A random trip, as usual

It was a very regular Friday morning a few weeks ago when my buddy, Bogdan, asked me “Hey, how about a hiking trip to Norway?”.

Him and his wife wanted to hike the mountains of Jotunheimen for a week. I unfortunately could not excuse myself for that long of a period since my dearest, darling had her graduation coming up. However, a quick weekend might actually fit into the diary.

First things first – the missis needs to approve. In fact, I might try to convince her to join as well, even though she has never hiked before and has explicitly said “I would rather not sleep for 72 hours than spend a night in a tent…”.

I’d say worth a shot anyway. So I called her. And to my greatest surprise, she said “Sure, why not. Let’s go”.

What just happened?

Our goal: camp at lake Ausa, not far from the village of Soleggen

What to pack

Some people from our team (looking at you Sasha) were ready to survive a nuclear winter with their equipment. We on the other hand tried to keep it simple. So our essentials included:

  • A pair of clean socks, underwear, T-shirts for each day
  • Extra layers in case it gets cold
  • Backpack (duh!)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Matt
  • Tent
  • Basic hygiene stuff (toothbrush etc.)
  • Flashlight
  • Small towel
  • Food, including canned meat, porridge, bread, cheese, sausages, chocolate, tea etc.
  • Water bottle
  • Eating utensils (rookie mistake – we forgot to pack bowl and a cup)

The most important of them all – my Canon 6D and my trusted 24-70mm F4L IS.

Some of the things, such as maps and water, we got locally, but all in all, we were set to go live in the wild for 4-5 days...Although, to be honest, we had to tune it down to 3-4 days, since it turns out that canned meat and carry-on luggage are a story bound to end in a divorce. Oh well…

 

Day 1 – arrival to Otta

Long story short:

  1. We took a Ryanair flight from Tallinn to Rygge
  2. Jumped on a train to Oslo to spend a few hours there (yes, the local Burger King meal does indeed cost €10+)
  3. Sat on a night train from Oslo towards Trondheim
  4. Got off at 3am in Otta

When we arrived in Otta, we were greeted by a very friendly face, Uku, who had already spent his last week climbing the mountains of Jotunheimen with his friend. And boy was he happy to see us.

We walked for a few minutes in the little town until we turned to a hill and walked upwards for about 20 minutes, giving us the appetite of what it will be like climbing the hills. It was exhausting!

Without any delays, as we arrived, we put up the tents and went to sleep. No more than 200 minutes later I find myself wide awake thinking that we’ve missed the bus to Jotunheimen! We didn’t – it was just the paranoid Mr. Hyde in me. Back to sleep.

Day 2 – Lom, Soleggen, Lake

The second day of our trip has begun. That’s when we want most of our hiking to be done. Quick breakfast, gather our stuff and onward to the bus station.

Right before we mount the metal stallion that takes us to our destination, we part ways with Sasha, Uku and Ma(a?)rten. They have a quest of their own to attend to in Rondane National park. See you, guys!

We on the other hand now arrive in Lom. On arrival, our friends Bogdan and Alena finalised their awesome journey and we split paths. Take care!

So it’s just the four of us left – me, my wife Madli, Mihkel and Maido. And our chosen path – Soleggen and the lake Ausa. And so we go.

Our path takes us first through a tiny horse farm. I kid you not, these are the friendliest horses you have ever seen. We give them some grass, pet their noses and on we go.

For four hours straight, we only walk uphill. A 600m ascend is not a trivial one for someone like me who has the muscular weight of a rag doll, especially when we’re all carrying 12kg of stuff on our backs.

Fortunately, Mihkel, our goliath for the trip, was kind and strong enough to take the burden of our tent upon his shoulders. May the Lord of Light bless him.

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Despite it being extremely tiring, the pathway was great! Not only the enormous views were gorgeous, but you could also find awesomeness even in the tiniest of details.

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The top of the mountain was great! My wife loved the fact that she could hold snow in her hands on the 18th of June.

And I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mihkel more happy than during that one moment when he just lied down on the squishy grass. He at one point later decided to roll down the hill too.

Although it was awesome, we couldn’t stay on the summit for too long. Our end goal was the lake Ausa where we wanted to have our dinner. And tummies were getting hungry.

Our path took us through the village(?) of Soleggen. We did not see any people there, but boy were there a lot of sheep. We tried to pet them a little, but we couldn’t get close enough. The closest we got was to the majestic one on the photo – but he decided to calmly urinate at the same time to really show who’s the boss. Well played.

The weather started to turn, but luckily we managed to reach the lake while it was still light outside. In fact, the rain decided to take a different path, so we did not get a single drop on us. We were lucky.

The lake was nice. It wasn’t warm enough to swim in, but its water was nice and fresh. We made a huge pot of tea with it.

Finding a suitable camping spot wasn’t hard, but it could have been easier. Then again, how could we call it a successful hiking trip if during the whole trip we don’t encounter a single lump under the sleeping matt.

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Day 3 – our way back

By the third day, I expected the most beautiful things to be already behind us. Now it was time to get back to Lom, to Otta, to Rygge and finally to Tallinn. Yet, I could not have been more wrong.

On our way back, we were blessed with an absolutely amazing view on the river. There was more of that squishy grass that Mihkel loved lie on and we took a few minutes off to taste some fresh fir tips.

Just as we were about to head down to the forests, we encountered the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen…

There was a rainbow above the magical river!

That one moment was worth the whole trip. Even my wife agreed with that – and hopefully will encourage her to come on more hiking trips with us!

It was beautiful.


When we finally got back down to Lom, we wanted to pay a quick visit to our friends, the horses.

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They were doing great. It was their lunch time.

Speaking of which – we were hungry too. Since we had an hour before our bus left to Otta, the thought of a quick pizza made everyone’s tummies growl. Once that beast was tamed, we were ready to jump on our metal stallion again and call it a day.

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When we arrived in Otta, the climb to the previous camping spot was too (damn) high. So we decided to try out a local camping place. An equivalent of 5 EUR per person got us a nice a view, a level ground and a warm bathroom.

These luxuries were enough to make four adventurous Estonians really happy.

Even though we only got to touch the tip of the iceberg, already I can say that Norway is awesome. Although we were really lucky with the weather, all you really need is some food, warm clothes and most importantly – great companions – and I guarantee that you’ll have an amazing trip.

Thanks for reading!

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