Rondane

August 10, 2014

Last night we could hear the wind blowing hard, occasionally hard enough to shake the little cabin we were staying in. After breakfast the wind was still blowing hard, but luckily there was no rain as we headed out on the almost level walk. The trail descended to the Døråe River, which we crossed using a bridge, and then ascended to an area full of rocky pits and lumps. Those were kettles formed by glacial action a few thousand years ago.

As we walked through this area, the trail went slightly uphill but the strong wind was in our faces for almost the whole day. Basically this meant that we looked down at the trail for the majority of the time and periodically looked up to make sure we were on the right track. The wind was also quite cold but luckily there was no rain and every so often the sun would shine on us. For the most part the trail was good–no boulder fields–and we had some nice views.

Trail towards Rondane

About noon we reached a trail junction where the main trail continued to the Bjornhollia hut, and we turned off towards Rondvassbu. We had the choice of climbing 500 meters up and over a rocky summit, or paying for a boat ride along the lake, Rondvatnet. Well, the choice was easy. The boat was scheduled to leave at 2:30 pm so we made sure we arrived with plenty of time to spare. We had a short stop for water and cookies and then carried on downhill to the boat dock.

Decision point

Upon arrival at the dock we found some other people already sitting in a somewhat sheltered area, where stone walls had been built to keep the wind out. They made room for us, so we sat in there and ate the rest of our lunch. The boat cost 120 NOK each but we thought that was a good deal. There must have been 20 passengers on the boat, and a lot of them had walked over the rocky ridge from Rondvassbu and were returning by boat.

Rondvatnet waiting room

We arrived at Rondvassbu at about 3 pm and went in to check in for our three-night stay. After putting our packs in our room we went to check out the facilities. Toilets and showers are in a separate building and the drying room was in two parts with the showers behind them. So essentially there were men’s and women’s drying rooms! Our room was fairly small but we still had room to spread out our stuff. The only light was an LED light by the door, but that didn’t work. When we inquired we were told that it was only meant to work in the winter! And it’s true that it’s still light here at 10 pm now, but not light enough to read or write.

Boat trip

We had come to the conclusion that it was time to revise the rest of our holiday. By now we were tired of walking over rocky terrain with heavy packs, so we decided to cut out some of the days in Jotunheimen. Rather than doing the long 26-kilometer walk from Gjendesheim to Glitterheim and then onwards with more long walks we decided to eliminate that portion of the trip and just stay at Gjendesheim. We would walk the Besseggen ridge and possibly take the boat down to Gjende and do some day walks from there. All of this was weather-dependent, but at least the DNT huts didn’t require reservations, so we hadn’t made any. However we did have confirmed reservations at Leirvassbu and Spiterstulen, so Rosemary went down to reception and borrowed their phone to do that. Now we had some empty days in our schedule to fill in, but we would have plenty of time to do that.

Dinner tonight was a meat soup followed by roast veal with potatoes and veggies. Caramel pudding was the dessert. Our neighbours at the dinner table were from Stavanger, so they urged us to spend our extra time there. But as they admitted, it takes a while to get to Stavanger. We might give it a try but we still don’t know.

August 11, 2014

We woke up to a very overcast day and the weather forecast didn’t look promising. By the time we had finished breakfast the drizzle had started, so we decided this would be a good time to do some laundry. Most of our clothing needed washing so today was the prime day to get it done.

The drying-room sinks we a bit small and they didn’t have plugs, but we always carry our own rubber sink plug so that wasn’t any problem. Once the first loads were washed we sat in the common area and read books. The morning dragged on, and when noon finally arrived we ate our packed lunches. There was still no improvement in the weather, in fact it actually looked worse than earlier. But we found that our laundry was just about dry already, so we decided to wash out more clothes.

Rondvassbu in bad weather

The day stretched out and by 4 pm the weather had improved, so we decided to go out for a short walk. We headed out along the road and across the bridge, but by the time we got there the rain started again. So we retreated to the hut and waited for dinner.

Tonight the dining room was especially noisy because there was a large school group which had arrived in the afternoon. The meal was very good as usual. After dinner we wrote our journals and read books some more. The rain was still coming down and the weather forecast for tomorrow didn’t look promising either.

August 12, 2014

Today was our third day at Rondvassbu. We considered the idea of leaving early to look for better weather elsewhere, but thought we probably wouldn’t find any. Besides, the weather looked okay here even though the forecast mentioned thunder showers around noon.

Since it wasn’t raining we got ready to go for a walk. The mountain tops were all in cloud and with the threat of lightning we decided to stay low. So we decided on a walk along the trail towards the Peer Gynt hut. The hut was four hours away, which would have amounted to a full-day walk if we went all the way there, so we decided to just head out for a short walk in that direction. It was still windy as we started out across the tundra, but a short climb to start with warmed us up a bit. The views were actually quite good as we followed the undulating path, and we kept an eye out for reindeer but unfortunately found none. However we had been told that they stay up in the high country until late August.

Cairn in the tundra

After about an hour we decided to turn around, mainly because it had started to rain. The rain continued for most of the way back to the hut, and by the time we got back it was lunch time, so we sat in the warmth and comfort of the hut to eat. For most of the afternoon the rain came down so we sat in the common area and read books some more.

Finally about 3 pm the rain stopped and so, surprisingly, did the wind. So we donned our wet-weather gear and headed out to walk along the trail towards Bjornhollia. Once again it would have taken four hours to walk all the way there, so we walked along the trail for an hour before turning around. It was nice to finally walk without being buffeted by the wind, but this part of the trail was rather boggy so it was rather hard going. However we persevered with the walk. Again we looked for reindeer and didn’t find any, but this time there were half a dozen sheep, wearing their bells, on the slope across the lake.

Rondvassbu in mediocre weather

On the way back we took the more direct route to the hut, which meant that we plunged down 60 meters of a very steep trail to reach the front door. It was still only 5 pm so we bought some hot chocolate (or “warm chocolate” as the Norwegians call it) to tide us over until 7 pm, when dinner would be served.

Direct route to the hut

Tonight dinner started with cream of cauliflower soup, although the pieces of cauliflower were so large that you might call it a stew. Then there was salmon with boiled potatoes and mushy peas. Dessert was a visual and tasty treat, consisting of a chocolate brownie with marinated small pieces of apricot along with crème fraîche. The garnish was a small mint leaf. After dinner we had tea and coffee in the lounge and then went outside. Since the wind had died down our view was of a beautiful sky reflected in the calm lake. Quite a change from the last couple of days.

Finally better weather

Next: Gjendesheim