Finally a short update! Unfortunately, no pictures as I could not find a computer with an SD-card reader. The one I`m using now is in the lobby of a hotel with at least a hundred clucking japanese – help!
I`m three weeks and well over 400km into the trip, three weeks which have passed incredibly fast. It has also been an emotional rollercoaster – after only 6 days I really thought my trip was over as the injury above my left foot felt pretty bad. The following day, I walked a painful, grueling 30km march in lashing rain to the nearest village (which was, lucky enough, on my planned route). And the miracle occured! Two days later I hit the trail again and after a week of gradually increasing my daily mileage, the inflammation had fully healed!
The first week was not as easy as it looked on the maps. I`d chosen my trajectory in a way to avoid asphalt roads as much as possible. Many of the paths on the maps did not exist in reality and I`ve bushwacked many kilometers through forest and sopped trough endless peat bogs. But the weather was nice and every day contained more ingredients of the mountains. And the mountains, that was were I was heading.
Setesdalsheiane… the first real test. I expected a lot of snow, but what I got defied all my imagination. This was a winter hike on trailrunners, really. Above 1000m, there was only snow, snow and more snow. Collapsing corniches, thickly frozen lakes I could safely walk across, whiteout conditions when the mist came in. I even had to melt snow on two evenings because there was nothing liquid around! I had three days of rainy and foggy weather, but when it cleared the scenery became breathtaking. On the descent from Kyrkjesteinkaret (1200m) to Mostol (640m) I walked from full winter conditions into summer in one single hour. I did not meet one single person for five days. Very impressive week.
And then came the Hardangervidda. I was lucky with the weather (so far it has been a dry, but cool month with regular frost at night and temperatures rarely reaching 10 degrees in the mountains) – no rain apart from the first day. As I now felt confident with my foot again a the weather was nice, I crossed the entire plateau in just four and a half days. These were the very best days of the trip so far – with a sunset from Hallingshaugen on wednesday and a mighty walk along the glaciers of Hardangerjokulen yesterday as highlights. Snow conditions were a bit better than on Setesdalsheiane (altough it was still at least 60% of the distance), but as summer bridges were not up yet I had to ford multiple ice cold meltwater rivers multiple times a day. Well, after a while, you get used to it… Where snow has gone, the tundra is still soaked with meltwater and all vegetation above the treeline is still in its brown winter coat – it makes you realise how short summer actually is here…
I`m in Geilo now – resupplying and arranging food drops for the next two weeks. I`ll take the train back to Finse this evening to continue north. After 3 weeks solo, my friend Joris is arriving tonight for the Skarvheimen crossing (even higher terrain… and more snow!). In a week, at the southern edge of Jotunheimen, he will be `replaced` by my girlfriend Elien. Good company… summer kicking in… Skarvheimen… Jotunheimen… Breheimen… Dovrefjell… weeks will fly by!