Archive for June, 2013

Malangshytta

What do you give someone who has everything? My answer to that was a weekend away :) So the weekend after Paul’s birthday, I had reserved Malangshytta through inatur.no. This cabin belongs to the Hunting and Fishing Association, but can be rented by anyone. It’s a wonderful spacious cabin on a lake (Ytre Fiskelausvatnet), quite close to the road but very secluded – we didn’t see anyone for more than a day, even though there are some houses/cabins closeby.

Malangshytta Malangshytta hidden in the forest

Like most Norwegian cabins, there is no electricity, only a primitive outhouse and you have to get your water from the lake. There was no mobile signal here, let alone internet. Our only luxury was an FM radio :) it was wonderful to be away from everything for a while. I’m quite an internet addict, but every once in a while I really enjoy to be cut off ;)

The comfy living room and kitchen One of the 2 bedrooms, you can sleep 8 people in this cabin

We arrived on Friday night, and Saturday was rainy. We didn’t mind, we spent our time drinking tea, eating brownies and other nice food and reading books and magazines. In the evening the weather cleared up, and we went for a short walk along the shore of the lake. Impressive clouds!

Impressive clouds hiding the mountain tops on the other side of the lake

It was surprisingly windy! This caused quite a lot of waves on the lake, and I had fun trying to capture them :)

Very windy! Waves crashing on the shore - this one got me and my camera quite wet!

This is the sheltered bay near the cabin. It was so windy even the ferns wouldn’t sit still for a photo…

The beach and sheltered bay near the cabin Pretty path to the cabin, but the ferns wouldn't sit still for the photo!

On Sunday it was very calm, and it was amazing to see the lake completely flat after all the waves the previous day. It was still raining, but when it stopped for a while, we decided to try the boat that comes with the cabin. We briefly tried to use it on Saturday, but the wind and the waves were too strong, and the boat was difficult to row as it didn’t have any rollocks (just loops of string). It was much easier now that the wind and waves were gone :) We rowed over the completely calm lake, and even tried our fishing luck. There are supposed to be Arctic Char and Trout in the lake, but unfortunately the lake lived up to its name ;) – Ytre Fiskelausvatnet means “Outer Fishless lake”. It started raining heavily when we were on the other side of the lake, and by the time we came back we were completely soaked.

Rowing over a mirror-lake Paul and lots and lots of rain drops ;) We disturbed this black-throated Loon, probably near its nest, as it gave an impressive show of trying to swim with broken wings, to distract us I suppose

Even though the weather was less than ideal, we kind of fell in love with Malangshytta :) We really enjoyed the peace and quiet at this beautiful spot, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be back here!

Birthday BBQ

Paul had his birthday yesterday, but as the weather suddenly cleared up the evening before, we decided to go for an early birthday BBQ on the beach at Grøtfjord. I never get bored of this place, it’s such a pretty beach…

BBQ on the beach at Grøtfjord Panorama of Grøtfjord beach, just before the sun disappears behind Vengsøya

We stayed on the beach until about 23:00, when the sun is still up but it disappears behind Vengsøya. The light was so pretty on the way back to Tromsø that we stopped several times to take some photos…

Fantastic views on the way back to Tromsø, Kaldfjorden is like a mirror here

At Eidkjosen, Lance (the research ship that Paul spends a lot of time on) was also reflected in the calm waters – beautiful!

Tromsdalstinden, Håkøya and Lance, all reflected :) Lance, the research ship that Paul spends a month on every year

One final stop on our way home, on Tromsø island looking towards Kvaløya.

View towards Ersfjorden from Tromsø Midnight sun reflections

The next day, on his actual birthday, we kept changing our plans. We were going to eat sushi at our favourite restaurant, but it was warm and sunny so we decided to go for a boat trip to Hekkingen. But by the time we were ready to put the boat in the water, it had clouded over. We’re a bit spoilt, so we decided not to go. Instead, we tried to reach Torsnes beach near Sommarøy. It looked like an easy trip on the map, but it turned out to be a nightmare ;) Lots of marsh and too many small trees, terrible amounts of mosquitos, and finally we couldn’t cross the ridge as you had to climb nearly vertically on huge boulders. Never mind… at least we got some nice views of Sommarøy…

View from the Torsnes-aksla (ridge) towards Brensholmen, Sommarøy and Håja

Next time, we’ll follow the beach at the bottom of the ridge instead of trying to cross it ;)

Tromsø to Finnsnes – by bike!

