My little Norway Trip, the highs and woe's. Pic heavy

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kard133

Full Member
Mar 20, 2010
616
28
Bristol
The honey stove worked very well, after exhausting the small twigs I had gathered I split wood down into approximately 1-2 inch sections, anything larger wouldn't fit. from snow to boil took approximately 5 minutes between chunks, and I could feel the heat from about three feet away. I couldn't guess how hot it was, except hot enough to boil water and singe the hair off my knuckles when feeding it.

This section of the trail was less travelled than the preceding path, the snow not as compacted, even though there was a path my boots still sank about an inch with every step.
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The pole was extended to 140cm at the time, and here is a tip, don't tie your gloves to the stick by just looping them through the strap. If any one is in the area of the road to the west of Sognsvann, near the signpost midway up you might find a pair of S95 MVP lined gloves size large, yours if they are savable.

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After slogging through the snow for a while, again uphill sweating and cursing with my morale becoming lower with every new rise, I arrived at Store Aklugen.

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Sunglasses were essential in these open spaces, the camera failed to capture just how blinding it seemed. After trudging across the lake, trekking pole testing the depth all the way across as this part of the path looked days old at least, and walking knee deep in places, I arrived at a post marked Ullevålseter[FONT=arial, sans-serif] the right, Sogsnvann to the left. I turned right, walking past the house from the previous picture, I think it was some king of lodge, it looked empty at the time.

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Along this path I didn't take many pictures, I was tired, the smoky taste to the water was irritating my throat (note for future reference, next time boiling water over an open fire, use something with a lid, and filter snow melt in a bag, ala Bare Thrills Estonia trip, before boiling it) and my morale was sinking faster than a tissue paper boat. I am by nature and circumstance a loner, but the complete lack of human generated noise was beginning to unnerve me, I missed my nephew, my dog and a host of things which were annoying to me back in the UK. The problems I was trying to escape were still with me, and this trip was driving home to me that you can't escape yourself, no matter how far you run.

The snow here, a few hundred metres shy of Ullevålseter was at least 3 feet deep, soft, and beginning to melt as temperatures rose above freezing.

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This path ended right at what I took to be a ski route, the trees and signs were red, the ski tracks deep and people were zipping along merrily I remembered thinking that the locals would get upset if I tramped along it ( I may have been mistaken, but by this point I couldn't handle the thought of a confrontation, however unlikely this may have been) walking along the edge in the direction the map indicated towards Skjennungen was out of the question, when I tried it I sank upto my hip, if I hadn't had that pole it would have been really awkward climbing back up, as it was I barely managed to lever myself out and walk back the way I came.

It was nearing 15:30 local time by then, sunset was due in about three hours and I was tired and down, so I found an open space alongside the track, dropped my pack and hunted out some wood I had spotted on the way. After dragging this back I stamped down some snow, set my sleeping gear out, sank a chunk of wood into the snow to give me solid surface, and used the hatchet to split the wood down, prior to feathering it with the mora, and fired up the honey stove to replenish my water supply and cook a boil in the bag meal of Bacon and Beans. I had not felt hungry since take off the previous day, when travelling or focusing on a task my digestive system seems to just go into idle, but I made sure to eat throughout the day, snacking on dried fruit, biscuits, peperami's and chocolate. Whilst I was cooking away I caught movement in the corner of my eye and quickly pulled out my camera to capture the first native animal I had seen aside from peoples pet dogs, it is a little hard to see in the picture, right in the centre, but it was some kind of mouse.

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I settled down for another night, my thoughts turning to cutting short my trip as I despaired, I had unnecessarily burdened myself with to much weight, my shoulders were killing me, the water situation, whilst manageable was concerning to me, my path ahead seemed blocked and with the snow beginning to melt I foresaw greater difficulty in travelling ahead, the last thing I wanted to do was walk up to my knees in slush. Then at around 23:30 I awoke as something howled , it didn't sound close, wolves were unlikely to be in the area, and all I could think was "oh great, now this". My hand was on my hatchet for the rest of the night. Strangely enough I was not afraid, just aware and more cautious.

