Walking the world
- Norway: Mo I Rana – Namsskogan
- 4 – 13 September
- 236 km (1485 km in total)
- Northern Scandinavia + Gröna Bandet
Most notable from the past couple of weeks would be the dramatic change of the season! Summer is definitely gone and fall is here to stay. The landscape is changing color and temperatures are plummeting. We have also had quite a bit of rain lately. Unfortunately we are running a bit behind schedule due to injury and the temperamental weather this late in the season along with a few closures along trail has forced us to modify our route a bit. We are walking around some mountain passes, instead of over, for safety reasons and we are choosing a more direct route in order to make up some time. This includes a bit more roads but we feel the pressure to push on south as fast as we can. Winter is most definitely coming, and it is coming fast!
Back on trail we enter into a large Lake District, the next 3 days we slowly snake our way between these big bodys of water, wetlands and slippery rocks are a common terrain in the rain.
Temperatures are falling and the first snow down to 1000m arrived overnight. Not having the option of waiting out weather to have clear passage over the mountain passes, we create an alternative. The weather looks bad for the next week so quiet tar seal roads, old logging roads and a day on the busy E6 will walk us around Børgefjell national park. People rely on a ferry system and snowless mountain tops to navigate through Børgefjell which has no marked trails.
As we sidle around the national park on the roads we watch the weather roll in over the park and us. As we shiver wet and cold putting our tent up at night we know we made the right decision.
Day 70: Umbukta
Distance: 2 km (1251 km total). Weather: overcast, short rain showers on and off
We spent all day yesterday hitching into town to resupply and back to trail (on our “rest day”). So we felt the need for a proper rest day. So we just walked out of town a few km and camped up by a nice lake to chill for the rest of the day.
We still have reception so we can work on a little social media updates and housekeeping. Rain and sun on and off but otherwise very peaceful. The mosquito season seems to be over.
Day 71: Gresvatnet
Distance: 28 km (1279 km total). Weather: heavy rain until lunch, then rain showers on and off
Rained all night and all day! Freezing cold rain and an icy wind. There was even a dusting of snow on the mountains surrounding us from last night. Beautiful, but no wonder it feels really cold!
Came upon a small day-shelter at lunch and was able to make a fire and dry out a little and warm up. Scott is ok, but I am struggling a bit to stay warm. I sweat a lot so I get very cold the minute we stop walking and it takes me ages to warm up. A bit concerning with winter coming. It is so hard to dress warm when everything just gets wet and is very hard to dry living in a tent.
About 20 km hike over the mountains followed by another 8 km around a huge lake. The lake trail was shit! Very wet and waterlogged and a lot of scrambling over dodgy wet slippery rocks towards the end of the day. These new Salomon boots are a real letdown in wet conditions, very slippery! Not super fun.
I got wet feet today… my feet has still not defrosted. Scott stayed dry.
Day 72: Røssvatnet
Distance: 24 km (1303 km total). Weather: overcast, some light rain showers on and off
The morning walk started in a light drizzle. We were hoping it would clear, but it did not all day. The rain finally subsided and a little bit of sun peaked through once we came off the mountain to a big lake in the valley.
On the other side of the valley waited another long mountain pass. It was completely hidden behind dark storm clouds. Not the best time to go up there. It has been raining for days and not having access to a weather report, we opted to stick to the road by the lake and walk around the pass. The trails are extremely waterlogged, a bit dodgy and very hard work to travel now. We will still make it to our resupply point in time, just a slightly different route.
We started walking the quiet single lane tar sealed road following the lake. Found a beautiful little beach to pitch on and made camp. Thankfully the rain had stopped for a few hours. The tent was soaking wet so we put it up and made a fire while waiting for it to dry. Cooked by the fire then escaped the cool evening air from the lake by retreating to the tent. We must have been tired because we fell asleep by eight and slept for 12 hours!
It is a little bit frustrating with the constant wet gear and very little chance to dry anything from day to day. We are hoping for a break in the weather soon and are definitely feeling the time pressure to get down from the mountains now.
Day 73: Bleikvasslia
Distance: 31 km (1334 km total). Weather: overcast, some light rain showers on and off
It was a good decision to road walk around this mountain pass due to the weather. Still stormy up there and more snow fell overnight, now down snow to about 1000 meters.
The light drizzle of the day eventually gave way to overcast then some sun at the very end of the day. Tomorrow is even supposed to be clear. Yay!
We cruised through the little town of Bleikvasslia, there was a Coop supermarket in town but it was already closed for the weekend. Bummer! We camped up right outside of town in a grass meadow just out of sight from the nearby houses. Managed about 15 min of sun to attempt to dry out the soaking wet the tent a bit. Did ok, almost got there.
Spent all evening down a rabbit hole researching sleeping bags. We need an upgrade for winter but it is sooo hard to find the right choice on our tight budget! Mountain Equipment make nice bags, but they are very expensive. Our old Western Mountaineering bags are just not doing the job anymore. We need warmer bags for winter.
Day 74: Røssvatnet
Distance: 26 km (1360 km total). Weather: clear and sunny but chilly
Still working our way around Røssvatnet — big lake!!! Second largest in Norway, even labelled an inland sea. We enjoyed a beautifully sunny day finally! Pretty cold though… frost on the ground this morning and all the peaks around us are dusted with snow.
We are evaluating all our gear for winter. We finally decided on Marmot Lithium sleeping bags. A great weight to warmth ratio for a reasonable price! At 1176g rated at comfort temp -12.8 C we will have very good winter/all round bags.
