Hardangervidda

Hardangervidda

7 -day backpacking trip from Finse to Kinsarvik

This is my first acquaintance with Norway, for Charlotte, it’s the second time. The hike we are going to do is one over the biggest mountain plateau of Europe. Around noon, we land at the airport Oslo Gardermoen. We take the train to the city centre of Oslo. At the train station, we put or backpacks in a locker. The lockers are located in the station, and they aren’t that expensive. First, we eat something and then we pick up the key at DNT Oslo og Omegn. At Intersport, located in the same street as DNT, we buy a gas filling. Opposite DNT there is also a shop, called XXL. There they sell also gas fillings. We have a lot of time before or train to Finse departs so we walk a little bit in Oslo. After a while, we grab a bite and we pick up our backpacks. The train is right on time and 4 hours later we arrive in Finse.

UPDATE: The Intersport shop close to the DNT Oslo og Omegn is gone! You can buy gas in the XXL or there is another Intersport about 10 minutes walk from the DNT Oslo og Omegn.

Day 1: Finse – near Nutavatnet
Walking hours: 5h30
Photo moments: 1h30
Distance: 15km
Altitude: 550m ascent, 400m descent

Around 4 am the train arrives in Finse. The first 4 km we follow the path near the lake Finsevatnet. From this point, we have a great view over the glacier Hardangerjøkulen. When we are at the river Ustekveikja we cross it with a summer bridge. From now, we ascent 300m we pass some snowfields.

A little bit later, the pad goes up and down until we are at the lake Ramnabergvatnet. This lake is located next to the mountain Ramnabergnuten. We follow the lake for a while. With a summer bridge, we cross an outflow of the lake Nutavatnet. Moments later we find a place to set up our tent next to a lake with no name on the west side of Nutavatnet.

Day 2: Near Nutavatnet – near Moldnuten
Walking hours: 6h30
Photo moments: 1h30
Distance: 10km
Altitude: 500m ascent, 600m descent

When we get up in the morning, we are surrounded by fog. There’s a lot of wind and rain. Because of the wind, we didn’t sleep very well. But I’m happy that the tent survived it. We follow the path near the lake for a while. It goes over some steep snowfields. If we slip, we fall in the glacial lake, so we need to be careful. It’s now about 3 km a flat terrain. Then we descend about 300m to the hut Rembelsdalseter. Because of the rain, it’s very slippery on the rocks when we descent. The wind makes it even more difficult. Suddenly Charlotte’s her backpack rain cover flies away but we can catch it before it’s gone. After a while, we see the lake Rembesdalsvatnet. This means the hut is nearby.

At the hut, we buy us a snack and something to eat for dinner. The smell in the hut is very nice. The 2 persons responsible for the hut are cooking something. The warmth of the stove is also very pleasant after a couple of hours walking in the rain and cold wind. After we eat something we continue our trip. The path goes up and down towards the glacial river, coming from the glacier tongue Rembesdalskåka. We need to wade through this river, the water is ice cold!

From now, it’s a climb of approximately 250m over very slippery rocks. It takes a couple of hours until we are at the top. If the weather was better, it wouldn’t take that much time. Because of the rain, we slip regularly. Very carefully, we climb our way to the top. Charlotte falls a couple of times and hurts her knee. When we are at the top, we are exhausted. We find a place to set up our tent with a view over the glacial tongue Rembesdalskåka.

Day 3: Near Moldnuten – near Svinatjørn
Walking hours: 3h
Photo moments: 1h30
Distance: 6.5km
Altitude: 375m ascent, 550m descent

When we get up, Charlotte her knee still hurts. So we take our time and will see where we get. We descent for about 2km towards the magnificent viewpoint over the fjord Simadalen. Here we take the time for making some pictures.

We descend further to the lake Skytjedalsvatnet. We get a nice view over the fjord and the valley Skytjedalen. When we are at the lake, we need to go through a peat bog. Every step we take, hundreds of mosquitoes fly up. We walk as fast as we can. Moments later the path begins ascending. We hope that the mosquitoes are gone here, but they are still there. They are gone when we are about 200m higher. We are now on a plateau. Here is a lot of wind. That’s why the mosquitoes are gone. The knee of Charlotte hurts a lot again, probably of all the peat hopping. We search for a nice place to set up the tent. We didn’t do a lot of kilometres today but we hope that if we take it slow today, the other days her knee will be better.

Day 4: near Svinatjørn – near Hallingehaugane
Walking hours: 5h
Photo moments: 30min
Distance: 16km
Altitude: 700m ascent, 700m descent

Today Charlotte her knee is a lot better. We slept well. When we are ready to start, it’s raining again. First, we need to climb about 150m. Then it’s a descent until the waterfall Vøringsfossen. The mosquitoes are flying annoying around us. We are both tired of the stupid mosquitoes, so we try to descent as fast as we can. Yesterday they stabbed my hand a couple of times and now it’s swollen a lot. Gloves don’t protect against those terrible insects. The path goes to the waterfall through a peat, so we need to walk very fast to be ahead of the mosquitoes.

