Archive for September, 2013

Skamtinden

We had planned to go for a 5 day hiking trip starting on Friday, but as we were both very tired, and the weather forecast looked very wet – we decided to stay at home. We couldn’t resist making the most of a sunny Friday though, and we decided to go up Skamtinden (884 m). This mountain has been on my “wish list” for a long time, but it’s a long drive and a very steep climb. You go up the 884 m within 2 kilometres! The advantage of such a steep climb is that you’re soon rewarded with very nice views…

View over Rekvik Paul looking over towards the island of Sessøya. The island behind Sessøya is Håja - almost unrecognisable from this angle!

We reached the top after about 2.5 hours. The very last bit to the top is quite crazy, and you need your hands to climb up to the cairn, with steep drops all around. We made the mistake of first looking at the top from a different angle, where you can see a sheer drop going almost 900 m straight down to sea level, just next to the cairn… gulp 😉

View over Ersfjorden The sheer drop below the top cairn - crazy!

Fortunately you don’t see much of this as you approach the cairn from a different angle, and after some scrambling we soon enjoyed fantastic views 🙂

View from the top Paul on the final scramble to the top

I was a bit worried about coming down that bit, but it turned out to be fine. We were in good spirits when we started the way down…

A relieved smile - getting up was one thing, I was a bit worried about coming back ;) You can see all the way to Sandøya and Sørfugløya from here

… but we soon found out that it was exhausting to come down on the loose rock/gravel path. Luckily the sunset views were very nice 🙂

The walk down was exhausting, but the sunset views were nice :)

It took the same amount of time to come down as it did to go up… and we got back to the car pretty knackered. My muscles have been sore for 3 days now, but it was totally worth it 😀

Nonstinden

Paul came back from sea last weekend, and after resting a bit, we decided to make the most of the forecasted sunny (and warm!) autumn weather. We drove to Tønsvik, and reached the cabin at Nonsbu after just over 2 hours, in cloudy but dry weather. It was Sunday night, and there was only one other guest in the cabin. The cabin has 2 parts, and plenty of space, so this wasn’t a problem 🙂

On Monday morning we woke up to sunshine 🙂 We took our time to get ready, and chatted to the lady who stayed in the other part of the cabin. Around noon, we finally left to climb Nonstinden, a 1113 m high peak.

Nonsbu in autumn sun, Nonstinden is the mountain in the background A group of reindeer ran past

On the map, it was indicated that you could reach the top by two different routes, and that you could make it into a round-trip. I love round-trips 😉 so we decided to follow the path to Trollvasbu to begin with, then turn onto the steep ridge from the north, and come back on the gentler slope towards the south.

This map shows our roundtrip: up on the steep ridge from the north, down on the gentler slope towards the south

It took quite some time to reach the bottom of the ridge, mainly because we had to cross two rivers. I’m NOT a fan of river crossings, and I forgot to bring sandals so I had to go barefoot. Anyway, when we reached the ridge we soon found out just how rocky it was…

On the rocky ridge - this gets very tiring! Beautiful views towards Ringvassøya

It took 4 hours to reach the top, and we were pretty exhausted by that time. Luckily, when you get to a height of 900 m, it flattens out a lot and there are only small rocks – so you can finally walk normally, without having to use your hands 😉

After 4 hours: the top!! With some spectacular drops along the ridge

It was VERY windy on the top, so we didn’t hang around for very long.

Paul followed the ridge a bit further It was very windy on the top ;)

The views were fantastic in all directions, so we did take a lot of photos 🙂

A panorama of the panorama photographer in action :D The river delta far below

To our relief, the way down was a lot gentler, AND the surface basically was moss with small rocks. So much easier! If I ever was to go up Nonstinden again, I wouldn’t bother with the rocky ridge and just take the same (gentle) route up and down.

Paul on the ridge The way down was a LOT gentler. Time for another sandwich :)

After reaching the bottom of the valley, we still had a long way to get to Nonsbu – and the same two rivers to cross. Luckily, one of them could be crossed by jumping from boulder to boulder, which saves a lot of hassle 🙂

At this river crossing we could luckily jump across without taking our shoes off Paul in the last evening light

Nonstinden turned into Ayers Rock in the last light of the day 🙂 We finally reached Nonsbu at 19:00, 7 hours (and about 14 km) after we started our hike.