We also got a couple Patagonia Houdini Air windbreakers so we don’t have to walk in our heavy gore-tex jackets unless it is really raining. These are super breathable, but still wind and somewhat water resistant yet only weigh 102g. Great mid-layer, especially for me (Karma) who sweat too much to really be comfortable in my gore-tex when I am active. Very excited to try these out.
Movie night in the tent! Another classic… Top Gun.
Day 75: Hattfjelldal
Distance: 28 km (1388 km total). Weather: clear and sunny
Another day on the road. A beautiful quiet and scenic one. Quite relaxing. Another day with nice weather too!!!
Resupply day! Rocked into the tiny village of Hattfjelldal around three. Shared a pizza then did our resupply. Pretty well stocked little Coop supermarket. We are burning out on shit food so since we only have to carry 4 days out of here, we are experimenting with some real food. Carried 21 (!) eggs, half a kg of cheese, a cucumber and polarbread, and nuts and crackers instead of chocolate bars for snacks. About the same budget, but heavier. We’ll give it a go.
We also discovered some wear and tear on our tent… We have already done a few minor repairs on it and this morning we noticed the stitching where the outer fly meets the channels for the poles is starting to tear. Just a small 5 mm hole now, but not good! Granted, it is a lighter weight tent and it has got some serious miles on it. The PCT last year and now this expedition, but we really hoped it would hold up better.
We decided to call Hilleberg and as them for advice. They were very honest and straight with us, basically recommending a more robust model. Saying that our choice (Rogen = yellow label) is a light weight option and really not made for an expedition like this one. They wanted us to look at their expedition tents (black label), or at the very least the all season (red label) tents. We feel that the expedition tents weight much, but decided to upgrade to an Allak 2. This is a proper all season tent (red label). Weighing in at 3.3kg it is 1.2kg heavier than our current tent but a much more robust shelter. It will definitely keep us a lot warmer this winter and stand up to the rigors of our expedition much better.
The customer support at Hilleberg the Tentmaker is incredible! They will let us trade in our old tent for this new one and all we have to pay is the difference!!! Sooo cool, thank you! We will pick up when we cross over into Sweden in Storlien in a couple of weeks. We are super excited about our new home!
Day 76: Vefsna river
Distance: 29 km (1417 km total). Weather: overcast
Woke up to heavy rain, so we took our time. When we finally got going around 10 it had stopped but of course the tent was soaking wet. So we took the extra time packing down the inner tent separately before taking the rest down. Pretty easy to do and not knowing if we will get the chance to dry it tonight, at least this way the inner tent will be dry. Most of the time we are too lazy to do this, but knowing the weather is unlikely to improve it is well worth it.
Another day on the road. Most of it on a nice tiny forestry road though a national park. Quite nice to walk this way. You can cruise, relax and enjoy the scenery not be forced to watch where you put each step. Kind of felt like the PCT… Still lots of up and down though, so still a workout.
Since we are going through the mountains there are not a whole lot of flat spots. We passed on a wet sheep paddock that was nearly dry and found a nice dry flat spot right next to the communications tower. Oh well, not the sexiest spot perhaps, but there is an air exhaust blowing out warm(ish) air from the control shed, suitable for drying a few pieces of wet clothes. Namely my sweaty t-shirt and shorts. Hey, you take what you can get…
we found a small creek not far from camp and stripped down for a sponge bath. Well overdue since we have been reluctant lately since it has been so cold!! Felt very nice and refreshing!
Day 77: Majavatn
Distance: 26 km (1443 km total). Weather: overcast, some glimpses of sun
Walked down a huge valley skirting Børgefjell National Park all day today. The front runner for the incoming storm front magically split on each side of the valley and we stayed dry while the mountains on each side saw plenty of weather. The 6-day front is still coming and is supposed to hit later tonight.
We managed to find a pretty cool camp spot just off the road above a quarry. Pretty nice sunset from up here. Hard to find dry ground anywhere as most areas are pretty boggy, but we are on high ground tonight and pretty dry. Choosing wisely is especially important with the pending storm.
We are dying to find somewhere to do proper laundry and get a good shower. Hoping the camp ground we walk past into our next resupply stop in 2-days is still open for the season and could provide. Fingers crossed.
Day 78: Namsskogan
Distance: 26 km (1469 km total). Weather: Rain
Rained quite hard on and off and more or less persistently all day! Temperatures dropped dramatically too. You could not even see the mountains surrounding us. Just one of those days…
Today we left northern Norway behind as we walked under the gateway to the north, an elaborate arch over the highway (tourist trap). We stopped at the souvenir shop, which was closed for the season, to make a hot cup of tea under the covered seating area. A very cold and wet day, struggling to stay warm as soon as we stop! Puffy jackets on!
We called ahead and booked an inexpensive little hytte at the campground at out resupply spot. They have hot showers and laundry facilities, and we get to sleep warm! A well deserved treat! We should be there by lunch tomorrow.
Tonight we are camped up on a huge gravel turnout from the E6 highway. Well, at least it is somewhat dry ground to pitch on in the middle of all these bogs in the rain. We tucked into our sleeping bags sheltered from the rain and made dinner and hot chocolate to warm up.
Day 79: Nyheim Camping, Namsskogan
Distance: 16 km (1485 km total). Weather: Rain
After another very wet night and day… and solid rain in the forecast for another three. So we treated ourselves to a shower, laundry and the possibility to dry our gear today! We rented a little hytte on the camp ground in Namsskogan where we stopped for a resupply.
It was really nice to get a break from the weather, plus it has been 12 days since the last hot shower and 23 days since laundry so both were sorely needed and a super nice treat! Huge morale boost!
We hung out in the communal kitchen most of the afternoon since our little cabin was filled to the brim with drying grear—including the tent. Yeah, we managed to pitch it inside, lol. The only way.