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13.12.2017

Scandinavian wilderness hike 9- Børgefjell





My next destination is the Børgefjell, another wild Nationalpark with hardly any infrastructure that is sometimes compared to the better known swedish Sarek. Sarek is often termed "Europe's last wilderness" so I am looking forward to what Børgefjell has to offer.
As I got somehow stranded in Snåsa, far from my planned route, because I was running out of food as cause of very bad weather, I decide not to return to my exit point but rather to hitchhike to Røyrvik and continue from there. 
I used to do a lot of hitchhiking in Scandinavia, but that is already decades ago, so I am quite happy, when I find out, that even nowadays the autostopp is a good transport option here.
A young Norwegian guy is on the way over the swedish border, where he wants to fill the trunk of his car with comparatively cheap alcohol. But he certainly hopes not to get into a control, otherwise it would be a rather expensive trip...
At the supermarket in Røyrvik I collect my parcel and go shopping. I am happy for my second pair of trailrunning shoes, the old ones still work, but are rather hard on my feet, because there is no cushion left. As the weather is quite nice now, I feast one more time on a big bowl of ice cream...

                                Supermarket in Røyrvik

                                                                   Yummy....

Inside the fillingstation there is an exhibition about Børgefjell and the friendly clerk organises the boat across the large lake Namsvatn for tomorrow. I buy 2 maps for the trailless Børgefjell and want to swap  my smelly socks with hundreds of holes for new ones. But even my argument, that they would be nice for the exhibition finds no big applause. At least I get some discount...
Across swamps, birchforests, some hay meadows and a lot of lakes I follow the 15 km road to Namsvatn. I enjoy my evening stroll after having pitched my camp very much. In this low lying area it is very green, full of flowers and singing birds. Hard to believe that tomorrow I will be back in the snow...


                                    Nice evening stroll


                                  Spotted orchid

Next morning the short good weather interlude is already gone, under a grey sky a not too heavy but steady rain is falling. Soon I reach the marina at Namsvatn, were surprisingly many cars are parked. There is an open building where one could rest or even sleep and have a shower! Another guy is waiting for the boat, planning to meet some friends on the shore for fishing and camping.
Finally the captain appears and we board the tiny vessel, heading for the other side of the lake. It is even possible to pay the cruise by credit card, which is processed by an smartphone app...

                               Boat ride across Namsvatn

When after 20 minutes we get closer to the far shore, the mighty Storelva waterfall comes into view. Even the captain has hardly ever seen it with that much water...
The other guys wish me luck for my hike, well aware that it will be possibly very difficult with all the flooded rivers after the torrential rains of the last days, combining with the peaking snowmelt higher up. For a minute I ask myself if it is stupid to attempt the crossing of Børgefjell in these conditions, but like so often curiosity and my sense for adventure win...
                 
Dropped in Børgefjell

Some young Norwegians are hanging out at a shelter on the shore, waiting for better weather to fish, and a little further I pass DNT-Viermahytta. My original route stays on this side of Virmaelva, but as there is a bridge across and hopefully a path that continues, I try my luck on the other side.

                           Torrential Virmaelva after the rains

Unfortunately the path soon disappears and I continue cross- country, occasionally using some sheep trail. Here at around 500 meters the birch forest is surprisingly tangled. Most of the time I can sneak around across open areas but sometimes I have to push hard into the brush. Not that the rain alone wouldn't be uncomfortable enough, now I get cold showers from the water sodden branches and be soon wet to the skin. Very uncomfortable....
When I reach the tributary Saapmanelva, I immediately realize that even this normally not so big creek now is uncrossable. I am happy that I bought the topographic maps, so I can easily develop an alternative route which goes high up, where I hope to cross more easy the maze of feeder creeks.

                                 Small Saapmanelva is a torrent as well...

                              Big detours to avoid the swollen creeks

Later in the afternoon the weather clears, I get higher up and around 1000 meters I am back in winter with frozen lakes, snowbridges and willows which are not even blossoming! A cold wind is blowing, and I could only dream about yesterdays mild evening...
But anyway I am happy to find a snowfree spot to pitch my tent...

                                  Camp near Saapmanjaevrie

Quite unusual my tent is dry in the morning! The temperature is four °C and it looks like it is going to be a nice day!
Soon I leave the valley with the still frozen lakes and ascent to a pass at about 1100 meters. 







                                             July 17 in Børgefjell

Although mostly the landscape is snowy, there are some patches where the snow has melted and flowers are blooming. These snow free areas are everything the snow buntings need, which are usually the only birds in the still mostly snow covered areas. One bird pretends to be injured and I find a nest with four surprisingly large eggs.

                                       Some blossoms in snow free areas 

                                       Snow bunting nest

There are no markings, no tracks or any other signs of human presence, once again I get the feeling to have a whole area for myself!


                               Wide open spaces in Børgefjell

Most of the day I walk across open, plateau like landscapes which are easy to walk even without trails. To my delight the rivers are not swollen any more, unbelievable how fast they went from torrential to normal...
In the afternoon I get the first views of the impressive, glaciated Kvigtinden massiv. Although not reaching 1700 meters, this area looks really alpine, although too much snow for my taste...

                              The impressive Kvigtinden mountains

A steep descent brings me down into the valley below Store Kjukelvatnet. I was afraid, that the river might not be crossable after my experiences from yesterday, but there are still snow bridges in the upper reaches. This valley has already shedded most of the snow load. Hard to believe how quick the conditions can change, similar to what I found at Dovrefjell!
Next morning I walk for some time in the valley, parallel to the Kvigtinden. From a rocky hill, I get good views back, but most of the time the tops stay in the clouds.

                                   The clouds lift from Kvigtinden

On the hill I find a little hut and a reindeer enclosure, no  surprise, as Børgefjell is a Southern Sami herding area.
I walk across green hills with many birds towards Susendalen.
From a hill at 958 meters I can already spot where the birch forest starts.












                                                       Towards Susendal

I am a little sad, that I am already leaving Børgefjell, the visit was far too short, but as I am behind my schedule, I need to cover more distance now...
Dry birch hills and wet swampy valleys alternate, but I manage to find a good route across and finally I get on a muddy track. It doesn't take long and I find out what left this damage to the soil, snowmobiles, for the summer fitted with chains...
Some of these vehicles are parked on a meadow.

                                                    Snowmobiles can be fitted with chains

Susendal with hay meadows, scattered farms and some fields is again another world...
I soon get on a tarmack road, but there is no car!

                                                 Susendal

After 8 kilometers walking on tarmack the first car I see stops, it turns out that it is a taxi, but anyway the pony- tailed driver announces that he would like to drive me for free to Hattfjelldal, where I need to buy provisions, for the next, longer stretch along Okstindan and Saltfjell to Sulitjelma, already north of the arctic circle!





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