Imposing mountains, rugged rivers, rapidly changing weather and easy-going and friendly people. This country breathes nature.
We have two treks planned. A three-day tour in Rondane NP and a five-day tour in Dovrefjell NP. We also want to spot puffins on the tiny island of Runde and photograph musk oxen in Dovrefjell. We are considering another canoe trip, but we will let this depend on the weather.
We’ve been in Norway before. If you like to know more about our cycling adventures in the south: Cycling in Norway.
Yes, the weather turns out to be a spoilsport this holiday. Our plans are canceled because Storm Hans visits Norway. This means that it rains a lot anyway, but also that many roads are closed and we cannot reach Dovrefjell and Rondane. So we are constantly adjusting our plans.
During the preparation of this holiday we compared the prices for the ferries. Nowadays there are many options to travel to Norway, via Northern Germany, via Denmark. We decide to drive there and back. This means that we are on the road for about three days, but we are making it a nice trip. This is a personal choice. If you book in time, taking a ferry is always an option, of course. The Hirtshals – Kristansund ferry is by far the cheapest option.
We drive via Osnabruck and Hamburg to Puttgarden and take the boat to Rodby. We spend the night on the island of Mon. Then we drive to the Oresund Bridge and via Gothenburg towards Oslo. We spend the night just past Oslo and drive to Runde the next day. Back we spent three more nights in Glaskogen Nature Reserve, where we canoed. We then drove the last 1400 km in two days
Our first destination is Runde. A tiny island off the Norwegian coast. Maybe you didn’t know it, but tens of thousands of birds breed here. A large puffin colony, but also the largest gannet colony. You can take a walk there and see the old lighthouse. The puffins are at sea during the day and return to their nests around 9 o’clock in the evening.
From the campsite it is about a 2 kilometer walk to the place where you can admire these funny birds. It is a steep climb, then you walk across the plain to the other side of the island. Here you see the puffins floating on the sea and they come ashore en masse. You can see them up close. They dabble around, clean their wings, look for their nest or fly back to sea.
Camping Goksoyr has two small tent fields, many places for campers and some houses that you can rent. We rented a double house that was decorated in a vintage style. It is old, but adequate and cheap by Norwegian standards. The owner of the campsite is friendly and everything you need is available at the campsite, including a large kitchen/living area.
Reinheimen Nationaal Park
After our island visit we drive via various fjords, tunnels and ferries to Andalsnes and then to Trollveggen Camping. This campsite is located at the bottom of the spectacular Trollveggen; a mountain wall of 1700 meters high, the highest in Europe. A nice campsite, a good starting point for walks in the area.
We make a two-day trek from Tunga. This walk, no. 14, can be found in the Rother walking guide Central Norway.The first seven kilometers are flat, but quite boggy. Views over the surrounding mountains and the Ulvadalsvatnet lake. At Vakkerstoylen hut we are taken to the other side by the landlady. A steep climb awaits us here, where we look for a wild camping spot. The tent is pitched just before it starts to rain.
The next morning there are stone and snow fields and we have a view of the glaciers of the Hog Tunga. We have lunch in the rain. Fortunately, it becomes dry just after the Pittbua hut. It is already mid-afternoon but we decide to continue walking. The last 9 km are fairly flat, but the path has almost disappeared due to the heavy rain. Tired but satisfied, we arrive at the car at half past eight.
Op de camping blijkt dat we onderweg onze lichtgewicht tent zijn verloren! We balen enorm! Gelukkig hebben we een iets grotere tent bij ons, waar we op de campings gebruik van maken. De volgende dag wandelt Joost het laatste deel nog een keer (parking Tunga naar Pittbua en terug), maar de tent vindt hij niet. Wel hangt hij briefjes op….Na twee dagen krijgen we gelukkig bericht dat de tent is gevonden! Hoera! Hij is door de vinders naar de Pittbua hut gebracht. De waardin daar zou hem meenemen. Waar de tent is weten we niet, maar we zoeken via de mail contact met de DNT (Noorse organisatie die over de hutten/wandelpaden gaat).
At the campsite it turns out that we have lost our lightweight tent along the way! We’re really bummed! Fortunately, we have a slightly larger tent with us, which we use at the campsites. The next day Joost walks the last part again (parking Tunga to Pittbua and back), but he does not find the tent. He does hang up notes… Fortunately, after two days we receive a message that the tent has been found! Hurrah! He was taken to the Pittbua hut by the finders. The landlady there would take him away. We don’t know where the tent is, but we will contact the DNT (Norwegian organization that manages the huts/hiking trails) by email.
The weather forecasts indicate that severe weather is approaching. Storm Hans will bring a lot of rain, strong winds… in short, not pleasant conditions for walking or camping. We decide to book a mountain hut to ride out the storm. At least then we have a roof over our heads. We find a hut (via Airbnb) in the Amotsdal, a valley north of Dovrefjell NP. A simple but cozy hut, with a nice stove, a small kitchen and good beds. No internet, no electricity, no running water.
