July 24, Haukeliseter – Hellevassbu
Our first hiking day was a difficult one. We had never walked in Norway before and when we saw the first bit of snow, we enthousiastically lay down in it to make pictures. We had no idea that we would see snow continuously from now on and that this was only a very tiny snowfield compared to what was to come.
We also had no idea the walking route would pass right through snowfields, and not always horizontally. We had no idea it would pass through small rivers, and that a route does not always imply a path: many times it would pass through fields of rocks where we, inexperienced as we were, needed to concentrate heavily on placing our feet right.
Also, the beginning was quite a steep climb and this was our first day of walking. But what a beautiful hike it was. Along the way we met people who told us that, after five days of hiking, they thought this part of the area was a bit boring compared to the rest. But for us it was spectacular.
We took our time enjoying the landscape and taking pictures, but when we were halfway we realized we had been walking for six hours and that, if we went on like this, we would arrive in Hellevassbu very late. Time to speed up. Then we heard thunder in the distance, and it started to rain. Time to speed up some more. When the thunderstorm would be above our heads, we would have to kneel down until it was over, and lose time doing so.
Luckily, it didn’t come any closer. And luckily, the second part of the route was easier than the first half. So we reached Hellevassbu around 7 p.m., after 10 hours of walking. Here, our inexperience showed itself once more: the warden pointed out that we could wash ourselves on the left, and that there was drinking water on the right. So we, remembering that in Haukeliseter we needed 10Kr coins for the showers, walked to the left, carrying our toilet bags, towels and a 10Kr coin and asked a girl where the showers were. Ahem. ‘On the left’ meant ’the left side of the lake’.
Hellevassbu was a very nice hut. We cooked our first ‘pasta with pizzafyll and peas & carrots’ there, got to know the other guests a bit, watched a big herd of reindeer with them, and heard from the very friendly warden that people tend to arrive from Haukeliseter pretty exhausted. This last thing we saw with our own eyes later that evening. On the other hand there were the experienced hikers, who told us they usually took detours to climb extra tops. We would see their incredible speed with our own eyes as well, the next day.
Everyone agreed our next day, to Litlos, would be easier and equally beautiful.