Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cabin Trip in Dovrefjell National Park

Last weekend, Kim and I rented a car once again and headed south with our friends Matthieu and Marion to the National Park of Dovrefjell. This park is primarily alpine with soft rolling mountains reaching up to 2200 meters and is inhabited by Muscox. While we unfortunately didn't see any Muscox, we did enjoy the sights and sounds of a landscape preparing for season of snow.
We headed up on Saturday and planned a 2 day loop trip with a short first day to a cabin (one of thousands that make up the cabin network here in Norway). We had a relaxing hike in and had a nice evening chilling out with some card games and good food. The next day, we did a much longer route that would take us up into the alpine and down a different valley back to our car. Everything went smooth and here are some good shots to give you an idea of the trip. Enjoy!
Old village still used for farming today. This was the location of our hytta (cabin).

The beautiful valley that we hiked up

Nice trail through the trees

On a stroll from the cabin and taking a break

The next day, hiking out of the valley; old village and cabin below.

The hike started with 500 meters straight up to get up to the alpine plateaus

Into the alpine

Despite bad weather surrounding us, we lucked out with some cloudy blue skies.

Marion, Matthieu, Kim and Myself

The moonscape landscape is barren yet beautiful at the same time

Some light rain gave us yet another rainbow

Despite having no trees or shrubs, the landscape is quite colourfull from all the low-lying alpine plants turning as the fall and winter approaches.

Starting to head down another valley

Very old farm houses made of stone, some wood and sod roofs (as is normal here in Norway)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trondheim Countryside Road Ride

The other week, Kim and I decided to get out for a longish road ride on our commuter bikes to some areas around Trondheim that we had not yet visited. We set out with an informal plan and ended up going around some mountains, scenic lakes and road on some very quiet country roads. The weather was scattered but we ended up escaping the rain and even had some very warm sunny moments. With the daylight getting shorter everyday, the temperatures are also going down accordingly so any warm weather is currently being cherished by us! In the end, we more or less stuck to our intended route and clocked about 120km which was great.

Kim with one of many many rainbows we've seen in the past few weeks

Taking a short break on the shores of Andoya Lake

Kim making some friends!

Along the way we stopped and watched a sheep herding competition which was part of a Norwegien Cup Series. It was pretty impressive to see the level of control the owners had with their Border Collies! The owner stood on a platform up to about 800m away and instructed the dog to herd the sheep through a series of gates and finally to a ring where the owner would have to spit the sheep in two and put them in a fenced enclosure. Never seem anything like this before!
We had a great ride through the countryside and it reinforced to us once again just how nice this Country is just on the outskirts of any town or City.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Climbing at Hardmoen

A couple weekends back, we rented a car and headed west to a climbing spot called 'Hardmoen' with a group of friends. This location featured a 30 meter wall with a good mixture of holds along with some crack and an overhang section at the top of one route. As none of us have trad gear nor know how to use it propery, we top ropped the 30 meter routes and I led a shorter anchored route. I'm not too confident leading but am starting to get better at it with practice. All in all, despite the bit of rain we got, it was a great day of climbing.
The Hardmoen wall; Me going up the 30 meter route

Kim going vertical

Marion finding the best route

On belay

Marion going up to the overhang

Taking a break midway up the route

Salmon on the BBQ

Waiting out some rain with some good company!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Car Tripping Through Fjordland - The Highlights

As usual, so much has been happening that updating my blog has taken a back seat. I've been biking, climbing, doing cabin trips, and just downright enjoying life. On the larger scale though, I was able to do a 10 day car trip from Trondheim down to Bergen and back to take in all the larger than life, world-class sights that are the epitomy of what one thinks of when they think of Norway; majestic fjords, steep vertical mountains, coastal communities and of course, mountain hiking.

This all happened as Kim and I had a visit from Shane and Sonja from Victoria who would be over for a two week period to enjoy the best that Norway has to offer. With over 1000 photos taken of the many places we visited, here is a selection of the highlights for me.

The Atlantic Road

Definitely a highlight was Trollstigen (small switchback road) and Trollveggen (highest vertical drop in Northern Europe. Here is Shane, Sonja and I at base of the Trollstigen climb.

Trollstigen is inhabited by a colony of Trolls

Trollstigen Looking down from the top

On top of Trollstigen

Too big to get into one photo, here is the best to get an idea. If you don't know about this road, if you've seen any base jumping videos or guys flying in wingsuits, this is where you have likely seen them. Check out this video to see wingsuit jumpers flying beside the road!

From Trollstigen, you can hike right up to the top of Trollveggen to get an impressive view straight down to the valley floor!

Hiking to Trollveggen

The impressive backside of Trollveggen (it is nearly vertical on BOTH sides!)

Looking out from Trollveggen

The extremely steep face of Trollveggen

The view of Trollveggen from the other side

The Unesco World Heritage site of Geiranger Fjord

One of many many many waterfalls and glaciers we saw

Hike to the foot of Jostedalsbreen glacier

Hiking up the 1848m Skaala Mountain from sea level. There also happens to be a mountain race here with substantial prize money to anyone who can beet the course record (currently 1:08:39). That is crazy crazy fast considering...

...this is what people are running up!

The top of Skaala

A beautiful morning

A small small road that we found to get to the below campsite

Cows interested in hanging around and licking our tent

Small peak hike in rock land!

Exploring the City of Bergen

Drive up the Flambosa Valley

Hiking in Jotenheiman National Park

On top of the 2nd highest peak in Northern Europe (2nd by 3 meters)

The quaint town of Lom

Having fun on a ropes course!

We went through a lot of tunnels on the trip including the longest tunnel in the world at just under 25 km. On that day, I think we went through 46 tunnels!

And, the little Yaris that took us everywhere. Here, exploded and used for drying our gear!

It was absolutely amazing to see so many of these world class sites. Definitely making the best of our time here!