Vassfaret: Slippery and Wet (Part 2)

Posted on 04 August 2012

After a while of searching we found the small blue marks and we were back on the trail. We left the cabins of Olsonheimen and walked along the lakes through the valley. It was an amazing area. Colourful flowers everywhere. Many different types, specially the orchids were the most beautiful ones. On a hillock next to the lake we stopped to explore the area. Joe pitched the SL3 just in case if it would rain. And it started to rain some minutes after that. Good decision Joe. Marco and I started with fishing. We picked up our Tenkara rods and tried our luck. It was my first time that I used my Tenkara and I had no luck in this calm lake. After and hour I stopped fishing and also explored the terrain around the lake. Joe found a excellent campground with a fireplace for the night and started to portage our gear in several trips.

A nice view from our campsite over the lake. The rain stopped and blue sky came out.

We started to collect some firewood for the evening to dry ourselves and our wet gear. The warmth of a fire was fantastic after these days of rain and wet clothing. A gentle breeze came up through the camp and the midges were blown away for a while, but only for a while. Shortly after the breeze stopped these small bloodsucker attacked us again and we had to put on our headnets again. These bastards.

During the night it started raining again and we had lots of condensation in our tents. Marco and Joe had hundreds of mosquitos in their SL3.

I had numerous no-see-ums in my tent.

The mountains around the lake were cloudy in the morning and it was raining. Today it was time to make a decision how our trip should go on. Solidly we voted to go on a direct way to Nesbyen, because the weather won’t get better in the next days. Furthermore we decided to make a two day overnighter around Bergen to have a splendid look on the fjords, glaciers and the town.

But before we took the way back to Nesbyen, we explored the lakes around the campsite with our boats ins the morning. After breakfast we packed up and followed the trail to next lake. You can also paddle this way, but their are some big steps between the lakes with heavy whitewater and nobody wanted to risk something. This time we decided to go out without our packs to be faster. Before we started we stored all packs in the woods and camouflaged them with grazing and gras.

We paddled along the shore, but could not see any moose or other wild animals. The Nevlingen was the biggest of all the lakes with a small island in the middle. Getting to this island was exhausting because we had the wind against us, but the view on the island compensated the strain and the breeze was refreshing. We found a mosquito free area on the island because of this fantastic breeze. The way back was easy and fast. We paddled like a powerboat. Tailwind helped us to be faster and I could test Marco’s Shuna paddle. Before I got it I thought a paddle is a paddle, but it is definitely not.

Afterwards we reached our packs and put the boats away and followed to trail back  to a bridge  where we came across. A snake was sleeping on a bed of iceland moss next to rapids and enjoyed the morning sun. We took some photos and continued on the trail along the river Strøselve which connects different lakes. After we had passed the lake at Suluvatnet the trail got more and more swampy and mosquitos came across and attacked us. We were still in a moose valley, but no one wanted to come out for a snapshot. On some sections the trail conditions were perfect. It was dry and perfect to walk and we stayed theier for a longer snack break.

Marco and I tried our luck and we put out our Tenkara rods. This time we had a small flow and I thought it would be better conditions to get some trouts. Once more we had no luck, but it was a good practice for me to learn the handling with the Tenkara rod. Joe used this break to play around with his new Panasonic GH2 camera and he made some splendid shots. After the fishing session it was time to continue the trail because I got really cold feet during the fishing session.

It was still raining, but the rain gear did not work because it was to hot, so we decided to wear the windshirts.

An old damaged cabin along the trail.

The next highlight along the trail was Høgfoss. A marked waterfull which ran along our trail. Water running down over several big steps with a loud blaster. It is amazing to see how the water formed the stones. We climbed up the trail along this waterfall and made once more a short snack and photo stop until we  we reached the Strøen. The Strøen is a big lake which which supplies the waterfall with water. On top Marco and I looked out for some trouts. We could see some small ones, but couldn’t fish, because we only had a license for the Vassfaret. Now it was time to find a campsite for the night. We hoped to find one very quick, but the area around the lake was full with private cabins and all Norwegians decided to go out in their cabins. The shoreline was rough. We found gliffs, boggy terrain and stony beaches. No campsite for our tents. After a while we found a spot in the woods next to some private cabins, but no one was there.

