Back in 2016 August Summer, we attempted to hike to the Besseggen Ridge. We made it to the first campsite but did not continue. There were so many factors which contributed to the overall mood for the trip.
Our delay in Oslo
The first was probably because of our delay in setting off for the hike. We were 4 days behind schedule as we spent the time trying to intercept M’s driver’s licence which was couriered from Singapore to Norway. We discovered DHL doesn’t receive packages at their logistics centre for pickup. We initially had it delivered to Lillehammer where we were intending to be and it kept getting rejected there. So we called them a few times to arrange for a pick up eventually at the Oslo Airport DHL logistics centre. We spent the two days after driving from Denmark to Norway, just enjoying Oslo and waiting for the delivery.
So although we never flew from Oslo Airport, we spent a good six-hour on the ground at the airport waiting for the package to return from wherever it was. On hindsight, of course, we should have just arranged for it to be delivered to the place we were at in Oslo, but we didn’t know we were going to be there for that long.
Taking the wrong turn on the trail
The whole purpose of the trip to Norway was to hike the Besseggen Ridge in Jotunheimen Norway and only realized that we’d probably taken the wrong route when we were too far into it. We did get to the next pitstop, which is Memurubu and could have hiked the Besseggen back the other way, which would have been better for vertigo.
Bad weather condition
We were informed by some people at the shop earlier while getting the parking ticket, that weather has not been good and that they’ve been getting wet and cold weather in the middle of summer. Right on cue, it started raining just when we were getting ready for our hike. We deliberated for a long time while sitting in the car thinking about whether we should just check-in to a hotel that day. We ended up walking when it subsided to a drizzle.
Parking and getting to the trailhead
Get your long-term parking slip at the shop near the jetty. Thereafter, you’ll need to drive to the Gjendesheim carpark and call for the pickup shuttle service which would take you from the carpark back to where the jetty is (where you would have bought the long-term parking). You start your hike from there.
We were walking on the trail which was relatively flat with some ups and downs but nothing as what we were expecting. As we read that we should have quite an elevation gain on this hike. We realized that we have been walking on the wrong path after we’ve gone too far in. For the beautiful Besseggen Ridge trail, we should have taken the path heading up but we’d taken the route straight from the shop, near the jetty.
However, I thought the flatter and longer route we’d taken still has some excitement and was quite precarious in some areas, especially with the wet weather. There’s an exposed area which will require you to cross a large rock surface which is sloping downwards towards the water and there’s a metal chain which separates you from the drop. I thought it would have been better to also have the chain on the other side of the mountain instead of towards the water or both sides. As you’ll end up leaning on the side of the drop instead of holding on to the side of the mountain which seems safer.
The campsite at Memurubu
You’ll need to register your campsite at the DNT (Norwegian Trekking Association) hut and that’s also where you’ll get some amenities for shower, food and even games as we’ve learnt the next day. You’ll need to pay to use the shower which is shared and I was lucky that everyone’s done with their showers by the time I got there. I didn’t really fancy having to shower naked with everyone else.
We opted to sleep outside in a tent instead of paying to sleep with others in the same room. Everything was wet outside given the wet weather they’ve been getting. Nevertheless, it was still nice having dinner outside, after a warm shower. Everything seems better with a warm shower and dry clothes.
We stayed at the campsite for two nights, deliberating on whether we should continue our hike or should we turn back as it was raining and there was only a brief period of sunshine. We spent the day at the lodge playing some card and board games or just reading. It was probably the first time in our relationship playing board games with each other. And of course, trying the very popular waffles. Waffles seem to be very popular at the DNT huts we’ve been to.
We decided to head back to the car after staying two nights as we decided that we didn’t want to climb a ridge in bad weather considering how we’ve slipped a few times on the trail which wasn’t too difficult. The weather remained wet and bad on the day we’ve decided to return so we got ourselves tickets to return on a ferry from the jetty instead. It was a subdued ride back to the car as we left with our tails between our legs.
I guess it was a good thing that we returned on that day as the weather took a turn for the worse. The roads were slippery and it started to look like fall instead of summer. We had the heaters on in the car while driving through the tiny mountain roads. We drove around the mountains towards Turtago and enjoyed a road tour of the mountains where we would have been hiking.
We stopped in Luster and stayed at Skjolden Hotel, which was a cozy looking place overlooking the mountains and a lake. The rooms were clean and food was simple. The buffet style breakfast included lots of cheese, crackers, rye crackers, bread, hard boiled eggs and cold cuts, which are rather common for Norweigian breakfasts, so we’ve discovered.
Hence, we began our cabin holiday and went on a couple of day hikes, one of which was to Gaustatoppen. We booked a cabin in the mountains near Hardangervidda, which is another popular National Park in Norway. We stayed around Telemark for the next three days before our drive back to Copenhagen.
We did some sightseeing and discovered the the town Rjukan, which was home to where heavy water was produced in WWII and also home of where one of the most daring sabotage operations of WWII was.