Day 45-53: Into Central Norway

With Dovrefjell now behind us, the landscape starts to change dramatically as we now plunge into the far less mountaineous Central Norway. Unlike most of the regions I’ve walked so far, the mountain plateaus we will now cross are not renown for their hiking possibilities – DNT-routes and cabins are virtually absent. I spent much more time on planning my route for this 20-day section (a patchwork of gravel roads, local hiking trails and off-trail stretches) than on the well-known mountain areas further south. Trip reports or even pictures for most of this area are very hard to find, so we really don’t know how things will work out and how easy (or hard) our progress will be.

It is also the start of what I have always regarded to be the least interesting 500km of my trip (maybe together with the Finnmarksvidda plateau, which I however hope to quickly bypass by packraft). Now nearly two months into the walk, mental fatigue could possibly become a problem.

In this part of my report, we will cross the mountain plateaus of Knutshø and Forollhogna. These rolling tundra plateaus are some kind of a gentle transition from the alpine mountains to the pine forests and peat bogs of Trøndelag. Knutshø has an average elevation of well over 1000m, so most of our walk will be on tundra terrain above the treeline. Forollhogna is a bit lower, and we expect long bushwhacking hours on the off-trail sections.

I’ll make this a visual report – only pictures to reflect the beauty of the little known part of Norway.

A descent path, which faints away further up, leads us right up the slopes of Syndre Knutshøa

A descent path, which faints away further up, leads us right up the slopes of Syndre Knutshøa

The summit cairn of Syndre Knutshøa, the highest peak of the Knutshøa plateau. According to the log book on the summit it had only been climbed 8 times this year.

The summit cairn of Syndre Knutshøa, the highest peak of the Knutshøa plateau. According to the log book on the summit it had only been climbed 8 times this year.

Snøhetta (2286m) as seen from the windy summit of Syndre Knutshøa (1690m)

Snøhetta (2286m) as seen from the windy summit of Syndre Knutshøa (1690m)

Descending towards the northern side of the Hemtjønna lake with a view back towards Syndre Knutsøa (1690m) and the mountains of Rondane in the back. Melting snowfields higher up the slopes made this descent horribly wet.

Descending towards the northern side of the Hemtjønna lake with a view back towards Syndre Knutsøa (1690m) and the mountains of Rondane in the back. Melting snowfields higher up the slopes made this descent horribly wet.

Dramatic sunset while camping near the Hemtjønna lake

Dramatic sunset while camping near the Hemtjønna lake

Descending to Bekkelaegret on a muddy path

Descending to Bekkelaegret on a muddy path

The Einunndalen valley with scattered glacial relicts as seen during the descent towards Bekkelaegret

The Einunndalen valley with scattered glacial relicts as seen during the descent towards Bekkelaegret

The path along the Elgsjøen lake which was promised by our map did not exist. Bushwhacking it was.

The path along the Elgsjøen lake which was promised by our map did not exist. Bushwhacking it was.

View back south from the Veslvonslaegret hamlet - the Elgsjøen lake in the back. We find a path again.

View back south from the Veslvonslaegret hamlet – the Elgsjøen lake in the back. We find a path again.

Bivouac spot on the eastern slopes of Elgsjøtangen - a cool spot sheltered from the wind by the small moraine

Bivouac spot on the eastern slopes of Elgsjøtangen – a cool spot sheltered from the wind by the small moraine

A nice morning high above the Fundin lake

A nice morning high above the Fundin lake

Many sheep graze the rolling hills of the Knutshø plateau - like these three above the Fundin lake

Many sheep graze the rolling hills of the Knutshø plateau – like these three above the Fundin lake

View back towards the large Fundin lake while climbing towards Storvolkampen - the start of a longer off-trail section to cross over into the Orkla valley

View back towards the large Fundin lake while climbing towards Storvolkampen – the start of a longer off-trail section to cross over into the Orkla valley

The vast Orkla valley as seen from the slopes of Storvollkampen

The vast Orkla valley as seen from the slopes of Storvollkampen

Fording a small tributary of the Orkla river near the cabins of Hanabekksaetra

Fording a small tributary of the Orkla river near the cabins of Hanabekksaetra

The Orkelkrøken cabin in the Orkla valley - a little used jeep track eases our progress along the river

