lofoten - 09-29-19

The Lofoten archipelago, a Norwegian chain of islands in the arctic circle and the destination of my most ambitious backpacking trip to date. Myself along with a group of 7 friends and colleges got together and for a week to become trekking team exploring the land of breath taking views, fjords, and midnight sun.

where is lofoten?

where is lofoten?

trip planning near isar river

trip planning near isar river

bergen airport

bergen airport

last meal in civilation, bodø

last meal in civilation, bodø

Our journey north took us from Munich to Bergen via plane, then a night in a hostel, then a morning flight to Bodø, and finally a ferry from Bodø to Moskenes. Once in Moskenes the adventure began with a night of wild camping on a bluff overlooking the ocean.

competitive cards on the ferry to moskenes

competitive cards on the ferry to moskenes

friends enjoying the view from the ferry deck

friends enjoying the view from the ferry deck

welcome to lofoten, goal: find water and place to pitch tent

welcome to lofoten, goal: find water and place to pitch tent

setting up tent / wind sail

setting up tent / wind sail

neoair xlite for life

neoair xlite for life

so this is what dinner is going to taste like for the next week, yum

so this is what dinner is going to taste like for the next week, yum

The 5 day backpacking portion of the trip started with a bus from Moskenes north to the top of the island near Fredvangskrysset. From there we hiked across a series of road bridges to Sandbotnen beach where we had a confrontational encounter with a local woman. She seemed convinced we, at 9am, were trying to set up camp on her lawn. While the truth was we were simply passing by on the public trail to see the beach. Luckily this was the only poor experience with locals we had. It was understandable misunderstanding with the increased foot traffic the area is receiving I’m sure not all travelers are as leave no trace as we are.

skjønnhet == beauty

skjønnhet == beauty

sandbotnen beach

sandbotnen beach

starting hike up to fuglhuken

starting hike up to fuglhuken

half way up fuglhuken

half way up fuglhuken

view from kavalvika beach to fuglhuken

view from kavalvika beach to fuglhuken

dipping toe into kavalvika, cold

dipping toe into kavalvika, cold

crazy people swimming

crazy people swimming

professional fisherman

professional fisherman

"night" two crew

"night" two crew

After hiking Fuglhuken we spent the evening around a campfire with a fellow traveler. He was making a extended hike of Norway from Oslo north. The bright evening sun made the fire not quite so romantic but we still enjoyed in sharing some food and stories.

filtering water teamwork

filtering water teamwork

caught a travis

caught a travis

Sleeping in such bright conditions took quite some getting use to. I remember rolling over in the middle of the night looking for something and peaking from behind the hat covering my eyes. Oh the burn, and falling asleep after that not easy.

good foot care is key enjoybale backpacking

good foot care is key enjoybale backpacking

via ferrata with heavy packs, no problem

via ferrata with heavy packs, no problem

no one fell in!

no one fell in!

The next morning we set off on what would be the longest hike of the trip, some 16km from Kavalvika beach to Horseidvika beach. We crossed over slippery rocks, up over a saddle, down along an remote dirt road, through a wet swampy area, back up a different saddle then down to the Horseidvika.

road between vestervika and selfjordhytta

road between vestervika and selfjordhytta

damp fields on the way to horseidvika

damp fields on the way to horseidvika

running around looking for good camp at horseidvika beach

running around looking for good camp at horseidvika beach

bridge to camp

bridge to camp

navigation is very important

navigation is very important

We were lucky enough to have a fisherman in the group who caught us dinner a few times. We cleaned the fish then made a delicious fish soup with a recipe that involved spices and sea water. Something about single digit temperatures made hot soup taste amazing.

fish dinner

fish dinner

fishing at kirkefjord

fishing at kirkefjord

proud fisherman

proud fisherman

Leaving Horseidvika beach we shared a afternoon with kind local in Kirkefjord. He gave us fresh cabbage and potatoes, improving the soup recipe even more. Throughout the day we had on and off rain that hindered sprits but we pushed on. After spending an hour huddled together in a small shack near the main dock we took the ferry headed back to Moskenes. The trick was to successfully negotiated drop off at a remote power station on the way, which we did. There we fished a bit more then headed up to our highest camp of the trip.

kirkefjord

kirkefjord

new friends in kirkefjord

new friends in kirkefjord

alpine camp near lake kringeldalsvatn

alpine camp near lake kringeldalsvatn

It was at this camp where I learned the true importance of alcohol while backpacking. After eating and talking for a bit the temperatures dropped and the wind picked up. When it came time to handle the last duties before tucking in for the night my hands were slow moving and my speech and thinking had slowed. It was not until after a shot of particularly strong whisky that I was able to accomplish the last of my chores and get to bed.

fish soup taste better in the cold alpine environment

fish soup taste better in the cold alpine environment

so excited

so excited

With half the group hiking Hermannsdalstinden I spent the morning reading my book in camp and enjoying the view. The calm alpine ambiance was only interrupted when a large chunk of ice broke off into the lake letting out a rumble.

friends hiking hermannsdalstinden

friends hiking hermannsdalstinden

over looking lake krokvatnet

over looking lake krokvatnet

top of hermannsdalstinden

top of hermannsdalstinden

I love the back country as it makes little things like a corner store an uplifting experience. An evening in Å was perfect chance to enjoy some local fish and recuperate. I received some weird looks as I emptied the glass vessel at the up scale restaurant into a water bottle for another night of wild camping but at this point I did not care.

hiking back to civilization

hiking back to civilization

first store in 5 days

first store in 5 days

dinner in Å

dinner in Å

last night in moskenes

last night in moskenes

sleeping with the sound of the ocean

sleeping with the sound of the ocean

For this last quarter of the trip we did some spontaneous trip planning and half the group and I split off for a road trip to Abisko. We took a bus north then rented a car to make the loop through Sweden then back to Bodø.

cooking breakfast while waiting for bus north

cooking breakfast while waiting for bus north

enjoying the indoors on way to abisko

enjoying the indoors on way to abisko

crossing into sweden near riksgränsen

crossing into sweden near riksgränsen

Car camping may not be quite as exciting as backpacking but with the cold wet weather I was very thankful for a warm place to enjoy the view and the often stops for warm drinks.

gorge in abisko

gorge in abisko

Rolling into Sweden the landscape changed from the towering coastal cliffs to thin forests with scattered rock out croppings. There the was a shift in buildings and vesicles as well, things felt more rugged and it suited me. Abisko National Park was beautiful we enjoyed the gorge then hiked through the rain for another night of camping.

bmw touring

bmw touring

drag-kjøpsvik ferry

drag-kjøpsvik ferry

cards below deck

cards below deck

dinner in the rain

dinner in the rain

wild camping on the way to Bodø

wild camping on the way to Bodø

car is still on one piece

car is still on one piece

tourism in Bergen

tourism in Bergen

If you would have told me a year ago, when I lived in Milwaukee, that I’d be exploring islands in the arctic circle with friends I would have had a hard time believing you. Now that it is reality I’m meditating on the good memories and letting my imagination open up on what else is possible to see.


tags: [travel]