Scandinavian wilderness hike 7- from Skarvan og Roltdalen to Blåfjella-Skjaerkerfjella

On this stage I will cross some more of the little known, but beautiful areas of Central Norway...

When I wake up next morning, the fine weather has changed, it is raining and grey...
The nice family treats me with a very good breakfast, very welcome, as the scales in the bathroom tell, that I have lost about 5 kg in the first month...
I didn't find an attractive path out of the Haltdalen valley, therefore I am grateful when my hosts announce, that they are willing to give me a 12 km lift, to the Nordpa Hotel, where a DNT- Trail starts, which I want to take.
In light rain I ascent across birch and spruce forest, before I am back again on the open fjell. There is a marked historic route, with some signboards, giving explanations. The Karolinerleden was the route the swedish army of General Arnfeldt took after the retreat from the failed siege of Trondheim in 1718. It was January and most of the soldiers wore inadequate clothes. So when a snow storm hit, 3700 men, from the army of 5800 died! 

                           Karolinerleden was the stage of a death march

Higher up it is quite foggy, the mystic background for the wide moorland on the plateau Öyfjell. A surprisingly long descent brings me to the village Gressli in Tydalen. Now it rains heavily and I am happy to find shelter in a shack. 
When the rain thins I cross the road and walk across the wet forest upwards. As I don't like to camp on the foggy moorlands I call it a day when I reach Graesslihytta near the treeline, where no other guest is around.
Next morning it is still very wet, foggy and gray. My mood drops dramatically. Normally I feel very good on every hiking day, even if the conditions are not ideal, but now I have a headache, the right hamstring feels inflamed, and overall I am tired. Is this the beginning of illness? 
Anyway, I keep on walking and hope that my condition will get better during the day. 
I have now entered Skarvan og Roltdalen Nationalpark, with 440 sqkm smaller than the bigger parks to the south, but ecologically quite diverse. Unfortunately I learn only after my return, that Roltdalen is a gem with primeval coniferous forest! My route rather crosses mostly open fjell, but there are birch forests in the valleys and steep, snow covered slopes are not far.

                                   Across Skarvan og Roltdalen Nationalpark

                                          Moose droppings

                                        Open birch forest 

Sometimes it seems that the clouds are going to lift, but the next downpour is never far...
I am glad about my umbrella, it gets a lot of use here...
Not too far away from the Schulzhytta I come to a clearing with huts. Some Reindeer disappear when they see me, but soon return. I still think, that they are wild. Only when I meet the first person of the day, a Norwegian Woman who works at Schulzhytta, which just has opened, she tells me, that the Reindeer of the Area are owned by Sami people. So I have already left the realm of the Wild Reindeer further south and from now on these animals are all tame...
In the afternoon I mostly walk on dry ridges covered by scattered birches between the vast expanses of moorland.
As I still feel exhausted I have just walked 22 Kilometers today and hope that tomorrow I am better. Some Ibuprofen and Voltaren should help...
After a good nights sleep I break camp and feel more energetic, although a steady drizzle is still falling. Anyway, I love these green, open expanses and see the most birds so far.

                                      In Skarvan og Roltdalen

Later in the day I make a mistake, by following the red Andreas crosses, which mark the winter ski route. As it doesn't avoid the moorlands, I often have to cross shaking peat and sometimes sink deep into the smelly, brown mud...

                                       Following the Winter route is a mistake

I pass the large Finnkoisjøen and be happy when I find a patch with beautiful purple orchids. While the paler, spotted orchids are quite common here, these more brightly coloured species is rather rare.

                                         Beautiful orchid

Before reaching the isolated Bjørneggen farm I cross an inclined gorge and get to a dam, where Beavers were at work.

