Lom:  6 June

Whew!  I have finally caught up the blog. This morning, we took train, then bus to Lom, which is a pretty neat little place to wait out several days of rain. We are so glad to be here instead of on the mountain today.  And after all that hiking, we could use a bit of rest. 

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Back to Gjevilvasshytta: 5 June

Vassendsetra and Gjevilvasshytta are about 13 km apart on the shore of a lake. We thought we would follow the shore–an easy hike.   

Wrong. Instead, we went across higher up in the mud. There were more rocks, though, which made going easier.   

We went through some lush forest.  The weather was hot and humid. 

Then we heard the roar. Another torrent coming down the mountainside.  When we reached the river, a welcome sign said “Brua (bridge) 150 meters. ”  except there was no trail. That 150 meters we were breaking trail uphill through heavy brush until we came to the bridge: 

Except again, the bridge didn’t go all the way across. We were left with 6-7 feet of wet rock that I found exceptionally scary.  

After this bridge, the trail became very good and remained good. The last third was even on a road. We put ourselves in high gear with visions of cold drinks and ice cream sandwiches at Gjevilvasshyta. We arrived there in plenty of time to refresh ourselves before catching the bus back to Oppdal. 

The first order of business was to wash our clothes and our bodies. You would not want to be downwind of our boots. 

Next, Lom. 

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Vassendsetra:  4 June

We knew the trail to Vassendsetra would be difficult because of the water. It was–all 10.5 hours of it, including seven “Croc” events. 

Essentially, we followed a river to its source, went over a pass, then down to the hut. Going was easy in the beginning.  

We saw this little reindeer.   
 This torrent was beside us much of the way. Often, we could not converse because of the roar. 

 Of course the tributaries were flooded and the trail soon became a muddy mess, but we were used to this by now and trudged on.   

We passed through an area of high grass. We were amazed that it had grown that tall in this climate.   
 Crossings  were the excitement of the day.  Some crossings had small trees placed across. These were easy. 

Most we had to either jump or Croc.   



Finally, we arrived at the pass, which was also the source of the roaring river. The pass was broad and covered with sick snow patches, some of which we didn’t dare cross.    

A couple of times, we kept our Crocs on over snow banks between streams.  Crossing a snow bank in Crocs–now that’s an adventure!


At one point, we couldn’t cross the stream below the snow bank and had to climb the steep mountainside above it.   

I never questioned Roger’s judgment as to whether a patch of snow was safe to cross. I was thankful for his experience.  

And then came the worst crossing of the day, which looks innocuous in the photo.  

 This one was flowing so fast that it took every ounce of strength to move my legs, but I knew I had to before they got too cold to move at all. The icy water was about knee-deep. 

Before this trip, I had never crossed a stream deeper than ankle-high. However, I like to read outdoor magazines and sometimes an article would discuss the do’s and don’ts. I was thankful I had read not to turn my back on the stream.  If I had, I might not be writing this. 

Finally, we were over the pass and it was an easy descent to Vassendsetra.   


 Vassendsetra is not much changed from when it was a farmer’s summer cabin. No electricity, no plumbing.  Gather water from the spring:

Use the outhouse out back.  

Enjoy the friendly ambiance.   

We shared the cabin with a young couple from Trondheim who had come up to Vassendsetra from Gjevilvasshytta. According to the log book, we were the first hikers of the season to come from Trollheimshytta to Vassendsetra. 

This couple told us stories of Norwegian legends. When the cabins were left empty during the winter, folk from the underworld would come up to inhabit them. Therefore, when the farmer arrived in the spring, he needed to knock before entering to avoid frightening them. Likewise, one would not pour boiling water on the ground without warning. The folk of the underworld were not evil and were benign if they were respected. However, if mistreated they would seek revenge perhaps by killing your calf. 

Often, girls in their late teens stayed the entire summer alone in these cabins tending the animals. It was quite useful to have her believe that if a strange man came along, he might be from the underworld and she should run. 

Trolls were just benign dimwits that were useful scapegoats when something went wrong. 

The next day we returned to Gjevilvasshytta. 

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Trollheimshytta:  2-3 June

Bridges work better when they go all the way across. We learned this early on our way to Trollheimshytta–Croc time again.  There was a log–a wet round log that would have to be jumped onto. I never went to circus school.  


The further excitement of the hike was water. Everywhere. Lots of streams to jump over.  


 Lots of water to slog through or go around.  The river we were following was full, thus its tributaries were backed up.  Often “going around” meant slashing through brush that was about head high. At some point, we learned we found bend this stuff over and step on it. 




