After two days of rest in Rognan with continuous rain and corresponding inactivity, I set out on the next leg with the replacement boots that arrived just on time. This stage I had to change and replan completely because of the snow conditions. The visit of the Svartisen glacier is postponed to another time.
The restart into a new stage is always a bit special. Do I have enough food in case I don’t make good progress? Where are the possibilities to stock up? What challenges await me? How will my body and the weather develop? And actually it was so comfortable now, with varied food and doing nothing…
Drizzle was a constant companion during the first 3 days, hood, rain pants and gloves always on and the ground wet and slippery. So you are fully concentrated on where to put the next step and where the next trail marker is. You hardly notice the gray surroundings. If the path is good, you’ll be on your way quickly.
With the view constantly downward I seize however also, how the vegetation and fauna changed. Suddenly not only a cackling ptarmigan flutters out of the bushes, but there are about 10 chicks running for their still short life. Impressive was when I flushed a capercaillie hen. This critter was more than twice the size of the ptarmigan and her scolding was almost deafening. The majority of the reindeer have now changed their white winter coat to brown summer dress. Soon the cloudberries will be ripe, too. Their shape is already clearly formed and they just have to ripen. Another striking marsh plant is now in full bloom (pedicularis oederi Hornem). Originally it was conspicuous for its purple stem and leaves. Now it blooms lush yellow with red-purple tips. In recent days, mushrooms have also shot out to the ground everywhere. The signs are obviously increasing that autumn will soon announce itself, although in many areas it is still winter. With overcast skies I noticed that it is getting darker again and I can no longer hike around the clock, but in bad weather should have reached the overnight place around 8 o’clock in the evening. These are also signs that I will soon have reached the half of my tour. I am now south of the Arctic Circle and on the Virvasshytta I met the second Norge på langs hiker. She had started on May 9 at the Norwegian-Swedish border south of Oslo. Such encounters will probably become more frequent in the coming days and probably weeks, depending on each other’s route. These exchanges are always a good opportunity to get to know people and their experiences as well as information about route, accommodations and food options. Less reliable, because very individually characterized are, in my experience, the assessment of the path condition. My odometer also indicates that, depending on the choice of route in the south, the halfway point is imminent.
The Phantom For the first time I took note in the Somashytta north of Halti in the hut visit log of a retired Austrian who had also started on Kinnarodden a week before me. On the way to Kilpisjärvi I was told about an encounter with him. After my rest days there we were both at the same time in the Dærtahytta. He was already asleep when I arrived and was gone when I peeled myself out of bed. Since then I could not see him anywhere and had forgotten him again. After spending the night near the Arctic Circle, I stopped for breakfast in Bolnastua, about 2 hours away. There, according to the hut visit protocol, he must have left shortly before for Virvasshytta, my destination for the day. And so it was: he sat in front of the door in the sun and talked with a Swedish couple who had also just arrived. It quickly turned out that Peter lives just across the Rhine in Vorarlberg. So I was able to speak Swiss German for the first time on my journey. Peter is 8 years older than me and we both appreciated not being the complete exotic among the much younger tourers for once. We met the following day still in the Kvitsteindalstunet cabin, where Peter had already arrived after 7.5 hours of hiking for some time, when I arrived at 1 pm after 5 hours walk. He enjoys there a rest day on a hut, before he will then direct his journey home in approx 2-3 weeks. I ate lunch there and after 2 hours of chatting to I moved still 15 km on to Sauvasshytta, benefit from the good weather.