The Orkelkrøken cabin in the Orkla valley – a little used jeep track eases our progress along the river

Splendid scenery in the Orkla valley near the cabins of Albusaetra - the slopes of Høggia (1641m) in the back

Splendid scenery in the Orkla valley near the cabins of Albusaetra – the slopes of Høggia (1641m) in the back

The meandering Orkla river just downstream of Albussaetra

The meandering Orkla river just downstream of Albussaetra

Crossing a reindeer moss zone during the off-trail section between Staesvollen and Dølvadsaetra

Crossing a reindeer moss zone during the off-trail section between Staesvollen and Dølvadsaetra

The gradient of the Orkla river increases during its passage through a series of shallow ravines, like here during the off-trail bushwhacking section south of Dølvasaetra

The gradient of the Orkla river increases during its passage through a series of shallow ravines, like here during the off-trail bushwhacking section south of Dølvasaetra

We cross the Dølvadfjellet on this gravel road - with magnificent views back onto the Knutshø plateau

We cross the Dølvadfjellet on this gravel road – with magnificent views back onto the Knutshø plateau

Fantastic light on the rolling mountain scenery of Knutshø as seen from the gravel road crossing Dølvadfjellet

Fantastic light on the rolling mountain scenery of Knutshø as seen from the gravel road crossing Dølvadfjellet

First views down the Orkdalen valley - where we will resupply the next morning

First views down the Orkdalen valley – where we will resupply the next morning

Yet another cold bivouac during the long cool, dull and wet period in mid-july

Yet another cold bivouac during the long cool, dull and wet period in mid-july

Cranes in the Yadalen valley

Cranes in the Yadalen valley

The benefits of civilization - Elien clearly has never been this happy with a sandwich after our resupply in Kvikne

The benefits of civilization – Elien clearly has never been this happy with a sandwich – after our resupply in Kvikne

A long gravel road section guides us into Forollhogna National Park - we camp a few meters outside of the park on this mosquito-infested spot

A long gravel road section guides us into Forollhogna National Park – we camp a few meters outside of the park on this mosquito-infested spot

Old barns at Grøntjørnan while entering Forollhogna National Park

Old barns at Grøntjørnan while entering Forollhogna National Park

Wading the Støra Ya river at the start of a three-day off-trail section through the heart of Forollhogna National Park

Wading the Støra Ya river at the start of a three-day off-trail section through the heart of Forollhogna National Park

The Støre Ya river in Forollhogna National park - we try to cover as many meters as we can on the dry moraines but have to bushwhack and peat-walk most of the time anyway.

The Støre Ya river in Forollhogna National park – we try to cover as many meters as we can on the dry moraines but have to bushwhack and peat-walk most of the time anyway.

Upstream along the Støre Ya

Upstream along the Støre Ya

We spend the night in a very small cabin near the Budalstjønna lake - about 4km SW of the Forollhogna mountain (1332m). There are about 30 open cabins in Forollhogna National Park, but none of them are on the map. This one thus was a (pleasant) surprise for us on a rainy evening.

We spend the night in a very small cabin near the Budalstjønna lake – about 4km SW of the Forollhogna mountain (1332m). There are about 30 open cabins in Forollhogna National Park, but none of them are on the map. This one thus was a (pleasant) surprise for us on a rainy evening.

The Forollhogna mountain (1322m), the main summit of the National Park, as seen while crossing over to the Forollsjøen lake. I would have liked to climb this summit, but it started raining again and we pushed on immediately.

The Forollhogna mountain (1322m), the main summit of the National Park, as seen while crossing over to the Forollsjøen lake. I would have liked to climb this summit, but it started raining again and we pushed on immediately.

A variant of the pilgrimage trail from Oslo to Trondheim crosses Forollhogna along the Forollsjøen lake. We follow this path for 2km before veering east into the Forda valley.

A variant of the pilgrimage trail from Oslo to Trondheim crosses Forollhogna along the Forollsjøen lake. We follow this path for 2km before veering east into the Forda valley.

