Today I tried a tour on the mountain Stappen on the island Kvaløya, where I did most of my hiking tours the last months. In my book “På tur i Tromsø” it is marked as quite easy and that it would take 1½ hours up. Well, perhaps in summer …
Although sun does not rise anymore it’s already quite bright at 9 o’clock. I stop my car ride of 45 minutes to take this photo at 9:20 on the mountain passage.
At 9:50 I start my tour. No snow shoes, but spikes in case of icy patches. And a warm down jacket. And a tripod for making photos in twilight. Backpack is heavy.
First I walk along the road and then uphill through the snow. I use to manage to hike up mountains although it can take some efforts. I love to trudge through snow. The combination however is extremely exhausting since the snow today is often knee deep and especially the first part has some steep bits.
I have to rest many times and my heart is beating like a hummingbird’s. There are ski tracks but I’m wondering how to ski here where the forest is so dense. Well, while most Norwegians are excellent skiers, I’m not.
I arrive at the bog Vasstrandmyra which is described as being wet in the tour book. Now it is frozen and snowed over. It still goes up though more gently and I look for a route with as less snow as possible. Today’s destination has come into view, the mountain Stappen (570 m). It looks like having been painted by a toddler. A line up, a peak, a line down. I want to go up there but have the impression that I’ll probably not make it.
A second steeper passage through another wood lies ahead of me. I’m panting. Snow is mostly knee deep until I make a step that sends both legs completely into the white. The snow is hardly deeper but I found a mud hole well hidden under the snow. Thanks to the rubber boots I wear my feet stay dry.
With some more breaks I manage to hike up to a second plateau and start ascending the mountain.
On the photo it looks quite flat, but in reality it is steeper. That is not a problem. The problem is that there is no visible way and it is impossible to see, where there are holes between all the snowed over rocks. Quite cautious I hike up a bit but after 60 metres I realise that this kind of testing each step takes too much time.
I rest sitting in the snow with hood on, because it has become quite windy which makes the frost temperatures feel much colder. I even witness a larger snow devil – a mini-tornado sucking up snow – just some ten metres from me and can feel the snow dust in my face.
Although I do not have a 360° panoramic view I cannot complain. The mountainous landscape in the warm colours of polar night’s noon is just beautiful!
I do not rest long, then I start my descend. As soon as I reach the plateau hiking becomes easy. Trudging through snow downhills is much faster and even on the not-so-steep bog my step length is 50% larger than on the way up. A snow grouse flees, it does not want to be photographed. It’s windy and snowy and wintry and an exhausting but an awesome tour.
Round one o’clock I arrive at the car glad about the car’s heating and a warm sweater.
On my way back I stop at the supermarket and delicacy shop Eidehandel where I eat some warm lunch. At 14:30 I’m almost home but I have to stop for another photo because now it has become dark. Not pitch black, but dark enough to see the stars.