Most of the trail was relatively flat, but as we neared the hut, we had to seriously climb to the top of a gorge.  
Trollheimshytta was the first hut built for hikers–in 1890. We stayed two nights and took a rest day.   
I watched volunteers install a board-and batten roof in a new building–I still don’t understand why it won’t leak.   


We watched baby birds.  


and enjoyed this old cabin and the mountain Snota behind.  

The next day, a hike to Vassendsetra.  

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Gjevilvasshytta to Jøldalshytta: 1 July

Now that I have signal again (July 5), I can catch up on the posts. Gjevilvasshytta deserves more than one photo, so I will start where I left off. 

First, I restate that “hytta,” or “hut” is really a misnomer. Many were originally summer cabins for people tending the animals in the mountain pastures.  Popular ones have been expanded to hold large numbers of hikers in a curious mix of luxury and roughing it. 

For example, the toilet appears to be uniformly an outhouse. About as primitive as you can imagine except they have toilet paper instead of catalogs.  Dinner, on the other hand, at least in the staffed huts we visited, was a formal affair announced by the ringing of a bell and ceremonial opening of the dining room door.  The table set just so, candle light, and three courses of fabulous food served by waitresses in traditional clothes. 

We have also sensed that these huts are more than just a convenient place to spend the night while hiking. With the careful preservation of these old structures and the antique collections within, there appears an obvious intent to link Norwegians to their history and heritage.  Some are accessible by road and welcome day hikers. 

Gjevilvasshytta is the oldest of all the huts. The original structure was an 1819 log cabin moved to the site in 1923. The second part was a log cabin from 1738 moved to the site in 1950.  

Some interior doors have their original paint.  

Six-board chests are used for firewood and linens.   

Several traditional  cabinets in corners. 
 Other furnishings are also rustic. These are table legs:   


The fire escape was simple.  

The hike to the next hut, Jøldalshytta, was a long, exhausting, beautiful day.   The first excitement was a poor lamb caught in the fence.  

The early trail was quite innocuous. 

Lots of these flowers.   
 It became more interesting as we approached tree line.   


Magnificent mountains all around.   



The snow patches were not steep, so easy to cross.  

Then we came to a snow patch that was melting underneath–too dangerous to cross. We had to go low, remove our boots and gaiters, put on our Crocs, wade across the ice cold water, then put our boots and gaiters back on. Little did we know how routine that routine would become in the next several days.  The sequence took about 20-25 minutes. (These two photos are of the same stream.)
   The next obstacle was the same boggy conditions that had plagued us on earlier hikes. We spent a lot of time going around wet spots.    



We put on our Crocs a second time for a fast-moving stream that another couple was able to jump. Roger could probably have made it. Me–no way.  

We arrived at Jøldalshytta late for dinner, but there was plenty.  This hut was similar to Gjevilvasshytta.  

 This photo was taken from our second-floor room looking out over the grass roof of the porch.  

A dated chest of drawers.      

The next day was a hike to Trollheimshytta. 

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Gjevilvasshytta:  30 June

We are back in the mountains.   

 We went by train from Trondheim to Oppdal, then by bus that acts like a taxi to Gjevilvasshytta, a mountain hut situated on a lake shore.  This bus runs once per day when requested the day before.  Our plan is to hike a circular 4-day route into the mountains from here overnighting at the huts along the way. This means we should return to Oppdal by bus on Saturday–except the bus doesn’t run on Saturday.  We learned this dirty secret when we got here–contrary to the info we were given earlier.  This means we either have to hitch a ride back, forfeit the non-refundable >$100 room in Oppdal, or pay >$100 for a regular taxi. Ouch. 

That’s not the only ouch. We also learned that DNT price lists are not standard.  We are glad we have a food bag. 

As I gaze out the window from which I just took the above photo, though, I’m sure the adventure will be worth the cost.  This is what we came to Norway to do, and at last the forecast is for decent weather.  We anticipate some snow and wet spots, but we are assured we will make it through. 

My signal is so bad here that it took a number of minutes for one picture to load. I do not anticipate another post until Saturday or, most likely, Sunday. 

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Trondheim:  29 June

A lazy day. Roger went to a war museum; I explored the cathedral. 

Roger also found this German submarine pen from WWII.  Actually, we walked by it on our walk yesterday but didn’t know what it was. It had six bays for submarines and 5 meters of concrete on top.  



The cathedral is a particularly handsome one. I was frustrated by the strictly enforced “no photos” policy, so no interior photos to share. A few of the exterior:   


The cathedral was built in the 12th century, but the nave burned 6 times. The last time was just before the Reformation and the Lutherans didn’t have the resources to rebuild, so it lay in ruins until the 19th century. The transept, though, is supposed to be close to original.  