It is a two kilometer walk from the parking lot on an easy path, according to the owner. However, that path has already been washed away, so it is not that easy. Certainly not because we stuffed our backpacks with all kinds of delicious food!
We spend the days in the hut eating, reading, playing games, doing a little yoga and gazing out the window. We take a few short walks in the hope of spotting wildlife, but we mainly get very wet!
When we return to civilization on Wednesday, it appears that the tent has been brought to Alesund. That’s quite a ways in the other direction… We decide to pick up the tent first, then we can make plans again afterwards. It soon turns out that all roads in the interior are either completely or partially closed! The consequences of Storm Hans are major.
We manage to get to Alesund, but the options for traveling to the mountains are limited. We are happy to be united with our tent. We spend the night in a luxury hotel and the next morning we take a short walk through the Art Noveau center of Alesund.
This city was reduced to ashes in 1904, almost all wooden houses were destroyed by fire. The city was then built up in Art Noveau style.
Reinheimen Nationaal Park 2.0
We drive again to Reinheimen NP and plan a three-day trip there, of about 48 km. Starting point is Billingen, where there is a DNT hut. From here we walk 9 km towards the bridge over the river, where Tverrahytta is also located. There is a small lake around km 14, at the junction to the Torsbu hut, where we pitch the tent. A nice spot with a beautiful view.
The next morning it is chilly. The mountains are calling us, but while walking I quickly notice that I have no energy. I will not make the planned tour via Veltdalshytta and Torsbu. I don’t like the option of turning the three-day event into a four-day event, so that we have to walk fewer kilometers per day. The weather forecast indicates a lot of rain. We decide to walk back and make a smaller circuit. At first it feels like failure and I’m frustrated. I find it annoying to walk the same part again. But soon I am relieved, I see that the view is different and it feels good.
At ‘our’ wild camping spot we walk towards Torsbu. We soon find ourselves in a kind of stone plain. The wind picks up and it starts to rain. There is no flat area anywhere here where we could camp. We take shelter behind a shed and rest for a while. We decide to continue walking, towards the valley. Hopefully we will find a spot there.
Fortunately, just as quickly as the bad weather appeared, it disappeared again. A little later the sky is blue again and we find a pleasant place to pitch the tent.The next morning we walk back to the starting point. We enjoy the spectacular river and are happy with the beautiful weather. It is even so warm that we cool down by the river during lunch. We happily return to the car, about 40 km in our legs. We are curious to know which roads are now open again.
We will spend the night at one of the nicest campsites; Heggerud Gard og Camping. A nice spot in a beautiful garden, with apple orchard, vegetable garden, raspberry bushes. The next morning we plan to drive south-east, but our attention is attracted by signs ‘Rondane NP’… Mmm, that road is probably also very beautiful and it is open! We decide to take the northern road along Rondane and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
The road towards Rijksweg 3 appears to be closed and the road to Dovrefjell is open… We decide to take a look at the musk oxen. A short walk to Stroplsjodalen starts at Kongsvold. Here musk oxen live on the tundra, the vast plain full of reindeer moss. Through a birch forest we arrive at the edge of the Dovre plateau. We have a view of the Snohetta in the distance and the other mountains.
We see one musk ox, which can be seen with binoculars, but barely with the naked eye. Further on we see a number of photographers, so there will probably be something to see there too.That’s right. There’s a musk ox chewing the cud. A large, bulky animal with remarkably long hair. The name musk ox is not correct at all, because they are not descended from the ox. They are actually enlarged mountain goats. They look prehistoric.
We walk a little further in the hope of seeing more musk oxen. There would be about 300 of them. It starts to rain and a little later we see several rainbows. The endless plain is impressive. When we walk back, the musk ox appears to be grazing. We see its short legs. He seems to move very clumsily, but he seems to be able to gallop very fast!
We walk back and eventually drive to the southeast. Rijksweg 3 is known for its many moose and there are various artistic expressions related to moose. Including a huge silver moose. Unfortunately we don’t see a real one.
We spend the last nights in Glaskogen Nature Reserve. Good weather is forecast here and after all the cold and rain we need it. We also visited Glaskogen ten and twenty years earlier. It is a beautiful little reserve, near Arvika. There are several lakes where you can canoe beautifully, and you can also go hiking.
The campsite has several camping fields. You can camp around the information center, where the showers are also located. Caravans/campers can choose from beautiful spots on the lake. Camping is also possible at Trangstad. Here you are more secluded, there is only a picnic table, a fire pit and dry toilet. We have a nice spot at Stora Gla. On the last day we rent a canoe and enjoy the beautiful weather.