking gear to the test (after it didn't rain as much as a drop when I hiked through the Hoh rainforest of Olympic NP in the United States back in 2011) I still think that nicer weather would probably make for a better experience... and certainly better pictures, so keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned!

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