Monday, June 3, 2013

The Emerald Ribbon

After a few trial runs earlier it was once again time for a proper bikepacking trip. Originally Joe and I had tried to find a weekend where both would be available, but no such luck this time around.

My plan was to bike the Emerald Ribbon starting early on saturday morning and returning back early sunday in time for planned family activities.

My chosen weekend was also the day when the traditional bikerace from Bergen to Voss takes place and the area  next to Grieghallen was bustling with lycraclad racers, eager to start on the 170 km journey

However this years event was marked by a tragic accident with a fatal casualty. A rider somehow fell over the railing in a sharp turn and landed about 50 meters below, on the railroad tracks. Our thoughts go to those  who are left behind.

My railwayjourney was delayed because of this accident, but eventually I ended up at my starting point, Evanger. I made a mental notice to be really careful going downhill on sometimes slippery tarmac.

A few last provisions were bought at the local supermarket and off I went. The route starts off easy enough, winding through meadows and small forests for a few kilometres, before the big climb starts. A german registered car drove past me with two river kayaks on the roof, and I saw them again next to a big waterfall.. They were suiting up and from the looks of it were going to do a drop in that 20-30 meter waterfall. Not my cup of tea, but the river further downstream looked nice for packrafting.-

Nice old engineering.

You got mail.

The route takes you over the Nesheimmountain at about 700 metres above sealevel. Which meant I had a nice climbing session ahead of me. Too bad visibility got lousy as I ascended into the mist and fog.

I think the view below is really nice. Maybe next time.

There was still snow at the top and fairly chilly conditions, so no long breaks.

Thankfully, after every climb there is a downhill. Keeping in mind this mornings accident, I took it easy going downhill.

On the other side of the mountain you follow the Teigsdal river, which is well known for its trout population. The locals cultivate the river and surely next time I will bring my fishing gear. August seems to be the prime time, so maybe later in the summer.

Teigsdal river.

I took my time rolling gently downhill and was impressed by how well kept the houses and farms seemed to be, and it always brings a smile to my face to see newborn lamb bouncing around on wobbly feet. Since I could not find any really nice camping sites up in the valley I decided to go down to the fjord and have a look there.

The road by the fjord also passes through a few tunnels, the first one being totally dark with no lights whatsoever. Interesting experience. I had brought my Petzl Tikka just for this section, but as expected it did not create daylight out of darkness with its meager 40 lumen output. Thankfully there were a few holes in the wall intermittently, giving illumination.

Tunnel with a view.

 Not long after I found a nice place to camp and pitched my tarp the Glenn Charles way

 Dinner was eaten and then it started to rain. And it did not stop until the next evening. Seems like most of my bikepacking trips are plagued by shitty weather.. Ah well, it was only for one night, and it is always nice to practice wet weather techniques.

The next morning I was eager to reach the train that departs from Stanghelle at 11 and took off around 9 am. The weather was, well, wet, but I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the bikeride along the fjord. Plenty of nice waterfalls, scenery and tourist attactions along the way. I will certainly come back to Skipshelleren with my family. This is a stone age settlement, approximately 7000 years old.

I arrived at Stanghelle with time to spare, and once again made a note to self to do this more often.

Thanks to M for giving me some time off.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Birthday present

Yesterday was my birthday and I guess the best present I got this year, was from my wife.
"Get out of the house and go on a trip, happy birthday!" she said

Thanks M, very much appreciated!

So this last weekend I embarked upon a trip that has been on my mind for a while now. As opposed to ET I would not call home, but walk home. There is an endurance race called Styrkeprøven Rett Vest whose route
starts at Gullbotn, conveniantly accessible via bus and ends at the summit of Lyderhorn, which is my "home mountain". The route takes you over and through the mountains close to the city of Bergen and as I found out, is really well marked.

Due to family commitments I had a late start on the saturday and started walking around 15.30, in beautiful autumn weather. I met quite a few people coming down from Gullfjellet, and even saw a biker somehow making his way down. Can you spot him in the picture below? I only brought my 20mm lens this time, so cropping on my computer would have to make up for any lack of optical tele.

