Bike Touring in Norway Part IV - Jotunheimen National Park and Valdresflye Plateaux
This post - June 20th-24th
~190 km, 2200 m - biked with the whole family
440 + 600 + 800 + 1200, extracurricular hiking elevation
Follows: Norway part III: Poopville (Mysubytta)
See also: Our European bike tour: People and Equipment
After leaving Dønfoss camp we didn't spend too much time zipping down the valley until heading up into the mountains again. This time heading up some very steep switchbacks from Garmo towards Tesse lake. I was the only one who didn't need to dismount, and only just barely... we didn't quite make it to the top, and camped near the side of the road in the middle of the switchbacks. The combination of allemannsretten and long days makes for stress-free cycle touring. It was a beautiful forested campsite, and also the last night with Laerke, as she needed to return to her regular life. The next day we bade her farewell and then tried to go the low-elevation way around Tesse lake, but the track became unsuitable for our bicycles and we had to go back and around the high way - almost as high as the pass - before coming back down to a campground in Randsverk. That evening I had my best (running) time yet - 440 meters in just under 21 minutes up, 17 down, to summit Ørnkampen just outside of town. I was pretty excited about it until I realized that this would be a regular (overall) time on skis... but still good since I don't really consider myself a runner.
During the cycle towards the famous Jotunheimen National Park F complained about being itchy and we discovered that both kids were covered in fibreglass shards. We think it was an aging above-ground enclosure they were playing on/around at the last campground... we cleaned them up as good as we could and quarantined the affected clothing, but were pretty worried as this was most of their warm clothes. We rented a very small cabin at Bessheim, just outside the park, both due to high predicted winds, but also so that we could take a proper shower and attempt to wash all the fibreglass contaminated clothes. That evening I washed the kids/clothes while Line ran a loop through the park up to Bessvatnet and over the shoulder of Veslfjellet. Even though the high winds never materialized we thoroughly enjoyed our first non-tent night in a long time.
The next day I got up early, biked over to Leirungsbuin then did a running traverse over Knutshøe and back around the North side before breakfast. I expected to pass a lot of people, but only saw/passed a single German tourist. I think I was too early. I read a lot of warnings about it being a serious mountaineering objective, but as usual you need to modulate the severity of the warnings against the popularity of the route - there were only a few easy scrambling sections, but was important to go the right way. I think the South side is the more popular return route, as I found the trail around the North side to be largely nonexistent in places. Later that day, biking by the regular trailhead with the whole family, I ran into the same German tourist; he had just returned to his car. We chatted a bit and he gave Fenya a lot of gummy candies.
The pass to the South we biked over is a wide alpine plateaux, and unlike anything I'd seen before. We pulled over at a rest stop and watched a herd of reindeer roaming the plains; they moved much like a flock of birds. Beautiful. That evening we camped by the trailhead for the Bitihorn; Line climbed it that evening and I climbed it the next morning. F and N were very exited about the patch of snow beside the tent. Then came the long winding descent to "civilization" at Fagernes, stopping so that F could get an extracurricular climb up Smørkollen on the way. It seems that our planning was somewhat lacking, though, as we came down on the weekend and everything was closed except the gas station. The hot-chocolate powder I ate right from the package wasn't very good, but the only problem with the gas station pizza was that we only bought one of them...
Leave a Reply.
River of Golden Dreams
Triple M Triathlon - Misty, McBride, Mamquam
Recent tips and thought
Boxy: Our kid hauling bike
Putting skis on a bike
Making a low DIN tech binding
What is in our backpacks?
The bike canoe trailer
Making kids crampons
Digging a snowcave
Make a kid towing harness