Paul came back from a work trip to Boston last week, and when I picked him up from the airport he asked me to help carry his luggage. I wondered what the problem was – he only took one bag. Then I noticed a big cardboard box on the luggage band, clearly containing a bike… :D It’s a hybrid between a road bike and a touring bike, a model he tried to order in Tromsø but none of the shops was willing to get it. Well, I guess it’s easier to import it yourself then ;)

I also finally installed a carrier on my mountain bike, and I bought a set of panniers. The weather looked ok for the weekend, so a plan was quickly made: we were going to cycle to Finnsnes! We left on Saturday morning, and cycled towards Sommarøy. Here is a map, with our route for day 1 in red, and for day 2 in blue.

Paul and his new bike near the top of Kattfjordeidet

The part I dreaded most was crossing Kattfjordeidet, where the road climbs up to nearly 200 m – a loooonggg climb. But by going slowly in the lowest gear you eventually make it to the top – and of course the best bit is the downhill reward :)

We cycled to Brensholmen, and took the ferry across to Botnhamn on Senja. Guess what happens when two people who’ve been cycling all day in grey/windy/rainy/cold weather get inside a warm ferry that makes gentle rocking movements?? ZzZzzZzzz….

From Botnhamn it was about an hour to our destination for the day: Fjordbotn Camping. A great location, and a fantastic view from our cabin – but we did think the campsite was messy and that our cabin was really expensive for what it was (we paid 800 kr for a very worn cabin with a kitchenette and bathroom, without bedding or towels!).

Total distance for the day: 57 km from Tromsø to the ferry, 12 from the ferry to the campsite, making a total of 69.

The cabin we rented at Fjordbotn camping We couldn't complain about the view from our cabin! Around midnight the light and clouds were very pretty

We were really hoping to wake up to a sunny day, but unfortunately it was even worse than the day before. The weather forecast called for “mainly dry” but the first part of our day was “mainly wet” ;) Still, it was a pretty ride along quiet roads, with nice views of the coast.

Up and down along the quiet roads on Senja Very pleased with my new bike setup (carrier + panniers + handlebar bag)

We only had 45 km to cycle that day, so we had more time to take photos :)

Some pretty views along the coast Wow, so fast! ;)

From Finnsnes we took the fast ferry back to Tromsø, it only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes! We had never been on one of those, but it was very comfortable, with scenic views. A great way to come home :)

Middagsfjellet

Last week the weather was stunning, so when Hannah asked me whether I was up for a trip, the answer was yes :). I did have to be at work by 15:15 though, so we needed to start early. We picked one of the mountains from Turboka: Middagsfjellet (678 m high) on Kvaløya, near Grøtfjord.

The first part was steep, but we quickly made it to the ridge – with very festive markings and a fantastic view towards Nordtinden, Skulsfjord and Bellvika.

Festive marking on the ridge, with a great view towards Nordtinden, Skulsfjord and Bellvika

We had about 5 hours to make it to the top and back, which was definitely doable but it did mean I couldn’t stop as often as I normally do. Which in turn meant that I didn’t take that many photos ;) But luckily Hannah is a lot faster than me, so I could leave the photo-taking to her: the results are here.

We were slightly disappointed when we got to the top, as it’s a plateau where the ridge actually blocks a lot of the views – we couldn’t see Grøtfjord for example, nor the valley between us and Orvasstinden. But hey, the view towards the open ocean was still impressive :)

View from the top

On the way up we avoided the snow, but on the way down we actually followed the last remains of snow – it’s much better for your knees than loose rocks. The snow didn’t always hold us though, and I even managed to scrape my leg open by falling through the icey snow – who knew that was possible?!

View towards Store Blåmann and Orvasstinden, and above Hannah you can see the top of Middagsfjellet

On the way down we went down a steep valley instead of following the ridge all the way. This was an attempt to save time, but it was a bit of an overgrown jungle which slowed us down. Still, we made it back to the car with about 10 minutes to spare :D It was a great hike, in fantastic weather – which left me quite severely sunburnt though (in spite of applying sunscreen several times). I can never decide if hikes before work are a good idea – on the one hand I am very happy I went for a nice trip while the weather was good, on the other hand it makes for a very tired person on duty ;)

Here’s a map and a height profile of our trip…

Map of our hike to Middagsfjellet Height profile of our hike to Middagsfjellet