Friday, 24 July 2009
Day Five: Langvatnet to Memurudalen
I awoke to the sound of light rain on the tent and to mist shrouded mountains. Today was to be a much longer day so an earlier start was required. After having breakfast and with no more rain falling I looked out to see a still lake with the mountains reflected on the water, no hesitation and I was out of the tent camera in hand. By the time I had packed up the breeze had started and as a result the reflections were only memories.
The trail takes the hiker along side of Langvatnet before descending almost 300 metres to Storadalen past the large waterfall on Storåe. It was near the foot of the falls that I begun to recognize the return to society. Up until now I had seen very few hikers, especially given the popularity of the area, but passing 20 Japanese hikers heading in the opposite direction reminded me of the popularity of the area. Before long I left the main trail between Leirvassbu and Gjendebu and commenced the climb back up to the 1400 metre plateau of Memurutunga.
It was very obvious that this was a less traveled route and whilst it was grey and misty with enough breeze to ensure that my Lite-Speed was always worn. After the climb to the plateau the next 5 kilometers or so were spent crossing the undulating alpine environment with its collection of tarns, snow drifts, boulder strewn landscape.
While crossing the plateau I saw a small herd of reindeer, they were out of camera range and seemed to be happily resting on a snow drift. The views across the plateaus to the surrounding peaks were amazing and once I had reached the cliffs above Gjende I was in awe at the colour of the lake as well as the views both east and west, truly fantastic.
The trail I was following ultimately meets up with the more popular walking trail between Gjendebu and Memurubu (2 large hotel like huts in Jotunheimen. The junction is just above a 400 meter in less than a kilometre climb known as Bukkelægret. It was here much to my surprise I met an Australian with his 2 children accompanied by 2 Norwegian men. Interestingly he initially spoke to me in Norwegian and when my english response came back he switched to a very strong aussie accent, we chatted for a few minute before his group headed down the Bukkelægret while I headed across to Sjugurdtinden and the rapid descent into Memurdalen. The walk to Sjugurdtinden continued in the same pattern though I passed more hikers many of whom were carrying large overnight packs, there was also a tent on the side of Langtjønne and I suspect that this area is often used for camping out, something that I had considered but decided to camp lower down in the valley. I was also surprised by the number of hikers who I passed climbing up the Sjugurdtinden at 6 pm at night, there was still plenty of daylight and I have no doubt that they intended to camp out, for me though this was unusual.
The knee jerking descent into Memrubu followed by a short walk up the Memurudalen led me to a pleasant campsite near the fast flowing glacier fed Muru river. It was after 7 pm before I settled down to my dinner, it was also about the same time that the mosquitoes began to appear, fortunately not in large numbers.