                                          Beavers are present near Bjørneggen

At Bjørneggen there is a large farm with tractor in front, some scattered weekend houses and a DNT-hut, where I have my chocolate break. Stupidly I hang my gloves to dry at the gutter, not realizing that it is full of water, therefore they now are really wet...
At Bjørneggen I get on the european long distance trail E 1, which runs from Sicily to the North Cape...
Although my route doesn't stick completely to it, I will use the trail for a long time. There are no special E 1 markers, because it uses the local DNT- Trails.
From Bjørneggen I walk for a long time across dense spruce and birch forest, again a very different landscape! At a cluster of huts I loose the trail and need to search for a while before I can continue.

                       Dense forest between Bjørneggen and Kluksdal

There are quite a lot of birds, all near their nests, and warning about my presence. Some limicoles are not shy at all.

                                            Whimbrel on a spruce

                                                                               Green sandpiper

When I reach the scattered houses of Kluksdal the weather clears just after a heavy shower and I know once again why Norway is considered so beautiful...

                                                The sky clears

To my surprise I meet a father and his three sons in the forest. They take part in a summer challenge, where certain mountain tops need to be reached. A good idea and apparently quite popular in Norway. The participants win a T-shirt!
Now the rocky, quite steep birch forest is again a very distinct landscape, surprises of Central Norway!
After heavy rain in the night I ascend across birches and granite to Litjfjellet. 

                                                       Birch forest and granite

Heavy showers come and go and I have to take good care when descending the granite. At one steep section I manage to slip and fall, luckily without big damage...
In Teveldalen I hope on a shop where I can buy some more provisions. In Haltdalen I forgot to buy my beloved Nugatti...
But apart of the usual scattered houses and a staffed mountain hut, there is nothing. I cross the E 14 and ascent on a road to the former train station Teveldalen. There are a lot of weekend homes, but luckily after the train station I leave the road behind and climb further, first across forest then in open fjell.
So far each meeting in the fjell is something special, as there are no other hikers. So when I meet Kari and her two childs we have a short chat. The family has a cabin at Skurdalssjøen lake, not to far away from here, which they visit quite often during weekends and school holidays.

                                I meet a Norwegian family


Soon I am at the swedish border which is marked by huge, yellow painted cairns. A smaller stone plate tells, that the border stone originates from 1738. For Kilometers I follow a massive Reindeer fence, that runs along the border. But large parts of it are  not standing any more. As I get to know during my trek, such fences are quite common all over the range of Reindeer herding. So the common believe in "free roaming" Reindeer herds is not totally true. Mostly they contain large areas, but still somehow they form artificial barriers for larger wildlife, although probably most of the time, it is not easy to keep them intact....

                                                 On the swedish border

While the rain has ceased, a strong, cold wind is blowing now, so I desperately search for a sheltered camping spot. When I find one in a valley, one of the attachment lines on the back of my tent rips! It is not a big deal, but as this is an expensive, assumable high quality item I am not very content...
After only two kilometers I leave the DNT- Trail and start a trackless shortcut which will occupy me most of the day...
The descent to the eastern edge of Hallsjøen is surprisingly difficult. There is a good number of small but steep granite gorges which block my way. I slip and fall two times, but with no harm...
I wade the broad outflow of Hallsjøen without problems and steeply ascent to about 900 meters. Below lies the Nature Reserve of Koltjønndalen with spruce and birch forest, but I will traverse on the open slopes towards the impressive granite mountain Storkjøhaugen at about 1200 meters.

                                                   Trackless in Koltjønndalen Reserve

                               The Reindeer change to their summer pelt

Once again I am impressed by this beautiful, diverse landscape. Even though the mountains are lower than in the south, for me they are as impressive...
Although it is already July, in the birch forest spring flowers like wood anemones are still blossoming.

                                      Wood Anemones

When a brown Ptarmigan hen slowly moves away on foot, I hear a faint piping and spot at least two tiny, yellow little chicks, one of them taking to a creek and swimming away!
I circumnavigate the slopes of Storkjølhaugen, descent to a flat bowl and walk across a small pass between the granite ridges. 
The landscape on the other side is much flatter, but again crisscrossed by many granite gorges.

