Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Rubicon Crossed on the Dovrefjell

July 20, 2009

I had ever so succulent trout for breakfast at Sygard’s Grytting some days back. I seem to be vulnerable lingering over “Frokost” cuisine as delicious as that. At the Gryttings, I was overtaken while at table by Andreas, a Danish pilgrim. This morning my breakfast at Budsjord was interrupted by Sverre, a Young Norwegian and only my second pilgrim met to date. Faced with the grim prospect of falling rain and down on the ground cloud visible out the dining room window, over hot coffee and light pastries Sverre and I elected to go to work. Misery loves company. Wet within minutes of starting out, a couple of up mountain kilometers found us fully exposed to the elements above tree line on the Dovrefjell. Together with the adjacent “Rondane”, it’s high mountain national park land—on a sunny day said to be the most beautiful of landscapes in central Norway. Its regular inhabitants include Musk Ox and reindeer. For us it was treadway rivulets of foot soaking frigid water and, in high mountain saddles, to-the-bone chilling wind. “Be here now!”—this axiom said to be good survival advice. Two heads are better than one. Carefully surveying its raging torrents, we had no sooner boots-on-waded one upland stream (I tossing trekking poles back to Sverre for balance needed to get him across) than we discovered the real challenge—the full stem of the Hundyrju River. No turning back we braved knees topping snow melt water struggling onward. Twelve kilometers into the Opplands by high noon, I elect to make my first wet high mountain day a short one stopping at Fokstugu, said to be the highest mountain farm in Norway. Sverre, out for only a week, dries clothes and moves on finding road to walk for safety. Hypothermia is the issue now. Fokstugu, is both a working farm and a two story 15 bed “herberge” refuge for pilgrims. I’ve counted four wood stoves in all, including one in my personal sleeping quarters. I’ve got one fired up and crackling right now.

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