Saturday, December 12, 2009

Building Character on the Dovrefjell

July 23, 2009

Yesterday on the Dovrefjell well above tree line I passed a scrap of a pond with snow banking its northern shore and a “growler” bit of an iceberg floating in its icy waters. Permafrost underlies this haunting, yes, forbiddingly empty landscape. What seemed benign, beautiful in calm air under briefly sunny skies in the morning leaving Hjerrkinn Fjellstue was harsh and threatening under gray skies in cold wind ten hours and 34 kilometers of walking later. I felt invigorated but in need of refuge. A cluster of tiny mountain cabins visible kilometers below deep in Vinstradal Valley was the answer. One of them, looking almost like a long, ramshackle cowshed announced that it was the Pilgrim "Refugium”. It was shuttered up but unlocked. Opening the largest doorway shutters, I discover a fine wood inner door giving access to the spotless varnished pine, fully furnished Ryphusan hostel. Propane heater and stove, equipped kitchen, spring water, and eight comfortable bunk beds. Remember “Lapskaus”?[—a beef stew like dish my Danish father used to make.] Thirty more kilometers has brought me through the town of “Oppdal” today where I enjoyed some in a cafeteria/restaurant. I inadvertently fueled my Dovrefjell mountain transit on “Liverpostei”—bought in tins I mistook for “Makrell i Tomat”. Real character building stuff.

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