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 :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

On yer bikes

The weather this summer has not been the greatest. I guess Joe, Beni and Marco can vouch for that..
The first couple of weeks of our family holiday consisted mainly of rain, wind and fog. If we did not have a 4 month old baby, we would probably jump on a plane and fly south, to warmer climates. Ah well, we stuck with it and when we arrived back in Bergen for our second half of holiday, temperatures were higher and that yellow thing in the sky could be seen more often.
Being back in Bergen also meant that I had all my toys at my disposal again, and with a little negotiation I could land a bikepacking deal. It had been far to long since I had my Fargo out on an overnighter.

As this would be a short overnighter I chose to explore the island of Askøy, just north of where we live. I had read on some forums about mountainbikepotential/routes in a forest on this island, and set course for this forest. I packed and got ready and left about 8 pm, so not excactly an alpine start to this trip.

Salsa Fargo and Hurtigruten in the background

The first part of the route I had biked a few times before, but it was nice to be rolling along with a complete bikepackingkit. The Salsa Fargo works superbly for this.

Complete bikepacking setup

My route would be on the east coast of the island, as the roads here have less traffic, and offer nice views of the sea. Weatherwise this was one fine evening, and I took great pleasure riding along in my new Rab Meco 120 short sleeve shirt. This shirt impressed my with its fit, long tail for bikeriding, how quickly it dried and, last but not least, according to my wife, the gray colour suits me :)

I was in no rush so I stopped by a few places that looked interesting, as this communal recreation spot

It was here I decided to take the obligatory "bike in forground and something else in the background" pictures and my dear Fargo was almost swallowed by King Neptune. I propped it up nicely along the concrete wall , stepped back to take a picture and to my dismay could see my bike slowly tipping and waving goodbye to its owner. My swift recovery was worthy of an olympic medal...

After a successful rescue, and the obligatory look around to see if anyone had seen this daft biker, the damage report was thankfully only a few minor scratches and some ripped handlebar tape. And a bruised ego.

I guess there is a reason on most bikepackingpictures the bike is laying on the ground...

Anyways, I continued along the scenic route I had chosen and soon left the tarmac in favor of the last stretch on gravel to where I would look around for a spot to camp. Using google maps (what an amazing time we live in with such technology at our disposal..) I had noticed a small lake called Fjellvannet which looked promising. Btw Fjellvannet (Mountain Lake) is an odd name for a lake 53 meters above sealevel, if you ask me...

My originally planned site looked a bit boring so I kept on riding, and, literally, just around the corner, I found a really nice spot to pitch my tarp. Offering flat ground, access to running water and the lake itself, it fit the bill as a perfect campsite. Seemed to be plenty of fish here as well, so next time I will bring my Tenkara rod.

The rest of the evening was spent tinkering around setting up my good old Integral Designs Siltarp 2 in bikepacking mode, eating, reading and generally enjoying myself. Tips and tricks on how to do this courtesy of The Traveling Vagabond

Next time I will bring my Tenkara rod

I woke up during the night to the familiar sound of rain, but come morning, the sun was shining again, and I readyfied myself for some technical riding. I had no idea what it would look like, and truth be told, the tracks here were above my skillevel. Steep, rocky and rather muddy. Perhaps not terrain for a mountainbike novice. Ah well, if I ever attend the Iditarod Trail in some distant future, I guess some experience pushing bikes in bad conditions is handy :)

Morning mist

An easy section

After a short de-tour to another recreation area, Kollevågen to check out the spot where I camped last summer on a kayaktrip, I headed back to our home and started a new day with my family.

Pardon the soggy pitch..

Summer holiday, ain`t it grand!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rubber duck fun

I like my packraft.

It`s a very versatile craft, handy both for rivers, lakes, fishing, bikepacking, backpacking etc etc
But, sometimes, you just need to have a bit of fun.

So today I wanted to follow up my night on top of a flipped Denali Llama, and explore how stable it is (conclusion, really stable) and generally just goof around, playing fetch with my son.

Below is a totally un-cut version, following no advice whatsoever from this great article on making better adventure videos

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A bivi in Bergen

Bergen is experiencing a heatwave at the moment. It`s beyond fantastic :)
I therefore decided to go for a spur of the moment bivi, to the mountains nearby my city.
The plan was to bring as little as possible, and just go.

And I went.
And I enjoyed it immensely!

I was not away for 24 hours so I guess you could call it a 12`er :)

First proper backpacking trip with my new huckePACK. I think we will be good friends :)

Lots of people out this evening

Jetboil Ti in action

Ulriken by night

After a good nights sleep it was straight to work, take a shower, and start a new day in the city.
It won`t be the last time!

Not a lot of traffic up in the mountains at 7AM on a wednesday morning :)
The city of Bergen, ready for a new day