When we arrive at the waterfall, it’s too busy for us. We almost can’t see the waterfall because of the dozens of people. There’s a café near the waterfall. We want to grab a bite there, but we are not allowed in our dirty hiking clothes. Because of that, we decide to make a detour to Garden. It’s a small hamlet, but there’s a small supermarket. We buy us some fresh bread and a jar of chocolate. For dinner, we eat the whole bread and the jar of chocolate. It certainly tastes good! We don’t want to stay at the very busy campsite, so we walk a little bit further in the direction of Hallingehaugane.

We follow the road for a while until we are back on the trail. We climb about 350m then we start to look for a place to set up the tent. It’s not an easy task because of all the little shrubs. Finally, we find a place where we can set up our tent. There are again a lot of mosquitoes here. Therefore we will cook today in the tent. 

Day 5: near Hallingehaugane – Vivelid Fjellstation
Walking hours: 3h
Photo moments: 30min
Distance: 10km
Altitude: 250m ascent, 425m descent

Tonight we didn’t sleep very well. A bush under the tent made us both rolling to the side of the tent all the night long. Charlotte her knee is a little bit swollen today so I suggest that we walk to the fjellstation Vivelid today. There we can sleep in a cabin and we can dry our stuff. It’s raining a little bit and the mosquitoes are present in large numbers. First, we need to climb a little bit and then it’s a descent towards Berastølen. After that, we climb again a bit and then there follows a descent through a forest along the river Veig until we are in Vivelid. 

We are just in time for the dinner. The menu is lamb with potatoes and red cabbage. After that, there is a dessert. It’s a kind of pudding with rice and a raspberry sauce. It’s very tasty! After the dinner, we both take a shower and then we go to bed. A real one tonight. I have not made a lot of pictures today because of the mosquitoes and the very dense forest where we walk through.

Day 6: Vivelid Fjellstation – Botnane

Walking hours: 6h30
Photo moments: 3h
Distance: 20km
Altitude: 675m ascent, 550m descent

We both slept very well. Our stuff is dry again. We enjoy our breakfast and then we start our walk to Stavali. Today the weather is beautiful. Today the first part of the walk is a climb of about 400m until the top of the mountain Brottefonn. We follow the river Vivo for about 2 km. Then we cross the river with a bridge and after that, the path goes a bit steeper in the direction of Vivheller via Brandanuten. In Viveheller are a couple of little houses but it looks abandoned. Here we see for the first time the mountain Hårteigen.

Moments later we arrive at the lake Reinavatnet. Here we cross the outflow of the lake with a bridge. At the lake, we take a break to eat our lunch. We have taken some sandwiches in Vivelid. After the break, it’s only a 150m climb and then we are descending for the rest of the day. After about 4 km we reach the top Brottefonn at the lake Langavatnet. It’s the highest point of our walk today. There are a lot of sheep here. They don’t like people very much.

From now we descent about 4 km to the beautiful lake Lonavatnet. Here we take again a short break to enjoy the view. It’s the most wonderful environment of the past days. Only the view over the fjord Simadalen is maybe more magnificent. Now we descend to the hut Stavali. We decide to walk a little bit further because there are too many people at the hut. We prefer to set up the tent at a quiet place. The path goes in the direction of the lake Grøndalsvatnet. Just before the lake, it goes to the right. Moments later we find a nice spot to set up the tent. In the first instance it seems to be a nice spot, but after a couple of minutes, we are surrounded by mosquitoes!

Day 7: Botnane – Kinsarvik
Walking hours: 3h30
Photo moments: 3h
Distance: 11.5km
Altitude: 175m ascent, 1200m descent

The sky is cloudy when we wake up. It looks like it’s gone to rain today but it’s still dry. Today there is a descent ahead of about 1200m. This descent is apparently dangerous when it’s wet. So we leave as fast as we can to be in front of the rain. After a half hour, it’s already starting to rain. So we need to be careful when we descent. The reason why is that the path goes over a very slippery rock surface. It’s also very steep at some moments. The first part of the path goes through the valley Vierdalen. It goes along a river and a lake.

After about 3km we see the waterfall  Nykkjesøyfossen for the first time. It’s the most beautiful waterfall we have seen the entire trip. Moments later we pass the tree line. The path goes through the forest. Here are a lot of day walkers but also some hike who starts their hike. About a kilometre further, we are at the waterfall Nyastølsfossen. This waterfall is more bombastic than the one we saw earlier but it’s definitely worth a look. It’s such a big one that he only fits just on the picture. From now it’s a descent of about 400m to Kinsarvik. There we take a ferry to Bergen. We stay in Bergen for a day then we go further to Stavanger and then back to Oslo.

Here you can find the gps track.

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