Because of holidays, travel, etc, post are going to be out of chronological order for a while!
Keen readers may remember that 2 years ago I went for a two day hike / camping trip on Senja with our catechist / youth priest, Frank. As everyone in the church knows, once something has happened twice, it’s a tradition. So, in order to make our camping trip a tradition, this year we went again, this time on a more challenging route, with three days walking and two nights camping.
Because weather here can be quite unpredictable, this kind of expedition has to be a bit flexible, so on Friday we decided to begin on Sunday, after church. Of course, after church is a bit variable, so it was 6pm before we were dropped off in Svandalen, with clear blue skies and full sunshine. This was our route, stretching approximately 35 km / 22 miles. Click on the map to enlarge, or click here for a proper interactive map:
On local advice, we didn’t take the marked trail, instead trying to find a way through the forest on the other side of the river to walk into Tromdalen (our first valley). After marching around for an hour or more through dense scrub, walking moose trails and crossing the river several times, we eventually reached the top of a peak (on the wrong side of the river) from where we could see the proper trail, which looked much easier:so, we climbed down with our heavy backpacks (at least 40 lbs), crossed the river (again), and got ‘on-track’.
After several miles of relatively easy going, Frank was already beginning to mentally write his confirmation service sermon, comparing aspects of our journey with the Christian life (you’ll have to come to Finnsnes one Sunday in May 2015 to hear it)!
The lower part of Tromdalen is quite a steep V shape, but the upper section is a more open U.
There’s also a 360 degree panorama here.
At the head of Tromdalen we crossed over into Leirdalen with views out toward the Atlantic west coast of Senja (known as the Yttersider (the outside). The lakes were teeming with fish (you could see hundreds of rippling circles), but sadly we didn’t have any fishing gear with us.
We passed several potentially great camping places (a lake to bath in, a waterfall for fresh water and flat dry ground to pitch the tent, but we needed to keep walking:
On the side of Skipstinden there is a strange giant horseshoe:
Several times we disturbed families of grouse (rype) who suddenly fly up, almost when you step them. The mother then, potentially self-sacrificially tries to distract you walking ahead, making herself very visible and calling until you are a long way from her chicks:
At well past 11pm and with the sun well and truly set we finally left Leirdalen:
and crossed into Kapperdalen where we planned to camp beside Langdalsvatnet.
Being well above the tree line, we had already collected some dry birch bark for a campfire, and at nearly midnight settled down to free cooked soup, sandwiches and tea.
It’s several weeks since we lost the midnight sun, but there was still enough light to walk around. However, being a very rocky and quite wet area, we couldn’t find a place for the tent, so we slept out under the star (well no stars because it didn’t get properly dark), although the only dry place I could find to sleep was on a large rock!
The end of day one – day two coming soon.