Cris out for a taste of Norwegian langlaufWe had a couple of very fine warm days, so the snow was slushy but still ok for skiing. Over the first weekend of the holidays we caught a bus to the Tydal area (about 2 hours from Trondheim) and skiied into the Græssli hytte, this being our third visit into that cozy little hut. The weather wasn't great so we just mucked around on Sunday and did some 'ski runs' up and down the hill making use of our skins and nice new randonee equipment.
Blue berry pies were eaten at the Bare Blåbaer cafe, mmmmmChris had to work until Wednesday, then we packed up our gears and piled it all into a rental car on a journey up North to the Svartisen. On the map it doesn't look so far, but multiple ferries and very small windy roads meant it was a 13 hour journey to the start of our ski.
Lots of skis packed into the car (and one squished Cris)
We drove for about 5 hours on the Wednesday night before finding a snowy flat patch to pitch our tent by the side of the road.
Camp one, a little snowy
In the morning we still had a long way to go and it was also extremely windy, so we decided a day of driving and sight seeing sounded the best plan - the hut where we planned to ski to is at over 1000 m, so if it was windy by the sea then it would be a blizzard up there!
One of the ferry crossings
We drove along the spectacular coastline, and after Mo i rana it just became more and more amazing. The peaks pop straight out of the fjords, and white caps and white crested peaks gave a very wild feel to the landscape. Chris decided a thick patch of snow would be quite suitable to hoon through in our car - needless to say it got stuck and a whole pile of amused Norwegians helped us to dig it out! Hmmm!
Stuck! Emily was not very impressed, but the Norwegians who helped us out were!
After some debate and driving around we settled on another snowy patch to put our little tent on and cooked up some dinner in a little wooden gazebo thing on the beach while it got dark.
The day dawned sunny and clear after snowy camp spot number two
The following morning (Easter Friday) was beautiful and clear, the wind was still high but had eased off from the day before. We drove the final hour through some huge tunnels, with the occasional glimpse up to the Svartisen from the road. We turned onto a very tiny road which lead to the start or our route. Our tiny car with its not ice spiked tyres struggled up the steep icy road, then into this crazy spooky pitch black tunnel which climbed steeply into the mountain. We only just made it up the tunnel, bumping past several large ice chunks which had dropped from the ceiling of the tunnel onto the road.
The spooky tunnel
Finally the end of the tunnel appeared and we found a very slippery clearing to park our car. It was breezy and cold in the little mountain valley, and it took us some time to organise our gear so we were quite cold when we finally headed up the mountain. Chris was on fjell skis and Cris L was borrowing his randonnee skis because he wasn't so confident on the fjell skis - they are much trickier with no skins and a free heel and crappy boots.
Setting off on our skis finally after 2 days of car travel
Up we went until we reached the massive white sea of the Svartisen. At this point we realised we had foolishy failed to fill any drink bottles, and as we had not yet had anything to drink all day we began to feel rather thirsty. I found licking melted snow off my skis an effective way of refreshing myself - the others were not so convinced (-:
Ski licking for water, quite effective I found!
Up on the glacier the wind was blasting and we felt like polar explorers as we slowly made our way across the gigantic ice sheet.
The windswept glacier
After lots of hours we finally got to a very gradual down hill slope in the glacier and the wind had turned into a tail one - off came the skins and we sailed away at a much faster pace towards the hut. The view all the way to the fjords opened up below us and it was just so spectacular and amazing to arrive at this hut perched right on the edge of the giant glacier.
Looking to the ocean from Tåkeheimen entrance
The Northern Lights
The next day was still clear, but windy again. Great billows of spindrift could be seen way out across the glacier; so it was pancakes in the hut and some good morning laziness. At lunchtime we were surprised by a big group of red cross men on their snow scooter arriving at the hut - they were also surprised to see us. It turns out that once a year they get special permission to 'test' the mobiles for a day within the national park. They were very much enjoying their day to bogan round the park on the mobiles I think. They were very friendly and we shared a cup of tea before they headed on their way.
The Glomfjord Red Cross out for their training day
In the afternoon Chris and I decided to climb the Helgelands Bukken which rises up from behind the Tåkeheimen hut. It turned out to be a rather scary wee climb because there was a huge cornice that was hard to avoid, and some considerable drops down into the valley. The view from the summit was rewarding though, and we very carefully down climbed and down skied our way back to the hut.
On the way up Helgelands Bukken
On the summit, heaps of sastrugi and a great big cornice to my right
Easter Sunday was sunny again, and finally the wind had died, so we had a really nice trip back across the glacier to our car.
Cris avoiding the bees? There wasn't much living up there that I saw!
It was a long way and we were all pretty tired when we finally arrived at the green car. I had a big blister on my ankle and Chris had a sore arm after he crashed on the fjell skis, feeling a little sore is always the sign of a good trip though (-: The Tåkeheimen hut is a magical place I will always remember, maybe I will make it back there some day.
We drove very carefully down through the slippery steep tunnel and back out into the shining warmer valley down below. Much of the snow had melted around the seaside during the days we had been up on the glacier and the feeling that spring was on its way was everywhere.
Looking across the lake towards our hut (It was up on the glacier plateau at the head of this valley; we accessed it from the other side)We timed it just right to take the first ferry across one of the crossings, but then got stuck at the next crossing by narrowly missing that ferry - so we decided that was a good time to look for a camp spot for the night.
We found a beautiful little place to put the tent in a paddock overlooking the ocean and the setting sun. It was a bit breezy, so we cooked tea then hopped into the rather squished tent for the night.
A nice campsite. Cris also decided to make a hut structure to sleep in - very waterproof!
The next day we had a big drive to get home, plus two more ferry crossings. It is a beautiful drive down beside the coast and we had numerous picnic stops along the way. After driving and driving and driving we made it home around 10pm, our place quickly turning into a bomb blast sight after all our smelly gear was strewn around it in the rush to unpack the car, have tea and get ready for work the next day. Fortunately Cris was around the next day to help deal with the mess (-: On Wednesday he headed back to Germany to take part in a high ropes instruction course and that was the end of our påske adventure!
Looking a bit scruffy on our return journey
Skiing on the Glacier, yah