Norwegian Mountains, Oppland
Fodnesåsen (773m) by Fagernes, May 15 2009
(This is a trip report only. There is no main page)
On this beautiful Friday, my plan was to drive from Gurskøy to Fredrikstad. I was looking very much forward to both seeing good friends again, as well as the drive itself. On a day such as this, driving across Norway is a blessing. Unless one ruins it by working too hard and sleeping too little, which I managed to do. With only a couple of hours sleep (and no breakfast), I left home knowing the drive would be a tough one.
But the beautiful Bjørkedalen valley made me forget how tired I was. I had never driven through this valley before (although I have been on top of Trollvasstinden). I then looked forward to get to Lake Strynevatnet, well knowing the scenery that would meet me up there. And not to forget - the tall and shiny white Storskredfjellet above with the beautiful Nesjehyrna satellite peak. The area surrounding Strynevatnet has to be one of the most beautiful places in Norway.
On Strynefjellet, there was no other way; I had to stop for some sleep. One hour later, I was back on the road, but I had my doubts about reaching Fredrikstad on the same day. At Vågåvatnet, I chose to drive across Valdresflya, and I made it up to Lemonsjøen before I had to sleep again. One hour later, I made up my mind about checking into a hotel at Fagernes.
After checking at the Fagernes hotel, some food and a quick rest, I asked the receptionist if there were any local viewpoints. The advice I got was to visit Kviteberg, a pavilion just above Fagernes. And I got a small tourist map too. It didn't take me long to find the Kviteberg trailhead, and at 6:12pm, 12 minutes after leaving the car, I could enjoy the Fagernes view from Kviteberg.
Even for me, 12 minutes is a bit of a short hike. According to the tourist map, the path (Bergastigen) continued up the forest. I decided to aim for the Fodnesåsen high point (773m), and if time permitted, continue to Stølhaugen - the southern high point on the long forest ridge between highways RV51 and E16.
The path took me to Valakamben, another fine viewpoint. From here, the path continued northwest, but (according to the map), there was no path up to Fodnesåsen. I had to find this "high point" by myself. I had a GPS, but I hadn't uploaded the local map. After a little while, I reached the top of Fodnesåsen (6:55pm), and there was no cairn, triangular point or bolt. In fact, I didn't know that I had found the top until I got back home and looked at the GPS track.
Time permitted an attempt of Stølhaugen, but then the GPS told me that there was no coverage. I attempted to use the sun beams to get a northwest bearing, but I was actually heading south. I'm not a wilderness man yet, it seems. I was pretty much lost. Used to coastal tops, thick forest was something new. When I got a glimpse of Strondafjorden, I knew that I had gone in the wrong direction. I was able to backtrack to Fodnesåsen, and gave Stølhaugen one more attempt before I admitted defeat. I was back at the trailhead 8:05pm, content about the evening walk.
The good night sleep I had been looking forward to was for the most part ruined by loud music and heavy partying from the Fagernes russ, who happened to have base camp next to the hotel. I guess I fell asleep at approx. 3am, and enjoyed two full hours of sleep before the alarm clock woke me up at 5am.
I drove non-stop to Fredrikstad, visited my friends and spent the day being a popular donkey for half a dozen kids. I left Fredrikstad 6:30pm and drove non-stop to Gurskøy (except for a fuel stop). I listened to the radio and realized Norway was about to win the Eurovision song contest, and was humming to the tune of Fairytale when a small herd of reindeer jumped out in the road in front of me. I have seen reindeer on many occasions, but never this close. And just 30 minutes earlier, I had passed 3 elks standing alongside the road.
After what (in retrospect) seems to be a poor study of the Folkestad - Volda ferry schedule, I was under the impression that I would not make it in time to Volda to cross Austefjorden. Thus, I would have to drive around the fjord. Then I remembered that there was a mountain road between ..somewhere.. and Austefjorden, which sounded like a potential short-cut. I spent 20 minutes on the phone with a nice lady from the 1880 service (1881 never picked up the phone - busy with Eurovision, I suppose) who tried to figure out this road. Eventually, we agreed on this road, which was signposted as "Austefjorden" at the western end of Lake Hornindalsvatnet.
This rollercoaster road was no wider than my car, and it was definitely not a short-cut. I could not go faster than 40-50km/h without seriously risking smashing into one of the ... hundreds .. (of deer standing alongside the road. Their glowing eyes gave them away. This road trip also included a flock of sheep - very reluctant to leave the road. And I'm sure the locals didn't enjoy me honking the horn 1:30am. "They'll probably think it's the russ", I said to myself. Soon after scaring a fox off the road, I had to hit the brakes to avoid driving over a cat. Rather than just disappearing like cats tend to do, this one tried to outrun me on the road, just like the damned sheep, and I couldn't help laughing out loud.
I hadn't eaten since I left Fredrikstad, and looked forward to a bite in Volda. But the local petrol/gas station had closed the doors, and only served customers through a window. Outside were approx. 50 russ, all seriously drunk, and in line to buy hamburgers. Volda, the night before the national day, looked like the end of civilization, as we like to know it. And I'm sure Volda didn't stand out from any other place in Norway on this night. I moved on, hoping there was something in my fridge that I had overlooked. I actually found something and by 2:30am, I was waiting for a boring dinner to defrost. 3:15am, I went to sleep, truly looking forward to many hours of sleep.
7am, the house shook. I was still "driving a car" after the 700km drive from Fredrikstad, and was quite confused. After a quick inspection, I concluded that the house was still standing. Very tired, I went back to bed, only to wake up at 8am by another shake. Very, very tired, I went to google.com and googled "sunnmøre earthquake" (I truly did). No hits made any sense, but I was starting to wake up by now, and googled "Kanonsalver 17 mai". Then I remembered that there is this (sick) tradition of firing canons very, very early on the national day. And since I was sort of awake by now, I decided to hike a mountain. Trip report from the beautiful Sandhornet/Blåfjellet here.
To get to Fodnesåsen: From the bridge across Neselvi river, follow E16 south for 300m. Turn right onto the Nesvegen road and follow it 180m up to a junction. Turn left. Follow this road 600m upwards until you see the Kviteberg signpost pointing into the forest. Follow the marked path up to Kviteberg, then the Bergastigen path to Valakamben, then 1,1km along the path until you reach a junction (signposted). Leave the path here, and head (off-trail) 200m southwest to the Fodnesåsen high point (not marked).
The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 450D + Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6
(Full size images)
(Images scaled down.
Road pics Volda - Bjørkedalen
Road pics Stryn - Strynefjellet
Road pics Valdresflya
Road pics, on the way home
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