Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hagesæter Hospitality

July 21, 2009**

Yesterday, leaving Budsjord to tackle my first day in the (for an American pilgrim) "great unknown"--the Dovrefjell, it rained 50 mm. I don't know what the record might be but the kind caretaker woman at the Fokstugu Fjellstugu said that such a total was a substantial fraction of all the rainfall they normally get in an entire year. And she keeps a rain gauge. As you know, I take the risk of carrying light weight gear. Rainfall in these amounts soaks me right through to the skin and staying warm is a challenge. Sverre, a Norwegian I walked with yesterday, wisely counselled me that "one must respect the mountains". He elected to walk the E6 on from Fokstugu as he had no food. I told him I wanted to walk every kilometer of mountain track and so would foreswear the road. The Hundyru River had been raging as we waded its ford with boots on coming down to the Fjellstue. Later I learned that a Norwegian family had walked considerably higher up stream to cross the river on a "snowbridge" they found. I'm impressed by the friendly hospitality that greets me everywhere. On my way to Hjerkinn today, I stopped in the kro at Hagesæter – again pretty wet. I do fine staying warm until I stop. On arrival, I soon started in shivering. This tends to earn me a lot of sympathy. The woman soon offered me a hot shower and helped me put my wet clothing in her clothes dryer. She did it all as if it were routine. Caring for mountain people clearly still is an honored tradition on the Dovrefjell. Warming up, I enjoyed coffee and a karbonade sandwich with a fried egg as she recommended. It stopped raining as I ate leaving me an easy hours walk on to Hjerkinn. Walking planks in marshes today were sometimes 2–4 cm under water and the treadway was running rivulets overtopping footgear. Water was over the top of some footbridges. The weather forecast is improving tomorrow (only 5.4 mm of rain in the later afternoon...) and I intend to get back to my more "normal" kilometers – 34 to Rypusan herberge. Once I leave Kongsvold, I've committed to that. St. Olav, pray for your pilgrim... P.S. Yes Hjerkinn costs a king's ransom but kings have probably stayed here not to mention Viking peoples hunting reindeer. The evening buffet has been worth the price...

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