The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday 1 August 2017

The Walks We Didn't Do, And The One We Wish We Hadn't

The morning after the waterfall walk described in my last post, an early start was had. We knew our planned walk would be busy (although it wasn't until later in the day that we came to realise that it is the second most publicised walk in the region, with massive amounts of advertising in the nearby town), so an earlier-than-average start seemed the best plan.

This was where we were headed:

Photo taken from tourist brochure

We didn't get to find out if the walk was worth all the fuss (and the 100NOK parking fee) as 6km before the car park we found a prohibition on motorhomes. Parking 6km away and catching a bus was an option, but not one that appealed (loss of flexibility of start and end times and a guarantee that you'll be setting out with a whole glut of people). We abandoned the route and spent the day elsewhere, taking small solace later when, after a fine start, rain came in that would have made the return leg of the 20km walk rather miserable.

The following day I had another walk planned and was confident that this wasn't a touristy one. Alas, we didn't reach the start point of that one either. No ban on motorhomes this time, but a 2m width restriction. Colin would have been fine, but Bertie is 2.12m. Time for another plan.

The following day I chose a route close to where we were parked (rather than choosing the route then trying to park nearby) and early in the afternoon I set out, telling Mick at what time to expect me back.

Much to Mick's surprise, I returned within half an hour and at a sprint. Having walked across the village to find the start of the trail, I only made it five minutes further before giving up on it for being too overgrown. Probably a good thing I didn't push on in the hope of it improving, as heavy rain hit when I was about 100m away from Bertie (hence the sprint finish).

The only photo I took on this outing showed the power station gubbins in the foreground. Lovely scenery beyond that, though.

Yesterday we did no more than potter, and even then we got drenched. The west coast of Norway is having a wet summer.

Today promised us patches of blue sky, with only a small chance of showers. Accordingly, of the options presented by the 'recommended hikes' leaflet from the tourist office, we chose the one that went highest, promising a good summit with excellent views.

The arrow points at our objective.

The 2km along residential streets to get to the start point turned out to be the best thing about this truly awful outing.

This snap is a good representation of what it was like:

What you can't see in the snap is that the rocks along the route had all of the grippiness of a greased pole. In between the rocks was water, either standing or running, often in huge and unavoidable wallows. It has rained a lot, and heavily, lately, so maybe it's not always so bad.

Being in woodland this was the only view we had on our upward journey, and even that required a small detour from the path

Optimistically, we pushed on, painfully slowly, hoping for an improvement around every corner. Eventually patience ran thin and the trail was given ten more minutes to improve; if it was still awful we would turn around. By ten minutes later the thought of retracing our steps was worse than the thought of pressing on to a junction where the map said we could pick up a track. It gave a very indirect escape route, but looked the preferable option.

Maps can be deceptive. This was the state of the track:

Overgrown and sodden. On the plus side, the rocks like greased poles were now absent. On the negative side, they had been replaced by actual greased poles in the form of banks of tree trunks long ago laid across the track for form a solid walking surface, but now covered in slime.

Then there were the stream crossings:

We finally got back to Bertie having covered around 10.5km (our intended circuit, including the summit, would have been 12km) with around 500m ascent, and with the only good point about the outing being this art work seen on the side wall of a school that we passed in getting to and from the start of the trail:

The second snap is for scale

Thankfully the shower, visible on the left of this photo, skirted us. That would have been the icing on the cake.

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