Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Trip report: Rondane - Day 4

Running out of road

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Distance: 20.39
Ascent: 509
Hardness of road surface: VERY

Finally a nice and warm day! The morning started chilly with frost on the fly sheet. We'd camped in the shade of the hills and did not get the benefit of the lovely morning sunshine, but as soon as we were packed up and had moved out towards Fremre Vulutjønn the sun started warming us up.

Looking back at FremreVulutjønn and where we camped
Before we knew it we were starting to work up a sweat and shell layers were coming off. There was a light breeze that kept us from getting too hot, and for a while the ground was nice and dry.

Weather was nice and toasty
 Unfortunately I have no pictures of the 4 kilometres of morass that we walked through, but flat in the mountains means bog. Especially after a fairly wet summer. Mostly we made good speed and as this was the last day my wife was chomping at the bit, wanting to get back to our daughter. Towards the end of the plateau I was resorting to "That's definitely the last crest we're seeing there."
The saturation of this picture shows how sunny it really was
As we summited the (actual) last crest we were coming upon quite a few day walkers in various states of undress. On the mountain nobody looks I guess.

Looking down towards the cabin and the end of the journey
 We were finally powering downhill with the cabin (almost) in sight and hit the tarmac with feet that had taken a bit of a pounding coming down off of the plateau. We decided that instead of calling my father to come and pick us up we'd go it alone and proceeded to eat up kilometers on the road. This was maybe not the best idea as the dirt road had turned into something akin to concrete. After half an hour on this my feet were feeling rather sore and as we could finally get off this surface into the last bit of the walk to the cabin I couldn't have been happier.

Fairly accurate final kit list.

Trip report: Rondane - Day 3

The long way home

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Distance: 20.08 km
Ascent: 778 m
Rocks stumbled over: 1 million and one

Sorry about the very late posting. I realise I'm not a natural writer and sometimes writing these posts are more about squeezing a stone than letting juices flow.

We started this day fairly relaxed. Took our time packing up the tent and doing the morning rituals. Weather outlook was fairly good, not warm, but not raining either. Or so we thought. After a short while a cold blustering wind started picking up which made us happy every time we passed behind a fold in the landscape. A (what turned out to be premature) lunch was had sitting among some rocks and heating up some water to make a warm drink. At this point we spotted the heaviest walker we saw on the trip. This was a well built guy, not fat, with the largest pack I ever saw. I think it might have been the biggest pack he'd ever seen as well because he was really struggling under the weight of the thing.

After a couple of hours walking I realised that today would really be challenging. My father had suggested a bit route that went off the track and over very rocky terrain. For me this wasn't a massive issue, but my wife was not brought up in the mountains and is quite a careful walker. As we got to the point where it made sense to leave the well marked path and make our way over a stream we chose a boulder field to avoid having to get our feet wet. At this point I should have realised what issues lay in front of us at it took us at least 20 minutes to cross.

Looks easy but those pebbles down there are actually the size of small cars.
What we should have done at this point is to walk right up the side of the hill, but as this was a bit intimidating to some we walked along the hill looking for an easier ascent. It never turned up but repeated slippery stone fields that slowed us to a crawl turned up instead. Eventually I made the decision that we should go back to the track and do the long walk around instead. Except now we were on the wrong side of the stream... We walked along the side of the stream looking for a good place to cross, but eventually ran out of stream as it dove away into a gorge. We decided that any place was as good as another, took our shoes off and splashed in. Well that was a mistake. My Merrel TrailGloves dry fast and have a much better grip than the soles of my feet. Halfway through I slipped on some rocks and twisted my ankle slightly. The cold water and the slightness of the twist meant that I didn't realize what had happened until the ache started setting in about an hour later.

Looking down towards Bjørnholia

Now that we were back on the track we knew we had a long walk ahead of us. We tried to push the pace a bit, but Landes unfamiliarity with the terrain meant that we still weren't exactly racing. Halfway through it even seemed quite easy as we descended down to Bjørnholia, but as we walked up again on the other side, now a bit short on energy the walk was turning long.

As we approached the Vulu lakes the landscape really changed into vegetation covered sand dunes, streams and grasses. This was starting to look like we might have a brilliant camping spot. The crossing of these streams was a bit interesting as  the water was freezing cold, and the planks and stones placed to cross were largely washed away.

Indre Vulutjønn in sight
In the end we camped on a little island among the streams. A bit noisy and somewhat damp, but the grass was lovely and soft. During the night we must have crossed under 0'C as we had frost on the tent in the morning.