I awoke in the twilight before dawn and lay in my sleeping bag, fully clothed as the night before, this time with a thermarest prolight under me in the bag in addition to the two foam mats, and my water bottles. as the sun slowly rose I heard birdsong above me, and looking up saw a small bird atop the tree a short distance away partially hidden among the branches.

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To be continued...
 
Last edited:

bopdude

Full Member
Feb 19, 2013
2,919
164
55
Stockton on Tees
I'm loving the honesty of this write up, your sharing humour at the same time as your despair all in one paragraph /s thanks for sharing, looking forward to the next instalment.
 
Dec 5, 2011
4,461
2
United Kingdom
Its strange but my appetite completely went in Estonia. I really had to force the food in me. Im preety sure physical exertion has the opposite effect on me :D.

Melting snow has to be the most god forsaken task ive ever done. its such a struggle to keep pace with requirements. Next time i have to do it ill have a very powerful liquid fuel stove at my disposal. Keep it coming mate. For every problem you faced you seem to be finding ways round it. Hoping for triumph in the face of adversity.
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,262
269
43
Nr Chester
Its strange but my appetite completely went in Estonia. I really had to force the food in me. Im preety sure physical exertion has the opposite effect on me :D.

Melting snow has to be the most god forsaken task ive ever done. its such a struggle to keep pace with requirements. Next time i have to do it ill have a very powerful liquid fuel stove at my disposal. Keep it coming mate. For every problem you faced you seem to be finding ways round it. Hoping for triumph in the face of adversity.

Great write up please keep it going.

In regards to food and water intake I find it a good idea to munch and water match with a partner or group. One drinks we all drink, one eats they we all eat. Serves as a reminder to keep topped up, just a thought ;)
 

kard133

Full Member
Mar 20, 2010
616
28
Bristol
Reaching over to grab my boots I found that they had frozen solid over night, the uppers wouldn't bend, I had to knead the laces and the tongue in order to tie them up. I figured that they would defrost while I walked. On the point of footwear, I was wearing British army surplus MVP lined Mountain boots, very comfy, and in these cold conditions they, in concert with the Bridgedale Liner socks and Army Arctic socks, kept my feet dry and warm. When I stopped for the night, the socks and my feet were dry.

I packed up, breaking the ice off of my sleeping bag where powdered snow and moisture got inside the bivvi bag, and set off back the way I came, determined to get home before my mental state led me to make a mistake. I was allowing myself to get angry now, at myself, in order to give me the drive to keep walking despite the pain in my shoulders from the straps. This is an old Berghaus Vulcan II pack, and I should have re-padded the shoulder straps as well as carried less weight, the small discomforts can really make things more arduous than necessary.

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By the time I reached the sign post again, the temperature had risen above freezing this being around 08:00 give or take, and the very top layer of snow was softening.

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I followed the sign to Sogsnvann, not feeling up to going back the way I came, the map saying that this way I would hit a road to the west of Lille Aklugen. After a while I found it.
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I stayed to the left of the track, as two skiers passed while I was on my way. I think these deep tracks were made by some vehicle. There was a steep drop on my left, and rock outcroppings to my right, the Ice in these pictures were about a foot and a half long and five inches deep:

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I stopped at the the top of the incline for a rest, and to look across this view while I committed to going home early rather than holding on in Norway. I knew I had the equipment and food to keep going, but I lacked the will, and if your not enjoying yourself, or have a purpose for doing it, why bother?

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It was after this point that I lost my gloves, as I was focusing on putting one foot in front of the other in my rush to get back to Sogsnvann, when I arrived I Commandeered a table, shucked my pack and ate the remaining cheese and biscuits, drank what water I could stomach and poured the rest away.

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After a rest, I marched along the western side of Sognsvann until I reached the T-Bane terminal, purchased a ticket and rode back to the main terminal at Oslo S. After walking around in confusion for a few minutes, I found the kiosk for the NSB trains service, and after dealing with a very helpful lady who spoke excellent English, changed my ticket from the 31st to the 27th. Here, as my phone battery was beginning to get low, I pulled out my battery pack to recharge it, only to find that the usb cable which worked fine when I left the uk had become damaged at the tip in my pocket. My first clue was a burning smell and my phone not charging. I pulled the cable before anything ignited and hoped I had sufficient charge left for what was ahead.

