We spent 5 days in Norway hiking through Jotunheimen National Park. Jotunheimen means "Home
of the Giants" as it is the home to Norway's tallest peaks. Most of the park is above treeline
(which, at this latitude, is about 3,000 ft) which provided a fairly barren landscape for us to hike
through. We had two clear days of hiking and three cloudy/rainy days as we hiked from staffed hut to
staffed hut. We had a wonderful time and found the people we met along the way terrific! We hiked
over an oft-traveled ridge (Besseggen ridge) - one of the most popular hikes in Norway, hiked through
green (and sometimes swampy) valleys, slept on top of a mountain, and hiked down across a glacier (in a
driving rain, no less).
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other photos from the trip in Oslo, Bergen, and Stuttgart (Germany) Gjendesheim DNT Hut This was our launch point for our hike through Jotunheimen National Park. This hut can sleep 170 people. Gjendesheim's dining room Only about 30 people were staying there while we were - but weekends can get pretty busy DNT china! Overlooking the docks at Gjendesheim on Lake Gjende Boats ferry gear and people to Memurubu and Gjendebu Small row boat on the shore of Lake Gjende Some cabins across the lake from Gjendesheim Lake Gjende was, at most about 0.5 miles wide, but about 12 miles long and 500 feet deep Fishing in Gjende Lake Gjende, from Gjendesheim Our starting ascent of the Besseggen ridge Rather than following the lake shore, we hiked up and over a narrow ridge, gaining about 4000 feet. Lake Gjende A little scrambling Looking eastward from the small mountain of Veslfjelle Trail signage and cairns made route finding a snap Hiking across the barren mountaintop Looking at the far end of Lake Gjende (at the Gjendebu hut) Other hikers on Besseggen ridge Lake Bessevatnet This lake is perched about 1500 feet above Lake Gjende. Unlike Gjende, this lake is not glacier fed (hence the deep blue) Looking down Besseggen ridge at Bessevatnet and Gjende Here you can really see the color differences of the two lakes Brian begins the descent down the narrow Besseggen ridge Some difficult scrambling while descending with a heavy pack ...sometimes sitting and sliding was the easiest way to descend Other hikers scrambling up the ridge we just descended A closer look at the cliff holding back the water of Bessevatnet Looking back across Bessevatnet at Besseggen ridge A boat heads for Memurubu Another lake (with an impressive waterfall) along the ridge Reindeer Reindeer Nearby peak Surtningssue (7,600 ft) Glancing back towards Gjendesheim and the Besseggen Ridge (in shadow on left) Waterfall high above Gjende Arriving at the boat docks at Memurubu with absolutely no time to spare! The luggage drop off from the boat! Gjende Arriving at Gjendebu Gjendebu Hut Gjendebu Hut Photos around Gjendebu Photos around Gjendebu Looking back across Lake Gjende towards Gjendesheim and Besseggen Besseggen ridge Goat Our room at Gjendebu Lisa, performing her standard hut bunk bed stretch A search and rescue helicopter in the morning searching for a missing German hiker Looking up the Storådalen towards Leirvassbu, our destination for the night The entire valley was lined with waterfalls like this, dropping 1000 feet or more into the river below Lisa makes a cow friend ...incidentally, when you try to pet a cow, you have to check a box on your US Customs Form. Lisa makes even more friends! A cairn, random old hiking boots, and Mount Semeltinden in the distance All the cairns were painted with large red T"s for easy navigation Crossing over a river Looking back down the valley through which we hiked Hiking along one of the three lakes of the day Looking back on the lake and our trail Brian gets on his rain gear Rain and wind across the lengthy Langevatnet...which translates to "Long Lake" Yet ANOTHER stream crossing We crossed a stream about every 100 yards on this day of hiking Langevatnet Lisa ...looking suspiciously like the unabomber A cabin out on a small peninsula in the lake Lake #3 of the day Glacier Looking down at our final destination for the day: Leirvassbu Leirvassbu, which can sleep up to 190 people A friendly (?) troll greets us at Leirvassbu Departing for Skogadalsbøen A small cabin just next to Leirvassbu Looking back towards Leirvassbu, Kyrkja mountain on the right A lake along our trail to Skogadalsbøen Foggy mountain reflections A glacial stream Crossing an iffy looking (but quite solid) bridge Thin ice! A view of our typical trail and stream crossings (of which we had a few dozen) A dam - in the middle of nowhere really Glacial blue Lisa eats a sandwich as it falls apart Looking down the valley, towards our destination of the day The trail is a bit muddy The trail was either wet, muddy, or marshy. Maybe once or twice it was just a dry trail Lisa demonstrates her balance, and the standard trail quality Yay! More soggy trail! Mushroom's Eye View Lichen Lichen Lichen Lichen Skogadalsbøen, once the fog has settled in A small cabin at Skogadalsbøen One of the sitting rooms at Skogadalsbøen Skogadalsbøen in sun Lisa tries to make more friends with the farm animals...but they were too scared Looking up the trail to our destination of the day, Fannaråkhytta Looking back down and across the valley to Skogadalsbøen One of the many glacial flanks of the Hurrungane mountain The DNT lunchbags which translates to "Food With A View" A small alpine tarn Our first view of the hut Fannaråkhytta perched atop Fannaråki mountain (6693 ft) FannarÃ¥khytta is the highest lodging in Norway Fannaråkhytta Crossing a small snowfield that's developing a crevasse Crossing another snow field Looking down towards the opening tip of Sognefjord Looking east towards Leirvassbu Arriving at Fannaråkhytta. This hut was perched on the summit of the FannarÃ¥ki mountain. The dorms were in the building on the right, dining was in the far building with the flagpole Looking back down the ridgeline of the peak Lisa looks out on the lakes 2500 feet below. Our final hut, Sognefjellshytta, can be seen on the right Looking down from the dorms/summit to the outhouses (far left) and main dining building (flagpole). The other buildings were storage only The dining room Bed 29 doesn't leave a lot of headroom... Fog breaks briefly in the morning A damp start to the morning hike down the mountain Looking up at the dorms from the main lodge... ...just a little fog It's a little damp out. Gearing up for the glacier crossing We crossed FannarÃ¥kbreen glacier with the aid of a local guide Our new Norwegian friends Frederick and Thomas (and his dog). The opening of a crevasse Our guide Tobias We look happy here...we really weren't. It"s only because we"d all slipped and fallen at least 4 times on the super slippery ice and had the crap scared out of us on a steep pitch of ice. Dead lemming A nice clear day for a glacier walk Nothing like crossing a sheet of ice in an 80 mph wind with a driving rain! I didn't personally expect this, but the glacier was just solid ice; I was expecting more of a snowfield type feel - but it was much closer to walking across a frozen lake...that had a steep incline...and was ripply. And super wet. and slick. Stopping to look at a water hole A 300 foot deep water hole The fog lifts a little to grant a small view of our surroundings An interesting pattern in the ice Nearing the central, rocky portion of the glacier The glacial river carving out the ice Thomas and Frederick (and dog) Brian's just a tad damp here... Reaching the edge of the ice Visit Sunny Norway! Lisa"s pack cover blew off in the high wind...everything was now soaked The torrent of water flowing from below the glacier - much higher than normal Ice sheets below the glacier Crossing the flooded stream Well - if we weren"t drenched before, now we were! Lisa pushes through the raging current A small glimpse at the glacier Finally, 2 hours after leaving the glacier, we arrive at Sognefjellshytta The contents of Lisa's entire pack...to begin the drying process!