                                      Many steep granite gorges

When a Ptarmigan hen again gets up and pretends to be injured I soon find her nest, with 9 large brown speckled eggs. Welcome and bitter needed protein- no, I certainly leave it as I found it....

                                          Ptarmigan nest

The evening is surprisingly mild and sunny, and, there is no wind at all! As a consequence this is the first time that mosquitos and midges become really annoying. Midges so far I mainly linked to Scotland, but here in Central Norway the "Knots" seem to be a plague as well....And I unfortunately forgot to remove the insect repellent from my parcel in Haltdalen, bad mistake...

                                   Beautiful evening light

When I am in the tent all the insects start a siege to get in, but surprisingly after one hour it is totally calm again. Probably it got too cold for the bugs...
Next morning the temperature is 7,5°C and there are not many insects around. While I start in Climalite Pullover, soon I just wear my T-Shirt, really nice weather for the first time since a week!
The landscape is jagged and beautiful with gorges, lakes, moors, birch forests and mountains. 
I get back on the DNT- trail, but like on so many trails in Central Norway, there are the red T-markers, but no real path...
Quite often I find sundews on the swamps. In Germany quite rare, here in Central Norway this meat-eating plant seems to be abundant!


While I am descending a sparsely forested slope, I spot something brown and black. First I think of horses, but then I realize, that it is a moose cow with her newborn calves! I didn't know, that they are chocolate brown when young!
Unfortunately they get notice of me, before I can get closer to take a picture...
I arrive at the road 72 at Sandvika which I follow for some kilometers. Luckily there is hardly any traffic, but apart of scattered houses, there is nothing, not even a tiny shop...
After about five kilometers I reach the DNT-hut Bellingstua, close to the road. I don't want to stay there, but am grateful for the food. Although nobody is around it is possible to take some cookies and marmelade from the stock.
Now the trail crosses an area of wide, sparsely wooded moorlands, where I need to follow red painted sticks.

Across wide moorlands near Bellingstua

Redshanks make a lot of noise because they don't want me near their nests.

                                     Noisy Redshank

At the edge of swamp pools Bogbeans are flowering, another rare plant I already know from home...


When I see quite many Dragonflies circling fast above the ponds I know summer has arrived!


Although I did only 24 kilometers, I pitch camp early, to have enough time for a long evening stroll across the moors in this fine weather. As I like these evening walks, just with binoculars and camera, I find it a pity, that I didn't take the time for it very often, because I wanted to do more distance. As this is somehow necessary to reach the next resupply point, I don't want to be stressed by the need to do a certain distance in a given time. 
As the evening is very mild with the full moon rising, there are lots of midges. It is almost impossible to keep them outside when I leave the tent, and as I have no repellent, they are a test for my patience...
Next morning I wake from the trumpeting of Cranes and continue across the moors which have a unique character with their scattered stands of pine and birch.

                           Wide forest and moor landscape

An old Kota seems to get quite frequent use according to the guestbook. It is open and free of charge, but a little trashed...

                           It is possible to sleep here

The landscape has an almost Alaska like dimension, with the distinct peaks of Blåfjella- Skjaekerfjella in the background. I am looking forward to walk mostly trailless across these vast, little known, wild mountains...

Alaska-like landscape

On one of the lakes I spot a red- throated loon, probably the most beautiful diver of the north.

                                                    Red- throated loon

On the descent towards Veresvatnet I cross open pine forest, where I meet other typical birds for the first time on this hike: Siberian jays, always active and curious...

                                                Siberian jay

The weather has changed again, so when I reach the shore of the large Veresvatnet, I get into a heavy downpour. Later when I walk the road to Vera, more showers are falling, and I seek shelter for some time at an open hut near the sports field.
When the rain ceases a bit, I start my trek across Blåfjella-Skjaerkerfjella.

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