In terms of scenery – this is in the “A” league…Tops and places visited
Saturday: I was back in Sogndal, and with a “certificate” that I didn’t have Covid-19. Which in turn meant that I could join the Sogndal Turlag trip across Oldeskaret, with Anne as one of the two trip leaders.
I had done a part of this route earlier, from Melkevoll to Gløvre and back. But I had never been in Oldeskaret. Anne also figured that there would be opportunity for me to include Blåfjellet (1316m) along the way. I gladly admit that I wouldn’t mind get myself a new top if possible.
The total group counted 22 persons (Anne and me included). We met in downtown Sogndal and then went by cars in multiple groups to Stardalen, where there was a little confusion about where to park.
Once the parking was sorted out, we got into the leased bus and headed for Oldedalen – some 1,5 hours to drive. We were a merry bunch, can’t you tell?
A word of advice – don’t plan anything if you have to drive through the Våtedalen valley.
Oldedalen is one of the true paradises in Norway. It’s my bar none favorite place in southern Norway. I strongly recommend renting a cabin at Melkevoll Bretun – if the weather is good. The surroundings will take your breath away!
Eventually we reached Melkevoll Bretun – where our hike would start from…
Soon, we headed out. Anne was clearly excited about showcasing the beautiful nature (many had never been here before) and the Sherpa stairway – one of several projects she has been involved in, through her role as a park ranger – for Jostedalsbreen National Park.
After a short hike along the regular path, we arrived at the stairway. Craftsmanship without a doubt!
There is one place that might be perceived as somewhat “airy“, but there is a rope for comfort.
A bit later, we reached Gløvre – an amazing passage through a split rock.
We got a good laugh when we saw a tent near the top of the standalone rock. I bet they got a “bedroom view” second to none.
After a break, we moved on to a viewpoint along the Volefossen waterfall, where we had a terrific view towards Oldedalen…
… and the Briksdalsbreen glacier…
This arm from the Jostedalsbreen glacier (largest glacier in Norway) is one of the biggest tourist attractions in western Norway. Too bad the lower part has broken off and that the glacier is retracting at a horrifying rate. I had recently listened to one of the saddest songs I know – Too much love will kill you (Queen) and the two most heart wrenching lines in the song could also be true for Briksdalsbreen;
“I’m just the shadow of the man I used to be
And it seems like there’s no way out of this for me“
The second trip leader was Anne’s park ranger colleague Sverre Sæten from Stardalen. More about that later…
If I were to hike Blåfjellet and still keep up with the group, I figured I would have to get going. Anne said they would have lunch in Oldeskaret, which would at least give me 30 minutes. Plus whatever I would gain from keeping a pace well above what the group would do. Normally, Karma is in front of me, but not so today…
I crossed the bridge across the last lake above Volefossen and started to look for a place to ascend the mountain. A grassy slope caught my attention and I headed towards it. The boulder below was a bit cumbersome and the slope near the top was quite steep. But we got up without problems.
After a short hike along the summit ridge, we reached the high point.
And … what a view!
Seeing the glacier arms made me SO desperate to get back to this wonderful terrain. I really, really miss Jostedalsbreen!
I could see the others have lunch by the lake where I crossed on a bridge. I was still en route, provided I could find a doable route down the mountain. I did so, on the first attempt and soon we were down by the Jarbu cabin.
I could see that the others were on their way up the valley and after a little while, we were reunited with the rest. I’m not really sure if anyone noticed that we were gone. At least, Anne didn’t announce it. I didn’t know anyone else except Anne (of course) and Knut Rydgren, and it was nice seeing him again!
Then we crossed the Oldeskaret pass (approx. 1100m) on snow…
… and stopped for a group picture.
The next pitch was along lake Storevatnet (1049m), partly covered by ice.
The reflection of Hanekammen was just awesome!
After a short break by the lake, we descended into Haugadalen valley.
I can’t pass a rock without scrambling or climbing it, and today was no exception.
The river crossing went just fine. No one fell into the river, and I swear – I was not disappointed 😉
When I saw the waterfall below Haugabreen glacier, it occurred to me that I had been here before. More precisely May 1 2012 – when we skied across Myklebustbreen and visited Snønipa. I later compared the tracks from back then and today and noticed that the two tracks met at Haugastøylen.
The hike was coming to an end, and everyone was very happy with the weather, the nature and the trip.
We parted with Sverre at Haugastøylen, as he had a bike there. He had actually hiked from Haugastøylen to Oldedalen in the morning and then went back with us!
From here, we followed the gravel road (not so fun!) and met Sverre again at Høyset. From here, he guided us through a short-cut in the forest, leading down to his family’s farm.
This was a most memorable hike. Thanks to the entire group for excellent spirit and to Anne and Sverre for volunteering as trip organizers and leaders.
Trip statistics: 15km (incl. Blåfjellet), 1230 vertical meters, 6h:15m
Pictures from the trip (Canon EOS RP/Iphone8):