Nonstinden turned into Ayers Rock! Back at Nonsbu, 7 hours after we started...

We were pretty knackered by this point – I had also been struggling with a beginning cold which of course didn’t improve by hiking up a mountain 😉 I was almost tempted to spend another night at Nonsbu, but after a cup of tea and some chocolate, we decided to hike back to Tønsvik while there was still some light left. After a brief uphill to begin with, the route was mostly downhill and it took us only one hour and 45 minutes to hike the 7.5 km back to the car. Phew, we made it – tired but happy we drove back home and were able to sleep in our own bed that night 🙂

Lyngstuva

Sometimes I don’t manage to catch up with my blog – new adventures are waiting, more photos are added to the pile, and after a while it becomes “old news” and I skip to more recent trips. Sometimes I have to make exceptions though 🙂 the photos in this blog are more than 3 months old but this trip was too good to be skipped over!

It was a day where nothing went as planned, and yet it turned into a perfect day 🙂 What we thought would be the last ski trip of the season turned into the first summer trip 😀 but let’s start at the beginning…

Paul was keen to go skiing in the Lyngen Alps, and we planned a daytrip to Daltinden. The Lyngen Alps are too extreme for my liking, but I decided to come along anyway, and play around on snowshoes – possibly to a glacier – while Paul was skiing. The weather was beautiful, but we soon found out that the Lyngen Alps are a real weather divide: sunny and blue skies on the west side; a grey sky with low clouds on the east side. Daltinden is on the east side, and Paul decided to abandon the trip as the top of the mountain was in the clouds. We drove around Lyngen for a while, contemplating whether we should find a different mountain on the west side – but it was getting late in the day and we knew nothing about the mountains there and felt underprepared. In the end we settled onto a walk on the coast, at the very northern tip of the Lyngen peninsula (Nordklubben). We were in for a treat!

A nice place for a break, with a bbq place, picknick tables and even a shelter Nord-Fugløya seen from the 100 m high hill at the very northern tip of Lyngen

From the top of a 100 m high hill, we had a fantastic view in all directions – and below we could see a lighthouse with a cabin. We decided to visit the lighthouse, but on the way there got sidetracked when we saw the wreck of a ship on the shore.

We discovered a lighthouse and a cabin down below On our way to a shipwreck. We had to walk through some snow here, but in most other places it was snow free and it felt like the first summer trip :)

The ship had broken in two, so badly that at first we thought the different parts must belong to two ships.

The ship wreck from a distance Paul on his way to the shipwreck

It was impressive to see such a damaged ship, with bent metal everywhere – it makes you realize how powerful the forces of nature can be around here!

The power of nature... a piece of wood and a lot of mangled iron Here you can clearly see how the ship landed on a rock

We then continued to the lighthouse. To our pleasant surprise, the cabin was open 🙂 We were quite hungry and couldn’t resist the can of Lapskaus that we found in the cabin – in turn we left behind some freeze dried food that we had with us. We lit the stove to warm up the food…

Parts of the engine Lyngstuva lighthouse and the pretty little cabin

The cabin was very cosy inside, with lots of interesting items and a guestbook full of fascinating stories. Apparently the cabin was neglected when some German guys decided to adopt it. They brought building materials all the way from Germany, and have renovated the cabin, painted the outside, repaired a few things… all completely voluntary and at their own initiative – impressive kindness! The cabin is open to everyone, and there is a loft where you can sleep (bring a sleeping bag and a mat). Some people spent quite long periods here, and they write deep philosophical stories in the guestbook 😀

Inside the cabin A place for tough people: whiskey and tobacco

From the lighthouse cabin you have a perfect view to the north, and some people come to see the midnight sun from there. It was still to early for midnight sun, but the days are long. At around 21:00, the northbound and southbound Hurtigruten ships meet right in front of the cabin. This is always a big thing, the ships hoot at each other, and people are out on the deck to wave at the other ship. I never really understood this to be honest 😉 – there are 11 ships and they paths cross every day – but hey, it’s kind of cute. That day, it was the Polarlys and the Vesterålen that crossed paths.

The southbound MS Vesterålen and the northbound MS Polarlys meeting just in front of the lighthouse The MS Polarlys passes Nord-Fugløya The lighthouse, the cabin and the view...

