[ blog » 2022 » 07_Tour_Norway ] d19: Heggebottvatnet to Skjolden (by Philipp Gesang, location: A Cabin beneath Wittgenstein's Retreat )

The High Mountains

Although I chose the site in the dark twilight, the wild pitch down at that lake made for a pleasant night of rest. In the late morning I woke up under a blue, cloudless sky. Fueled by sunshine I rolled down the E15 following the Otta river to Lom which wasn't as busy a road as I imagined it during yesterday's night ride.

The scenery was downright alpine in those parts. Not that surprising considering Lom is the closest larger settlement to the highest mountains in Norway. Leaving the Otta I went up the Sognefjellvegen, the highest paved mountain pass in Northern Europe. The road follows the Bovra river all the way up to 1400 meters of altitude where it arises from glacier ponds.


Riding up the Bovra canyon the plan was to minimize the weight I had to carry uphill so I intended to go shopping for the night at the supermarket in Boverdal at an altitude of around 700 m. Well tough luck, that supermarket was closed for repairs. Which put me between a rock and a hard place cause there was no way I was going to return downhill to Lom again just for shopping, but the markets on the far side of the climb were closing quite early, around 18:00 h.

I decided to continue into the mountains. The weather was still nice at that point so I hoped to make it to the other side early enough to find something to eat. Soon though that weather changed. From one minute to the other the sky made a 180 and was completely covered in clouds. The temperature dropped by 15 degrees. An intense headwind started blowing as though right out of the rocks, and of course rain came pouring down.

At the roadside I checked just how bad it was going to get: A long blue raincloud made its way across Norway from southwest to northeast. And I was heading directly into it.

Clad in full raingear I went on, as so often before. The climb up to the peak of the pass road at the Fantesteinen varies in difficulty and construction. The lower parts are drawn out and the road describes almost a straight line along the Bovra into the mountains. Curiously one passes the Sagasoylen, a monument to the Norwegian constitution that found its way up here.

The avantgarde of that rain cloud was formed by a thunderstorm. Which didn't faze me as at that point I was way beyond caring for a little lightning. The gradient gets noticably steeper close to the reservoir at around 950 m of altitude. At the same time the wind cranked it up another notch, launching lentil sized raindrops at me horizontally from the front. At around 1200 meters alpine style switchback ramps lead up the eastern wall of a crag onto the high plateau.

Lots of snow still up there, thawing and mixing with rainwater to form enormous ponds that serve as reservoirs. Quite chilly up there. Fantesteinen, the highest point with 1426 meters altitude, barely stands out from the surroundings.

Down to the Fjord

The heavy wind, which still hadn't ceased punishing me, had made me creep up the mountain at an unusually slow speed. Even in the mostly flat plateau I was constantly fighting it, occasionally coming to a complete standstill after being hit with full force where the road is particularly exposed.

Hoping for less wind I was eager to take on the descent. Which wasn't trivial to get to either as one first has to climb out of that plateau over a series of those climb-downhill combos that Norway's road builders are so fond of. By that time all hope had left me that I could still reach some kind of shop inside of opening hours.

Wittgenstein's Campsite

Near the bottom of the descent, not far from the Lustrafjord branch of Sognefjorden, I found a campsite opposite an impressive waterfall. The campsite is located within sight of Ludwig Wittgenstein's retreat that overlooks the Eidsvadnet lake, but more importantly for me, the reception here sells those delicious Joika reindeer meatballs. Since their kitchen had already closed I bought two Joika packs right away at a fierce margin and after 116 km and 1900 m of climbing I was finally set for recovery. Sometimes the world is not just everything that is the case, but more urgently, everything that you can cook and put on a plate.


gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail