Thursday, 16 July 2009

Day One: Krossbu to Falkeberget

I alighted from the train at Otta, this was my third visit to Otta so for me it was familiar territory. Interestingly whilst sorting my gear the train to Oslo arrived and I noticed 5 hikers one of whom was carrying a Golite rucksack, I immediately thought of the Armchair Adventurer who was returning from a trip to Rondane National Park, details of which can be found on his blog. I had time for lunch and a little stroll around Otta before the bus to Sogndal arrived. It is a little over 2 hours bus trip to Krossbu, one of the many stops on the western side of Jotunheimen. Whilst on the bus I met two Norwegian hikers of a similar age to me who were heading out for three weeks and their plan was to walk from Jotunheimen to the Swedish Border which sounded a fascinating trip. However, there was some concern on their part as to whether I should be out hiking by myself, a theme which was repeated several times over the coming days, though they did recognise that if I was staying to the trails then the risks were lessened and as I advised each day I would be passing a DNT shelter, if I had a problem. It was 5:30 pm before I started walking with my Montane Lightspeed on to block the wind. The sun was shining through broken cloud and whilst the forecast was for rain, I was optimistic that I may at least get a dry first day. So I set off along the DNT marked trail heading south along the Bøvre valley towards a saddle to the west of Falkeberget, it was in the vicinity of the saddle that I proposed to camp for the night. The walk along the plain was pleasant with a gradual climb, whilst out to the east I could see Smørstabbrean the first of many glaciers that while receding are still evident in Jotunheimen. As I climbed I also begun to recognise how light it was and camping late in the evening was of no real concern. Later I discovered that it never really gets dark in Jotunheimen at this time of the year. It was an uneventful climb though I was a little surprised when i found that I was walking through well trodden snow drifts which had softened in the afternoon sun, something that I had not expected when I left Copenhagen. During this section of the walk I did wonder however, whether painting ceilings of an apartment was good training, my decision was it was good training for using Pacer Poles, but I am less certain about my legs.
I passed through the saddle and was immediately stunned by the view of the twin peaks of Fannaråken to the west and the high peaks to the south east, it certainly brought a smile to my face after a long trip to get here. I also noticed the increasingly grey clouds and begun to hope that I could get the tent up and have dinner before it rained. Sadly, no, as I commenced to put the tent up on a relatively flat site below the saddle the light rain started and it was about this time the the fiddle factors of the Laser Competition began to annoy me, or was it because I was tired? With the tent set up it was time for dinner and my first Real Turmat for the trip cooked in the vestibule of the tent. It had been a long two days to get here and I went to sleep listening to the rain on the tent.