After watching this “spectacle”, it was time to head back to the car. The sunset was really pretty, and as a bonus we saw a group of porpoises swimming in front of the wind turbines of Vannøya, and Nord-Fugløya.

The windturbines on Vannøya, and a group of porpoises in the foreground The porpoises in front of Nord-Fugløya

We missed the last ferry connection, which meant we had to drive the long way home. We were very tired after a long day, but when the sky turned a deep red, pink and orange around 23:00 we just had to make another photo stop…

Amazing sunset on our drive back to Tromsø Paul taking a photo of the reflections

What a perfect day! Sometimes it’s really nice when nothing goes to plan, and you let the day surprise you 🙂

Magical September

September is my favourite month in Tromsø 🙂 There is something about the crisp freshness of the air, the yellow autumn colours, the sky glowing red long after sunset and the return of the aurora that always makes me very happy. When I woke up (after a night shift) to a beautiful sunny day, I very quickly decided to do something I had dreamt of for a long time: a solo camping trip. (Paul is at sea again, otherwise he would have been more than welcome to join 😀 but I actually wanted to see if I could do this by myself).

Anyway… I woke up at 14:30, and by 16:00 I was fully packed and on my way 😀 My bag weighed 20 kg, mainly because I dragged my very sturdy tripod up the mountain 😉 I decided to go up Smørstabben/Bruna, at Grøtfjorden. It looked like a nice grassy plateau on the top, and it wasn’t too extreme a hike as you can park at 160 m. It was a slow and sweaty affair to climb the ridge up to 500 m, but I made it 🙂 and the views were SO worth it…

A sunny view of Vengsøya

I walked around for a bit, trying to find a place to pitch the tent. There were plenty of nice places, but I also wanted the tent to feature in my photos, so I had to think composition as well as grassy/flat/dry 😉 Finally I found a nice grassy spot next to a little stream.

It was hard to decide where to pitch the tent, but in the end I settled on this grassy (and flat!) spot next to a small stream The light was getting pretty...

I had dinner – a baguette and potato salad, I didn’t want to make the bag even heaver by taking cooking equipment. After that I explored further up towards Bruna. I discovered where the little stream came from: a pretty lake 🙂 and I watched the sunset.

I quickly discovered where the stream came from: this pretty lake! Sunset

I enjoyed the view from Bruna – straight down to Storvatnet, I could see my car way below 🙂 I continued to Brattfjellet, another top on the plateau.

View from Bruna - the mountain drops all the way down to Storvatnet here. You can just about see my car, parked next to the lake at the bend in the road

I returned to my tent and waited for darkness to fall. The sky was glowing orange on the horizon, and I kept taking photos – it was so pretty! At some point some clouds rolled in, and the stars came out… The northern lights never made an appearance, but I didn’t really mind. I did stay up for a long time, listening to an audio book in the tent – a surreal experience to hear Julian Barnes soothing voice while completely alone on a mountain top 🙂

It was getting dark and the sky was clear, I had good hopes the aurora would appear Some clouds rolled in, and the stars came out LOTS of stars :) and the lights of Tromvik in the distance. The aurora never showed up, but I didn't mind - it was beautiful!

It had been quite a warm day, but I found it cold sleeping in the tent. And worst of all, at 06:30 I woke up to RAIN. Which wasn’t forecasted at all, and I had so much faith in the forecast that I hadn’t brought any waterproof clothes. Oops. I just went back to sleep, hoping it would pass. I woke up again at 9, and luckily it was dry by then. The views were so different in cloudy weather, with fog rolling in from the sea.

The next morning I watched the fog roll in like a waterfall behind Tromvik

I walked in and out of the fog on my way down. These two photos below are taken less than a minute apart 😀 the views kept changing, it was really fascinating.

I was in and out of the fog on my way down. One moment it looked like this... ...and less than a minute later, it looked like this!

The last part of the hike goes through a forest. Here I passed a mountain stream near a cabin, just before I got back to the car.

A pretty mountain stream and a cabin, just before I got back to the car

I was quite tired after this trip – from not sleeping so well in the tent, and from a sore back and shoulders from carrying so much weight. I was very proud of going on this solo camping trip though 🙂 and worth all the sweat and pain! Next time, I might try to convince Paul to  carry half my stuff join me on a beautiful trip 😉