I managed to sneak away from the family for a short overnighter in the Gausta area in Telemark county, Norway. We stayed in a hut at Kvitåvatn, for some reason a Danish place in Telemark. From having watched some documentary films made by DR Derude, I actually understood the Danish pronunciation without problems. Anyway, this was a nice base camp for a family vacation with good walking almost right from the hut.
After having been up the closest fell with the kids and wife earlier during the day, I started walking after having eaten dinner, a little over eight in the evening. My plan was to walk fairly hard for around three hours before making camp.
After a ten minute walk from the hut I arrived at Kvitåvatn at 928 m, where a T-marked (for Den Norske Turistforening) started towards the peak of Toreskyrkja (1392 m). The lower part of this trail was a little wet and worn, but became better above the treeline.
Kvitåvatn with Gaustatoppen (1893 m) in the background. The overexposed sky has automatically erased the ugly tower from Gaustatoppen.
T marks the trail.
Our hut was at the other side of the lake.
The landscape is opening up at around 1000 m above sea level.
No need to carry water in Norway. There is always plenty of great tasting drinkable water. EDIT: The Norwegian Institute of Public Health actually recommends against this currently due to the risk of tularemia. Lots of mice and lemmings this year.
The route is up there somewhere.
At the horizon is Hardangervidda, the largest mountain plateau in Europe. Riding across Hardangervidda on singletrack with a mountain bike or fatbike would be an interesting project, but I haven't yet checked out any routes or if the national park rules allow it.
Wood Cranesbill grew in a sheltered place quite high.
The trail ended, but by going a bit down I came upon really easy walking terrain and continued towards my planned camping spot.
The sun set, but there was still no shortage of light.
I soon came upon another trail.
A little over eleven in the evening I arrived at my camping spot, next to the lake 1269. I put up the tent and made a hot drink before going to sleep. This was my first field test of the BushCooker. I think it was a worthy one. Finding fuel was no problem, in less that five minutes I had more that enough.
I enjoyed the evening and went to sleep around midnight. The view from the tent with the side panels open was nice with the full moon and all.
During the night the wind picked up quite a bit and I had to close down the tent fully. The next morning there was almost no wind at all and the view was again quite acceptable. I always try to choose a tent spot with a good view, in addition to having access to water nearby.
I got up a little before seven in the morning and ate a quick breakfast of sandwhiches and water. Since the family was waiting at the hut, I decided not to make morning coffee, since I hate rushing it when drinking coffee. Good coffee should be enjoyed slowly. I got going again and aimed to walk for about three hours.
I left the trail almost immediately, since it went the wrong way and I wanted to find my own route using only the map and reading the terrain. Finding an efficient route was not problem at all, since it is actually very easy to navigate in this kind of terrain when the visibility is good.
A poor spruce has chosen the wrong place to grow on.
A view back. In this kind of terrain the optimal route is often very obvious and I did soon find a faint trail going my way.
An unidentified mushroom.
Yes, I have long legs.
Down there somewhere.
That's where I came from.
And the road I aimed for. About 6 km of road back to the hut.
This was a really nice overnighter in nice weather. I would probably do a lot of fell walking if I lived in a place with fells, but they are unfortunately far away from my home.
A slideshow with more pictures.
In another hiking related matter, Hendrik Morkel from Hiking in Finland wants to make a Video Guide to Lightweight Backpacking. It is funded through Kickstarter and I hope you consider supporting it here. I did, since I'm convinced that it will be great and is worth supporting. It is not only for backpackers either, since it will cover a lot of outdoor stuff.