The Forollsjøen lake with the Forollhogna mountain (1332m) in the back. We leave the trail and start our next 30km off-trail section

The Forollsjøen lake with the Forollhogna mountain (1332m) in the back. We leave the trail and start our next 30km off-trail section

Descending into the Forda valley in rainy weather. The section through this valley involved some serious bushwhacking.

Descending into the Forda valley in rainy weather. The section through this valley involved some serious bushwhacking.

Trying to connect moraines in the Forda valley

Trying to connect moraines in the Forda valley

Morning in the Fordadalen after a very wet and windy night

Morning in the Fordadalen after a very wet and windy night

The weather improves as we continue north towards the Meiavollan hamlet

The weather improves as we continue north towards the Meiavollan hamlet

Two wild reindeer in the Fordadalen a few kilometers south of Meiavollan. Knutshø and Forollhogna are home to some of the largest wild reindeer herds in Scandinavia - but this is all we did see

Two wild reindeer in the Fordadalen a few kilometers south of Meiavollan. Knutshø and Forollhogna are home to some of the largest wild reindeer herds in Scandinavia – but this is all we did see

The Forda river near Meiavollan

The Forda river near Meiavollan

A small boat attached to a rope allows to cross the Forda river near the cabins of Meiavollan

A small boat attached to a rope allows to cross the Forda river near the cabins of Meiavollan

Dramatic skies while traversing the eastern slopes of Slettfjellet (1135m), with the Oyungen lake in the back

Dramatic skies while traversing the eastern slopes of Slettfjellet (1135m), with the Oyungen lake in the back

Bivouac spot near lake 1038m as seen while climbing the highest summit of the Måstjønnskarven ridge (1138m) at sunset

Bivouac spot near lake 1038m as seen while climbing the highest summit of the Måstjønnskarven ridge (1138m) at sunset

The rounded hills of Forollhogna as seen during the dramatic sunset from the summit of Måstjønnskarven (1138m)

The rounded hills of Forollhogna as seen during the dramatic sunset from the summit of Måstjønnskarven (1138m)

The Ledalen valley as seen from Måstjønnskarven during sunset

The Ledalen valley as seen from Måstjønnskarven during sunset

The mountains of Sylan as seen from Måstjønnskarven (1138m) during a dramatic sunset

The mountains of Sylan as seen from Måstjønnskarven (1138m) during a dramatic sunset

Dramatic sunset from the summit of Måstjønnskarven (1138m)

Dramatic sunset from the summit of Måstjønnskarven (1138m)

Walking the Måstjønnskarven ridge

Walking the Måstjønnskarven ridge

Descending to lake 872m from the Måstjønnskarven ridge

Descending to lake 872m from the Måstjønnskarven ridge

We find a jeep track which leads us down to the town of Haltdalen

We find a jeep track which leads us down to the town of Haltdalen

The church of Haltdalen

The church of Haltdalen

Stages:
16/07/2012: Lower Stroplsjødalen – Hemtjønna (15km, +850/-800, 4u20)
17/07/2012: Hemtjønna – Elgsjøtangen (17km, +330/-310, 5u10)
18/07/2012: Elgsjøtangen – Orkladalen (20km, +410/-700, 5u10)
19/07/2012: Orkladalen – Litl-Innsjoen (18km, +330/-360, 5u30)
20/07/2012: Litl-Innsjoen – border Forollhogna NP (20km, +420/-390, 4u50)
21/07/2012: border Forollhogna NP – Lake 1053m (16km, +300/-130, 5u50)
22/07/2012: Lake 1053m – Fordadalen (16km, +150/-320, 5u15)
23/07/2012: Fordadalen – Mastjønnskarven lake 1038m (18km, +570/-420, 5u30)
24/07/2012: Mastjønnskarven lake 1038m – Haltdalen (21km, +290/-1070, 5u10)

Map Kongsvold - Haltdalen

Map Kongsvold – Haltdalen

2 thoughts on “Day 45-53: Into Central Norway

  1. Willem says:

    Hi Joe, I was indeed surprised by the beauty of this part of Norway, especially Knutshø was nicer than I could have imagined. Should also be a magnificent area for ski/pulk trips in spring (although I have been told this is often the coldest spot of Norway).

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