Trondheim was fortunate to survive the wars relatively unscathed.  There are a number of swaths of 18th-19th century wooden residential buildings, many of which were tenements 100 years ago, but are now gentrified.   


Likewise, waterfront warehouses:   


More views of the old bridge.   

An unusual shopping mall in the midst of old buildings, which were incorporated into the mall. 

Interesting shop name.  (BTW, tattoos are popular here on young and old.)  
Tomorrow, train to Oppdal to begin, hopefully, a 4-day hike between mountain huts. 

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Bodø, Trondheim: 27-28 June

We stopped for a night in Bodø to avoid the uncertainty of a tight bus-train connection as we head south.  The connection would have been fine, but we are glad we stopped–Roger says he found the best air museum he’s ever seen. 

No surprise–lots of nice scenery on the way south.  








We were in no hurry in Bodø.  Roger spent about 5 hours in the museum while I just wandered. I saw a church that dates from 1272.   


This little fellow, a priest from the 1770’s, was on the back wall:   


These kids were playing in the park:   



while she watched:   

 A bit after 9 pm, we caught the night train to Trondheim.  I absolutely love night trains even when the sleeping compartments are like shoe boxes.  

There’s something exciting about lying there so comfortable as the train rocks back and forth and the world whizzes by.  I don’t sleep particularly well because it’s so exciting, but that’s OK. 

I happened to be awake at the right time to confirm that the sun did not set on us, though we did cross the Arctic Circle a but later. So we went 27 nights without the sun setting on us. It’s a good thing the sheriff wasn’t trying to get us out of town. 

Trondheim is the first real city we’ve been in since Oslo, and we are back to real trees. Tonight we will get about 30 minutes of no sun, but it still won’t really be dark. 

Today, we went to a pretty good outdoor museum. 

This was a lice board. Comb the lice onto it, then toss them into the fire. The more you have, the better your blood.   

This was an iron. When a man wanted to marry, he made an iron and presented it to the girl’s father as evidence of his competence. If the father didn’t think it was good enough, the suitor had to try again with another girl, but the father still gave the iron to his daughter. Some girls had collections of irons from unsuccessful suitors.  


Dated chests:   


Expandable bed:  






Sod roof with flowers. First, they laid a dozen or so layers of birch bark, then a layer of sod upside down, then a layer of sod right side up. They put lambs on the roof occasionally to trim it.  

Even large houses could have this roof:   

 Next, we walked a path along the shore. It was not well-marked, so we lost it a few times.    There were some nice views. 



We ended the day in the old part of town.     



If you ever want to be famous enough for there to be a statue in your honor, consider this guy:   


This sculpture deserves some study.  Zoom in and see what all you can identify.  They are all actual objects. 

 Tomorrow we will explore more of Trondheim and visit the DNT office to determine what hope there is for hiking in the two weeks we have left. 

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Narvik:  25-26 June

Not much to tell here.  

Rain again, and cold, so we were really glad to be done with the hike.  

We took the train back to Narvik. It was two hours late, and late the other way, too, so there must have been track trouble somewhere.  This train is known for its stupendous views, but that must have been before it went through all the tunnels. Now the bus is better.  A few photos through the fog:




We arrived in Narvik in plenty of time for Roger to visit a war museum–the iron ore coming from Sweden to Narvik via this railway was a major reason Germany invaded Norway.  

Today, Friday, we will take a bus to Bodø.  

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Abiskojoure:  23-24 June

Abiskojoure is a Swedish hut 14 km up a river valley from the highway. It would have been an easy hike if it hadn’t rained and the river hadn’t risen a meter the morning we left.  

The trail was flooded. Alternative trails were flooded. Wooden walkways were under water. It was a mess.  

A bit of added excitement was that sometimes the supports for the walkways were rotted. If the middle support was missing, the board could unexpectedly sink below the water. If the end supports were missing, the board could act like a see-saw (teeter-totter). 





At one point, our only option was to gingerly make our way through the bog:  

The hut was fine. We met a man from India who got his degree from Oklahoma State University, about 40 miles from our home town. 

This was a manned hut–it has a live-in attendant. It also has a “store” of foodstuff brought in by sled in winter.  These items are relatively expensive so we were glad we had our own.    


We got better acquainted with the lemmings. They are about like a tail-less mouse with fur like a calico cat. Cute as can be. They act and sound like picas.  


Their camouflage is excellent, as was this fellow’s:   


Then there was this magnificent bird:  

And a tremendous waterfall:   

So even with the messy trail, it was a fine hike. 

Tomorrow back to Narvik, hopefully by train. 

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