A first mountain hike

Day six

Yesterday on Tuesday I stood up quite early to hike into the mountains. I packed my camera equipment, hot tea, nuts and raisins, compass, GPS and a down jacket. I considered first about taking my snowshoes with me but left them home, it didn’t look like much snow on the mountains.

I started the tour and headed to Langbakken, the place where we saw the sun two days before. I was greeted by the flock of sheep, some of them so tame and curious that they came to sniff on my hand. Then I climbed the fence and cut across country until I came to another fence with a gate. I went through the gate and followed the way beside of the fence until I came to a crossing where a way climbed up a forested hill.

The way didn’t continue but I just continued the direction until I came to a snow covered lake, the Dalvatnet.

I started to regret that I left my snowshoes behind, because with every step I sank 10 to 20 cm into the hard snow. It wasn’t the last time …

I knew the direction and had two options: Either crossing the open mountain brook or to just go ahead. I chose the latter. I had to cross a field with huge rocks where I really had to by careful and check every single step. After that I went up the steep slope. And it was much, much steeper than expected. I measured 40° with my compass. I had to be careful not to slip and I took many rests to calm down. Sorry, no photos.

But finally I reached the first hill took and horizontal terrain again. Just some more steps and I took a longer rest with the tea and my nuts. I was glad about my down jacket because the -8 °C felt much colder in the wind.

I could have sat there for hours and just watch the colours change. When the sun disappeared behind a mountain top the snow looked cold and bluish. When it appeared some minutes later in a gap between two mountains the snow was illuminated in yellow, orange and purple pastel shades. I’m no poet, I cannot describe it with words. After a while I continued to another lake called Finnurdvatnet, as frozen and snow covered as the first. I love the landscape above the treeline, especially in winter when it is reduced to snow, ice and rocks and some scattered small trees.

I would have loved to go further but the hard and partly crusty snow – knee deep some times – slowed me down quite much and both my condition as day light where limited. So I started my way back and went to another lake, the Nils-Persavatnet. Starting feeling exhausted I took another rest and continued to the ridge of the Hovden. I was quite glad to hit a snowshoe track that I could follow. It made it both easier to go. But first I had to look again. The sunset in the southwest, the intense purple colour of the sky in the southeast, the Hurtigruten ship on the Sortlandsundet, The huge bridge to Stokmarknes and the white snow-covered mountains everywhere. Just wonderful!

I continued the treeless ridge of the Hovden to the peak. Then I started the descend through the forest. I don’t think I would have found the whole way down without the snowshoe track that I could follow so easy. After a while I saw the same way I took when I started the tour, but from within the forest and the other side of a ditch. No wonder that I didn’t find this path in the morning! I jumped over the ditch and headed to the house of my friends. When I crossed Langbakken the same flock of sheep – as curious as in the morning hours – came again and some sheep (the same?) sniffed on my fingers again. But I longed after taking a hot shower and a nap in my bed and that was exactly what I did when I was back.


A great first tour with beautiful weather in a fantastic landscape that would have been much easier with snowshoes. I guess that even the blister on my left heel came just from the wet snow in my boots that I could have avoided with snowshoes. Lesson learned, Olaf? Lesson learned!

Some vocabularies for my German readers:

down jacket – Daunenjacke
flock of sheep
– Schafherde
cut across country – querfeldein laufen
mountain brook – Gebirgsbach
treeline – Baumgrenze
crusty – hier: verharscht
ridge – Gebirgskamm, Grat
ditch – Graben


Map with the lakes and the peak of Hovden

6 comments to “A first mountain hike”

  1. Martin 2015-01-22 10:28

    Wunderbares Wetter, tolle Tour! Mein Lieblingsfoto ist das vom Dalvatnet.
    Du bist ganz schön stur, dass Du weitergegangen bist, obwohl der Schnee so tief wurde. Ich weiß, wie anstrengend das manchmal ist ohne Schneeschuhe oder Ski – und dann gibt es wieder Wetterlagen, da läuft man bequem einfach so über den festen Schnee. Außerdem ist es nicht verkehrt, wenn man gleich am Anfang (und bei sicherem Wetter) mit Schwierigkeiten konfrontiert wird, die man zwar von früher schon kennt, aber die man trotzdem ein bisschen unterschätzt, so wie Du bei dem Steilhang und der Blockhalde. Ich hoffe, die Blase am Fuß hindert Dich nicht an weiteren Touren bei dem angekündigten guten Wetter.
    Wieviel Stunden hast Du da jetzt eigentlich genug Licht zum Wandern? Bei Schnee genügt ja sehr wenig Restlicht, um genug zu sehen (solage nicht Nebel oder Schneegestöber die Sicht nehmen).
    Ich war auch immer wieder überrascht, wie oft ich im Norden Spuren anderer Wanderer gekreuzt habe. Man hat dann zwar nicht mehr den Eindruck, jetzt ganz alleine da oben zu sein, aber Platz für ein paar andere Natur- oder Sports-Freunde ist da doch noch.
    Schon auf der Karte sieht der Hovden nach einem sehr verlockenden Ziel aus!
    Gruß Martin

  2. Vinni 2015-01-22 21:40

    Wunderschöne Bilder! Wunderschönes Licht und tolle Landschaft! Auch die Nordlichtfotos im nächten Post sind toll. Hach, einfach zum Träumen :)

    Viele Grüße

  3. way-up-north 2015-01-24 18:29

    Hallo Martin, die Tour war ein wenig Mühe auf jeden Fall wert. Der Blase am Fuss geht es gut und auch dem Knie, welches beim Abstieg noch ein bisschen beleidigt war, geht es wieder gut.

    Zur Zeit haben wir hier dreieinhalb Stunden Sonne, aber je zwei Stunden Dämmerung kann man locker noch mit dazurechnen.

    Den Hovden selbst finde ich nicht so spannend, aber insgesamt sind die Hügel und Berge schon wirklich schön hier.

  4. Pia 2015-01-25 15:41

    Wow! I admire you for proceeding without snow shoes! I would be exhausted after five steps.

    Great result for us with the beautiful pictures!!

  5. way-up-north 2015-01-27 22:44

    I was exhausted, Pia, perhaps not after five steps but it didn’t take so much longer time.

  6. way-up-north 2015-01-30 22:58

    Hallo Vinni, danke für Deinen Kommentar, der seltsamerweise im Spam-Ordner gelandet ist. Seltsam!

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