I caught the train back to the airport, and then promptly found the Norwegian Air Shuttle desk, and after speaking to the representative, found the cost of changing my flight. After a phone call to transfer some money from my savings account (thankfully the airport has free wifi for two hours, this allowed me to retrieve the contact details and top up my credit,( giffgaff roaming costs were very cheap, but I needed to be sure I had enough credit) I booked the new flight, and walked off to a quiet corner to repack my bags, before grabbing a trolley and nipping into the toilets to change and wash. Tea tree oil wet wipes worked very well for getting rid of the dirt and smell of my two nights out in this beautiful country. I passed through security, paid 33Nok (around £3.70)for a bottle of water (no cold water tap, the hot water from the taps in the gents made me gag, I cannot for some reason handle drinking hot liquids) and awaited my flight. My spirits had lifted by now, I was going home, I had overcome the minor challenge of changing travel arrangements (something I had no experience of doing before), and I had learned about myself, my situation at home didn't seem so bad and I felt like I could face challenges again, when I needed to.

This trip was something I felt I needed to do, I faced my worst enemy (myself) and if not exactly winning, I have at least reached an armistice. If there is a next time, I think that I should make a point of:

1) Pack less, kit list with breakdown of used, not used and should have had equipment to follow.
2) Go with the correct mindset, despair from the outset will not get you anywhere.
3) Not do it alone, companionship makes hardship more bearable.
4) Consider all aspects of the weather conditions when assessing the route, saying that there was no snow that week on the weather reports did not make me consider the previous few months snow, and I failed to recognise that if the snow were that deep, when it begins to melt it will become problematic.
5) Listen to all advice from those who went before or live in the area, rather than what you want to hear.

Thank you for all your encouraging comments, and I hope my experience can help those who are planning similar trips.

Equipment breakdown to follow.
 
Dec 5, 2011
4,461
2
United Kingdom
Well i see a lot of positives in there mate. The adversity made you realise what you were runnning from was actually bearable. You missed your kith and kin back home. Most importantly you got through and got out safe and you identified that which you needed and didnt have. Id say next time out you will know exacltly what to pack. I took tons of stuff to estonia that wasnt used but we had the car to ditch stuff in. Hats off to you for hauling a load like that, it must have taken a lot of mental strength to keep at it.

Thans for such an honest write up. Im sure it well benefit a lot of people.
 

Bumbler

New Member
Feb 22, 2013
256
0
Norway
www.bushcraft.no
Then at around 23:30 I awoke as something howled , it didn't sound close, wolves were unlikely to be in the area, and all I could think was "oh great, now this". My hand was on my hatchet for the rest of the night. Strangely enough I was not afraid, just aware and more cautious.

I have to admire your resolve.
I would have given up after 30 minutes the first day If I had tried what you did. I.e going into the woods and off trail this time of year at the start of the snow melt, without skis or snow shoes. Many people in Norway would actually call you crazy.

And then I have to tell you that there is actually a good chance that what you heard was indeed a wolf :)

http://translate.google.com/transla...lv-kan-ha-drept-hund-i-oslomarka-3724486.html

Else, the ice on the lakes where probably more than half a meter thick. Even if you did manage to chip a hole in it, it would pribably have frozen to safe thickness in an hour or two.
But in the future, if you do worry about making it unsafe for others, what we do here is leave a twig in the holes we drill for ice fishing, to find them again, and to tell others there is a hole in the ice here.

Finalyy I'll just say, well done, and I admire what you did. Not very many would have attempted it, and held out as long as you did.
And you must have learned a lot too :)
 

Bumbler

New Member
Feb 22, 2013
256
0
Norway
www.bushcraft.no

It's perfectly okay to walk allong prepped ski tracks like these. But there are a couple of un-written rules.

If you are over taken by others (skiers), stand aside so that they can pass without losing speed.
And do not step in the ski tracks themselves. That tend to miff people off. Lese do as you please. The all mans right includes you and you have the right to walk there same as anyone else, skiers or not skiers alike.
 