The first hour was mainly spent in the shade, but I still had magnificient views over Samnanger.

It was fairly chilly and a lot of the track was covered in ice, making progress a delicate affair in some exposed places.

My parents live down at the fjord and have seen this patch of snow the whole summer, this is clearly the "shady" side of the summit.

The picture below somehow reminds me of Mordor, but I guess it`s a bit warmer there..

View from the summit of Gullfjellet, 988 metres above sealevel.

The route from Gullfjellet to Redningshytten is one I usually prefer doing on skis, as it offers nice, not too steep hills. Soon I expect there will be snow here. Can`t wait for that to happen :)

Redningshytten, roughly translated to Rescue Cabin, was originally built as a direct consequense of a rescue operation concerning an injured woman and the first cabin, made out of stone, was built in 1929. A very popular destination for sunday trips.

It was now almost dark and I set camp in the fading daylight, pitching my MLD Supermid a whole meter away from the track. Didn`t expect anyone to show up in the dark.

It was a fairly windy and cold night and my toes were a little nippy the next morning. Glad I brough my babyNalgene (the 0.5 l version) which helped thaw my frozen trailshoes. I knew I had quite a few kilometres to cover so I was on the trail at first daylight.

 It was great to be up at this early hour as the light was really nice

I was a bit low on water this morning as there were not a lot of options for filling up my water bottles, I prefer not drinking marsh water..

My route would take me in a circle to the left in this picture and eventually over the mountain straight ahead, towards Ulriken.

Towards Unneland, through a forest in autumn foliage.

Slogging uphill again, a look back towards where I came. The summit of Gullfjellet is to your top left, and the route goes in a wide circle to the right.

I met 3 people on this side of the mountain, but on the other, more popular and easily accessible cityside, I was just one of many hundreds, out enjoying the autumn sunshine  (the city of Bergen is well known for a lot of rain, so the inhabitants usually grab the opportunity if the sun shines..)

View towards Ulriken, which is also quite popular with paragliders.

By the time I had descended Ulriken it was already late in the day, and I would not make it over the last three mountains before it would get dark. And frankly I was knackered.. The trip was longer than I thought..
But, I will try it again next summer, but then taking advantage of an early start and only a daytrip backpack.

So I caught the bus home and spent the rest of the night chilling, well satisfied with a great trip. I feel fortunate to have such great opportunities "right next door".

thanks for reading!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

20/20 vision

Unfortunately I don`t have a 20/20 vision, but now at least I have a Panasonic 20mm lens that I hope will inspire my photographic vision and get the creative juices flowing.

The results so far from this lens are really great. This, however, should come as no surprise considering the abundance of positive reviews out there on the web.

I like the fact that it offers only one angle of view, making me stop, think and work harder to get the pictures I want.

And the shallow depth of field. Ah, how it brings back good memories from the nifty fifty I started out with many years ago.

My first outing with this lens was a few weeks ago, when I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and start my commute to work, the day, or rather evening, before.

I headed out the door at 9 pm, on foot, and got to experience a nice sunset. I tad too late for the perfect light, but nice nevertheless to be out and about on this late summer evening.

My intention was to walk to a place I know I can pitch my tarp, about 1.5 hours away from my doorstep.
It`s a nice grassy meadow which offers a nice view over the Askøy bridge.

The late start and the coming of autumn meant that daylight was fading fast and by the time I had pitched my tarp and made a cup of hot cocoa, it was quite dark.

Sleep came easily but I was awoken around 01.30 am by a stray dog running around close to my tarp, bringing forth mental images of the Hound of Baskerville.. It disappeared before I had the chance to investigate if it had a name tag. Hopefully it returned to its owner. The rest of the night went by peacefully, and, going by my results so far, I have to give two thumbs up to my new Thermarest Neoair Xtherm. It really is quite comfortable :)

The next morning, after a quick coffe and breakfast, I jogged to the nearest bus-stop and joined the "world" again.  I have to say this particular trip ranks very highly on my top-ten list, as far as commuting goes :)