Tents were pitched on a bed of moss and lichen and firewood was collected quickly. So we could start with dinner. Perhaps the last evening in the Vassfaret wilderness and we still had the mosquito problem. On this evening my feet did not feel well. I got two big blister because of walking with soaked wet feet evey day. In the evening we talked about the plans for the next day. Taking the fastest route to Nesbyen if it rains and making another trip around Bergen or staying in the Vassfaret area for another night if the weather is splendid in the morning.

LYO Food one of the best on the market at the moment I would say. Get one and test it.

As I expected the weather did not change during the night. We were awakened by another rain shower and decided during the breakfast to walk on the fastet way to the train station. After we had packed everything Joe and Marco did the morning Shangri La dance to get lighten up the tent from all the water.

The way back was once more slippery and wet. After we had passed the lake Strøen we mastered some river crossings. On forest roads we got to Nystølen. This was a relaxed 7km walk in the morning. In the map the was marked a small foot trail from Nystølen to Lyseren and we expected some hard off-trail walking and maybe bushwhacking. But to our surprise this small foot trail was well marked and in good conditions. We reached the cabins of Lyseren after 3km and were back on jeep-tracks.

Now we had to walk round about 12km on this boring jeep tracks. Civilisation came nearer and nearer. Lots of private cabins adorned our way and jeeps and people came across the road. Now we are back. Sheeps crossed our way and followed us down to Nesbyen. The jeep-track was very steep with lots of zigzags.

We used the time to swap the lenses on our Panasonic cameras so Joe could test my 20mm/1.7 lens.

The valley of Nesbyen was cloudy, but a breeze came across and refreshed us. Some roadworker prepared the track to the private cabins for winter. They blew up the stones with dynamite to widen the track

My arm tortured by the bites of mosquitos, no-see-ums and ants. My hand was swollen and it looked like it was broken.

Back in Nesbyen at the truckstop we rewarded us with some delicious snacks and drinks before we took the train back to B-town. We had to spend a couple of hours in the town before a train left the station some minutes before we reached the town. At the station we started to refresh ourselves with a cat’s lick in washbowl of the toilet. We put on some fresh gear which was not too stinky. When the train arrived Joe managed that we could take this train because our tickets were booked for a train two days later.

Old technology at the train station, but it still works fantastic.

These stinky shoes could be used as biological weapons.

Last but not least some thoughts of our trip. I hope Joe did not make so many thoughts if it was the right decision to cancel our Hardangervidda trip and go to the Vassfaret. From my person I can say that everything was OK. We made the right decision to find an alternative route. The snow level in the Hardangervidda was to high. It would have been possible to walk there, but packrafting would have been more difficult with that high water level. The Vassfaret was an excellent area for our trip even the weather experience was ok. Nobody can change the weather and we only had this timeframe for our trip. Next time when we come back we go in the Hardangervidda. No matter what happens. I wanna thank you Joe that you managed and organized everything. Your hospitality was excellent and it was a pleasure for me to meet you and Marco. Don’t feel sad. We had a great trip with no accidents or something else. That is important.

If you wanna read what we did in the last days of the week in Norway stay tuned and have a daily look at my blog.

4 responses to Vassfaret: Slippery and Wet (Part 2)

  • Anonymous sagt:

    An excellent report and what I really enjoyed is all the „people“ photos, so often you only see landscapes here you get a sense of the hiker in the environment. As for the snake, I am surprised it did not move. 

    • Benjamin M. sagt:

      Thanks for the comment Roger.
      The mix of photos was randomly and not intended. Normally I also have landscapes when I walk alone. I think the snake was tired and enjoyed the morning sun and we tried to be quiet as possible.

    • Joe Newton sagt:

      I agree Roger, the addition of some kind of human reference be it a person or item of gear gives a sense of place and scale. Too many landscape shots in blog posts can become repetitive and give a feeling of detachment.

      Good work Beni, I really enjoyed reading another perspective of our trip.

  • Benjamin M. sagt:

    He Idzard
    thanks for the compliment.
    We had a map, but I cannot remember which one, because my Norwegian hiking partner organized the map.

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