torsdag 27. mars 2008

Børgefjell 17-18th March

Edit: we are planning on writing about building emergency snow bivouacs on our web site (http://www.friluftsnett.net/), so I will not write about that in detail here. We built and slept two nights in a snow bivouac toward the end of our trip, so I might write more about it later.

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17th March: We woke up to a blue sky, windstill and a beautiful sunrise, coloring all the snow covered mountains red. Our plan was to continue northeast toward the northern part of the national park, but we decided in the morning to turn back south again as the terrain towards the north was quite steep. We continued around Sklettfjellet towards Jengelen, and turned around Store Kjukkelfjellet toward Kjukkelvannet. Even with the sun shining the whole day, it was fairly cold, and as we still had clear skies in the evening, we were already down to -12 degrees (celcius) at dinnertime. In the early morning the temperature was down to -17, a new record for me! But with good sleeping bags, wool clothes, balaclavas and down socks, we had no problem keeping warm. The biggest problem when it is so cold is how to avoid breathing in the cold air directly. We covered our mouth with the balaclava and breathed inside the sleeping bag, but the moisture from our breath condenses on the sleeping bag and freezes, and the sleeping bag insulates less. Fortunately we could dry them in the sun the next morning.

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18th March: We stayed at the same camp during the day to rest. Staffan went on a skiing trip before lunch and after, while I practised building a sort of snow cave one can build in an emergency, e.g. if the wind is blowing too hard for putting up a tent. We had beautiful weather again the whole day and a great view of mountains on all sides.

tirsdag 25. mars 2008

Børgefjell 15-16th March

On Saturday 15th March we went by train for about four and a half hours to a national park near the Swedish border called Børgefjell. We stayed for nine nights, till 24th March, so I thought it would be best to write about two or three days at a time, starting with the first afternoon and following day.
 
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We arrived at Majavatn at noon, and made lunch at the station. As usual, we didn't get very far the first day, only a few kilometers along a side road towards Tomasvatn, where the national park begins. We put up camp right next to an open river, which saves a lot of fuel and time since we don't have to melt snow to get water for food and drink.

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The first kilometers were still along a road till we got to Tomasvatn. After a very steep hill we could finally put our skis on and continue through the sparse birch forest till we got above the tree line. We saw quite a few people, many with dogs, and some even seemed to be staying in a tent like us. When we came to the top of the ridge, we got a great view of snow clad mountains, bare rock and a few trees down in the valley. Above the tree line the snow was packed by the wind, and during the day we got a few cm of new snow, making it mostly easy going. We turned left into Storelvdalen (Big River Valley) and set up camp there just as the snow started falling again.

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mandag 10. mars 2008

Storlien 3-9th March

From Wednesday 3rd March to Sunday 9th March Staffan and I were in Storlien, just across the Swedish border, with his parents, Christina and Åke, and his younger sister, Maria. There was a blizzard in Storlien when we arrived with the train and too much snow for his parents to pick us up with the car, so we went on skies the last part. Our goal with the weekend was to get Maria to sleep outside in the winter for the first time, either in an igloo or a snow cave, depending on the snow conditions. We decided to stay near the cabin since it was her first time, and ended up digging a snow cave, since the snow was too light for an igloo. During the first evening and next day, the snow kept falling, and the wind made it impossible for the snow ploughs to keep up and keep the roads clear. The road between the border and Åre was even closed on Thursday, and we stayed inside except for digging the snow cave. The next day Staffan, his parents and I went skiing in beautiful "Easter weather": blue sky and almost no wind. In the evening Staffan, Maria and I moved out into the snow cave. The ceiling was a bit low so we got a few showers of water or snow, but enjoyed the silence and comparable warmth (it almost got too warm when water started dripping from the ceiling). Even with a strong wind just a few meters outside, you hear nothing inside the cave, just silence. The next morning Maria ended our night outside by jumping in through the roof! Staffan and I went skiing before lunch and then played some games the rest of the day. The next morning we all went home, Staffan's family to Stockholm and the two of us to Trondheim.

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North of Storlien, Friday

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Snasahögarna from Visjövalen, Saturday

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Visjövalen, Saturday