Rondane til Dovre

It’s like walking through a quarry, a very large quarry…and a pretty one at that…

Rondane is a mountain area about 200 km north of Oslo. It’s fairly easy to get to by train, which a lot of people do. To protect the calving reindeer, the huts are closed in May and early June. Needless to say that this is thus a perfect time to go there with a tent to trek around the national park in relative solitude. Since June is also known for melting snow I brought my packraft just in case we had to cross a lake when rivers would be too rough to wade through. We had been warned for another so called Lemming-year as well. I had encountered one 2 years before in the Setesdal; lot’s of screaming little furry hamsters everywhere, and a lot more lying around dead.

We took the train to Otta, from where we took a Norwegian style mighty expensive taxi to our starting point at a place called Mysuseter where the taxi driver recommended the Rondane Spa to us (supposedly they give good massages there). We thanked him for the suggestion and started hiking. From the the Mysuseter it’s an 8 km walk to the lake Rondvatnet where we set our first camp.

The next morning we woke up with nice enough weather and left the Rondvatnet east into the Illmanndalen. The Illmanndalen is a valley with many lakes. All day we were walking alongside small rivers, lakes and across snowfields a number of times. It was a good thing we had already walked up to Rondvatnet the previous day, since the hike through the Illmanndalen was quite a long one, especially with my backpack weighing well over 20 kg. We finally arrived at the lake Bergetjønna, close to the Bjørnhollia hytte. We took out the packraft for a little paddle here, tough luck we got a bit too late here for fishing, since there seemed to be plenty in the lake.

Another day, another day of fine weather. It must be my luck that I always get nice weather on the least-likely-to-get-nice-weather locations. We had a relatively easy day ahead of us including crossing a bridge that is supposed to be there only in summer. After rounding the mountain Veslsvulten we entered the Langglupdalen and ended up at the river Langglupbekken…without the bridge… Well, there was a bridge…the bridge was just lacking the wooden planks that it was supposed to carry…the planks were naturally lying on the other side of the river. The river was pretty wild at this point and was definitely not suitable for wading through. We already started our way upstream to find a calmer spot when we saw three guys coming down the hill on the other side. We waited for them to arrive at the bridge where they made some funny suggestions we should pay for them constructing the bridge. Anyway, great coinsidence we met people exactly at this point, they made the bridge for free and were so nice to let us pass first…We made camp directly on the other side in the sun.

In the morning we started off on what was supposed to be the most scenic day of the trek: through the Langglupdalen. The day started off a bit cloudy but gradually turned brighter and brighter. The path through Langglupdalen started off rather green with the typical birch trees and “lav” (bright green stuff that reindeer eat) and then winded itself up to the passage in between the 2178 meter high Rondslottet and 2060 meter high Midtronden, a spectacular route. The passage led into the Bergedalen which looked like paradise from the top, but turned gradually into a big quarry with horrible to walk on rocks to end up in a moon-like landscape. Our feet were happy to finally reach our campspot in the Dørålen valley where we saw many tracks of reindeer, but spotted none.

During the end of the walk through the Bergedalen we had a continuous view on the Stygghøin (which despite it’s name is not ugly at all). In this mountainrange is a passage called the Dørålsglupen; a narrow way through which the Haverdalen is reached. We made our way up through the glupen, where snowfields made for welcome changes to the endless rock fields. By the time we reached the Haverdalen side of the glupen it started raining. Here we met another group of hikers that said hello, and so we guessed they weren’t Norwegians. We were so accustomed to nice weather now, that we put on our raingear too late and got wet. We made camp between a small stream and the Haverdalsåe river. When the weather cleared up we decided to have a look at the the bridge, which actually wasn’t accessibly due to flooding of the river…bad news…we checked the position of the tent, which was a the highest place in the surrounding area (around a whopping 50cm above riverlevel), so we crossed our fingers and hit the sack.

No river had floated us away and we woke up in sunshine. So much sunshine that all our wet gear was dry before the end of the morning…how one can be happy with dry clothes when that’s all you have! Also the bridge was accessible again and we proceeded our journey towards the Grimsdalen where we would see some civilization again for the first time in days. After ascending the slope on the other side of the river we reached the Gravhøtangen, a soaking wet mushy land where it started raining on us. We were prepared this time and put on our rainclothes. After walking through a dreary landscape we finally reached the Grimsdalen, where it became dry and warm again. We got to the river Grimse, where we found a campsite with two campervans. We pitched our tent next to the calm river.

In the morning a bus arrived with a bunch of tourists. They never made it to the river, apparently the toilet and little huntershut were much more interesting. They chased away one of the campervans though. We hiked up into the valley of the river Tverråi, saying goodbye to Rondane and entering Dovre Nasjonalpark. The landscape this day turned out to be unexpectedley pretty with many snow fields to walk across. Halfway through the day we even got a view on the Snøhetta mountain of Dovrefjell. After having lunch we encountered a river that was probably flooded, and it took us some time to cross it without getting too wet. From then on it went a bit downhill with the first drops of rain that would turn out in many drops in the days to come. With 18km it was a long hike and we didn’t bother finding the ultimate campspot once reaching Hageseter (gardencentre? no idea why they called this place like that…).

The evening and night it was raining. Although we had planned to go check out some Musk Oxes in Dovrefjell this turned out to be unachievable. I went for a small hike trying to reach the Hjerkinnshøe. The maps, signs and paths didn’t seem to be aligned this time, and I gave up after having walked 8km without success. Then it started raining again in the evening and throughout the night. The river came up a little but this didn’t rang any alarmbells. I went out for a paddle with my packraft. Once returning to the tent, we packed up and hiked to the Hjerkinn railstation. Our train was supposed to leave at 16:00 for Otta where we would spend our last night before getting back to Kristiansand. At about 15:45 the speakers told us that due to flooding, the train wouldn’t go further than a place called Dombås (stupid boot) and no alternative transport would be arranged, since the roads were flooded as well…oh boy…we ended up taking the train to Trondheim where there was a chance to be a night bus back to Oslo through a different valley. Roughly 4 hours and a pizza provided by the railway company later we got to Trondheim where we met a busdriver who had just come back from that valley, since he couldn’t get through due to…flooding. The temperatures and heavy rainfall had caused a lot of snow to melt and rivers to swell. Bridges and roads had been destroyed. Lucky for us, the train did go, first to Lillehammer, and then on to Oslo. We actually arrived earlier in Kristiansand than we would have with our original tickets! Great service from the Norwegian railways!

All in all a great trip! A lot of rocks, a lot of water, quite nice weather, quite a few lemmings but not like I had had before, hardly any people! All in all the animal count:

– Lemmings: too many to count;
– Reindeer: plenty of tracks but no reindeer; 0
– Bever: 1
– Musk Ox: 1 from the train
– Humans: 10? Not counting the bus.
– Trolls: 0 (it was too light during the night)

See more pictures of this trip.