Teepee

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 15, 2010
4,115
4
Northamptonshire
Really enjoyed that Kard, thanks for posting your warts and all account. Great stuff. :)

I've drunk many a gallon of melted snow but its amazing how unappetising months old stuff covered in tree debris is. The longer its there, the more creature crap is in it.
 

Andy BB

Full Member
Apr 19, 2010
3,290
0
Hampshire
It's perfectly okay to walk allong prepped ski tracks like these. But there are a couple of un-written rules.

If you are over taken by others (skiers), stand aside so that they can pass without losing speed.
And do not step in the ski tracks themselves. That tend to miff people off. Lese do as you please. The all mans right includes you and you have the right to walk there same as anyone else, skiers or not skiers alike.


When walking - or pulling a pulk along these tracks - I walked between the tracks in the middle. And seeing the speed some of the skiers came down this on the west side of Songsvann, walking in the ski-tracks would have led to a very nasty accident for all concerned - the slope gets quite extreme in some areas!

Great write-up- - thanks for the warts and all version:) I agree with the lack of desire for food and water in those temps, despite major physical exertion - weird but true! Everything just seems to take that much more effort. Huge kudos for doing that distance through deep snow with no pulk or snow-shoes/skis, and carrying a pack. About 300 metres of that - pulling most of my gear on a pulk and wearing snow-shoes - just about did me in!
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
22,107
1,644
63
Pembrokeshire
A great and honest report! Solo trips can be very tough physically and mentally and especially in snow! Congratulations for what you achieved!
 

Stringmaker

Native
Sep 6, 2010
1,891
1
UK
Wow, where to begin.

Firstly, many thanks for taking the time to create such an interesting and honest post. It sounds like you did indeed learn something about yourself, what is truly important to you and how to try and manage your feelings.

On reflection, do you think that the difficulties you wrote about in Norway put your home life into a different perspective? It seemed to me that was what you came to acknowledge.

Knowing what you do, would you go back and do it again?
 

kard133

Full Member
Mar 20, 2010
616
28
Bristol
Thanks for all the comments guys, Bumbler, thanks for letting me know about the wolves, all the information I found before the trip said that they were much further east, just goes to show how research on an area can still be wrong, and I am probably crazy, as defined by statistical infrequency :). Andy BB, that was exactly what was going through my mind when I was on the track, I have seen cyclists hit people before, so I know not to underestimate the damage a human mass at speed can do to another one.

Anyway, the Kit List:

Taken: Used or considered necessary
Vulcan Pack with extra pouch added with zippers from, Endicotts, this third pouch is where I kept my food.
Bag Cover, DIY job of light orange nylon, 200g, really made it protect straps from the baggage handlers, orange for visibility on the carousal.
Bivvi Bag, intended as a moisture barrier in the tent, became my primary shelter at night.
Bahco Laplander Saw, made mood gathering much easier.
Mora Bushcraft Orange, tough, highly visible, a joy to use.
Honey stove, I prefer a small contained fire, and this also works as a pot support, used frozen wood to support it on top of the snow.
Mess Tin, cheap non stick with locking handle, lightest cooking pot I own, could have done with one which had a lid.
Sleeping Mat, an army surplus 60cm wide one from Endicotts, a two tone Karrimat from sports direct, and a Prolite 3 short. I sleep cold, so the extra weight here was justified to me.
Compass, a Recta compass, didn't really need it as the sun was always visible but felt better for having it, and low tech will keep on working when your smartphone wont.
Map, printed out from the Norgskart website, I had intended to purchase one locally but forgot about it until I was at Sogsnvann.
Sleeping Bag, Carinthia defence four, warmest bag I own, but not the most comfortable, I am not used to the way it covers my head.
Camera, Panasonic Lumix TZ10, just works for me.
Tinder​, cotton wool and Maya Sticks were taken, my preferred fire starters, along with waxed cardboard, but there was plenty of Birch Bark and the Twine I found on day one, better to have it though as it is minimal weight.
Fire Starter, a ferrorod from Ray Mears and an Imco petrol lighter were taken, but only the ferrorod was used, again, better to have the lighter and not need it rather than otherwise.
Orange original Space Blankek, the thick woven one, this was my ground sheet, emergency shelter and emergency ground to air signal.
Poncho, Dutch army. lightweight, good coverage, intended if the weather turned inclement, an admin tarp or for privacy doing a number two. Not used this trip but would have taken it all the same.
Water Carry, One Nalgene oasis 1l Canteen in belt pouch, one 500ml Karrimor Tritan bottle in back (taken as a measuring device due to graduations on side) and a 1L Source Liquitainer (not used, but so light as not to worry about it) in my pocket.
GB Wildlife Hatchet, taken to chop through ice, split wood, used for both, also reassuring in the sleeping bag as an impromptu defensive measure (Blunt Object using the back, broken bone will stop faster than a cut or at least that's what I was taught)
Headtorch, Petzl Tikka, also took a Petzl E+Light as backup, along with several Dealextreme keyfob torches and some Glow sticks (red and green for signalling) and spare batteries.
Sharpening Kit, longstrider mini strop pre loaded with Smurf Poo, and a Spyderco Doublestuff, not used but may have been needed.
Tissues, pre packed ones, several of, for general wiping.
First Aid Kit​, plaster, bandages, antiseptic, Vaseline, Zinc Oxide Tape, scissors, thermal Mylar blanket, etc. Unused but foolish to be without one.
Nook E-Reader, Entertainment at night.
Cordage, Comms cord, Paracord, not used.
Sewing Kit, not used, but as with the FAK may have been needed.
Utensils, Ti Alpkit Spork, LMF Orange Spork, only Ti used.
Whistle
Pencil and Notepad, unused, but useful.
Gloves, thermal liner gloves made by Marigold, £2 on the bay, very lightweight, S95 MVP lined gloves, and taken but not used were the German MVP lined Mitts from Endicotts, very warm, probably not needed.
Sunglasses, for the open areas the snow was blinding, these were made by Sunwise and had swappable lenses, figured if there was a freak blizzard the contrast enhancing lenses would be handy.
Montane Extreme Smock​, superb bit of kit, just wish there was better venting on the arms, say a zip from elbow to cuff.
British Army S2005 Windproof Smock, lots of pockets, fairly windproof, nice when sitting around near the fire.
Snugpak Sleeka, mainly used as a pillow, and when getting out the bag first thing.
Dutch Half Wool top, supplied by Endicotts, warm, soft, smell resistant and cheap alternative to other wool baselayers.
Marks and Spencers Wool mix Long Johns, no longer available as far as I am aware, soft brushed inner and ribbed surface, warm and comfy, smell resistant.
Tracksuit Bottoms, two layer polyester cheapies from sports direct, worn under cargo trousers as a wind proof layer to trap air, very effective, to effective really, when stationary they were great when moving my legs were to hot.
Outer Trousers, Mountain warehouse convertible trousers, reduced in a sale, teflon coated, poor stitching on the velcro pocket closers.
Leg Twists, one of the most useful but underrated pieces of equipment I know of, with my trousers tucked under these even when I went up to my hip in the snow, none got into my boots or trousers.
Socks, Army arctic and Bridgedale coolmax Liners, feet were dry, odour free and no blisters, two pairs of each were taken, only one worn.
Boot, British army Mountain Goretex lined, with wool insert, except for the moisture in the leather freezing overnight, kept my feet dry and warm.
Watch Cap

more to follow
 

Harvestman

Bushcrafter through and through
May 11, 2007
8,656
4
52
Pontypool, Wales, Uk
That is a great write up. One of thoise trips that you learn so much from, far more than if it had gone smoothly, and it will still leave you with greta memories once your brain starts to forget the painful bits.
 

Qwerty

Settler
Mar 20, 2011
617
11
Ireland
www.instagram.com
There is a very apt saying in Norwegian - ingen skam å snu (Translates roughly to "there's no disgrace in turning back"). I think you did exactly the right thing and well done for one of the most interesting trip reports in a long while.
 

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