Thursday, 22 August 2013

Nordlandsruta: Kvitsteindalstunet to Umbukta Fjellstue, the end.

The realisation that I was running low on food as well as other happenings had been playing in my mind for a couple of days as was the realisation that I really wanted a rest day or 2 and my current plan did not allow for it. You could say I was tired of the rain, suffering from lack of "the right food" though I did not feel hungry and perhaps "had bitten off more than I could chew". So I had reached a point where I was seriously questioning my ability to complete the planned trip. Especially as Umbukta provided an ideal finishing point. I think I had already decided that I had had enough, but somehow I hoped that my mood/mind would change when I reached the fjellstue.

These thoughts were on my mind as I commenced the climb from Kvitsteindalstunet. I suppose my mood was not helped by starting a climb from 600 m which took me to a high point of 800 m before descending again to 600m and then climbing to 1100 m.

The first climb was okay and provided views towards Sweden and Umvatnet. Every time I looked across at Sweden, I wondered how Mark was going. As I began to climb towards the saddle I felt a pain in my right leg (around my shin) possibly caused by yet another slip on what seemed like an innocuous part of the trail. Whilst climbing the pain was not that bad and only became noticeable when I began to descend.

Eerie light over Kallatvatnet

The climb up into the saddle was fairly straightforward across the wet rocks, with the ever present wind and mist, the views to the north to Kallvatnet, with purple grey light on the clouds made me wonder what was to come. Was I really heading to Mordor?

I wandered off the marked trail as I sought a route that would avoid the necessity for climbing a soft snow covered bank. After skirting the snow I chose a route which I hoped, and did, take me to the trail at the top of the saddle which from where I could then descend to the hytta. As I descended I realised that my right shin was very sore and each step was painful, but I needed to continue. Ultimately I arrived at Sauvasshytta and immediately let myself in and set about changing clothes, and cooking dinner. The wind continued to blow and the moisture continued to drop from the sky. I did not get a fire going in the hytte but was comfortably warm and dry. I once again felt that this area was very nice and wanted to return in better weather, possibly next year.

Inside looking out Sauvasshytta

While the wind and mist swirled outside I relaxed in the comfort of the hytte and settled down for what would be my last night on the trail. The following morning the weather was unchanged and the descent across wet rocks and muddy plains began. My right leg was less sore when I started, but gradually became worse the further I walked, it seemed to me that I would need a couple of days rest for it to be less painful.

Morning outside Sauvasshytta

I began the hike down to Umbukta crossing another bridge, the girders were attached to the rocks, but ...
Bridge next to Sauvasskardet

The walk again was pleasant as I wound my way down through open plains with the Sauvassåga river below. After passing over a high point the trail then drops steeply through forest to  the river and then the road. I arrived at the Fjellstue, dripping with water and was reluctant to enter because I was so wet.

However, I did enter and was given a warm welcome and said I could stay in the small stugby.

Dripping as I walked in I removed all the wet gear and entered what would be my home for the night.
If you are ever in the neighbourhood I can strongly recommend Unmbukta Fjellstue, the staff are friendly and helpful the food in the restaurant is enjoyable as is the beer (albeit expensive). My food parcel was there when I arrived and I did feel somewhat annoyed that I would be packing it to bring home, though it did mean I would have plenty of food for a few trips to come.

The following morning one of the staff drove me to Mo i Rana (the bus does not run during school holidays) 40 km away and I caught the train to Trondheim. The train trip was very pleasant, it is a 7 hour trip but you pass through some beautiful mountain scenery and the time passed quickly, I can recommend the train trip.

Arriving in Trondheim is what onto another hotel and then a flight hime the following day.


I learnt a lot on this trip, whilst I have experienced worse conditions over the years it was this trip that coalesced a number of experiences into a realisation of what works for me.

These include;
What type of shelter I prefer.
What type and how much food I need.
How far I can walk in such conditions (In other words don't over estimate).
Look carefully at the route plan especially the ascent and descent.
Plan rest days, and take them.
Most importantly it must be enjoyable.

I was very happy that I had undertaken this route, whilst it was challenging I also found it enjoyable with the variety of landscapes, and the open plains, especially in the later section. I will be back