Monday, 1 September 2008

Kill or Cure: How to deal with a head cold, Norway style

Another weekend, another trip to the mountains, I could get used to this! I suppose we'd better get as much of this in as we can before the notorious west coast wet'n'windy weather remembers where it left it's house keys and returns to it's usual domicile. We were priveliged to have been offered the use of our host's Golf for the weekend so on Sunday we whizzed off to Voss once again to have a quick gad about in the nearby hills. On our way down the E16 we watched tendrils of mist receding down the fingers of the fjords as the sun climbed the sky. We'd picked an 'out & back' route for today as M was feeling a cold coming on and wasn't her usual dependable Eveready hill bunny. We stashed the car in a farm yard at the trailhead and immediately hit a forty five degree footpath leading up the side of a narrow gorge. We could hear water crashing vertically downwards at a fair old rate and sure enough 5 minutes later we saw the first of several different sized waterfalls that we would see that day. The steep path just kept on racking up the degrees of inclination and pretty soon we were reduced to scrambling up small rock faces poking up through a carpet of blueberry bushes. Footpaths in Norway! It was hot day and with M's slight fever it was hard going. We followed the DNT path alongside the crystal clear mountain stream, jumping bogs and steadily heading upwards passing several cows with their alpine cow bells slung around their necks. We cut away from the stream and up onto the forested slopes of the mountain, relishing in the odd blast of cool air that came down through the trees and cut through the thick hot atmosphere. Before long we were thankfully out above the tree line and onto the breezier open hillside. We kept on hiking upwards until we decided to halt proceedings for a lunchtime break. We hadn't seen a decent source of water for a wile so I left M to recover and start the open sandwiches while I grabbed the water bottles and headed up the trail looking for a running stream. Within 20 paces and just out of view of our initial lunch spot I found a perfect sheltered spot with a cool, clear bubbling stream and a fine view of the Western Mountains so I called M over and we took a well earned one hour lunch break. While M snoozed on the warm soft mossy rocks I took off for a wee exploratory run. I spent most of the time leaping from rock to rock following the course of the stream upwards until I came to a small tarn just below a rock escarpment and a snow field. I stood on top on a big rock and gazed at the amazing view and tried to capture the feeling on the Cybershot but to no avail. I'm still keeping my eye out for my first Golden Eagle sighting and scoured the sky but no luck there either. Too quickly it was time to descend and despite the steep tricky trail we made good time. M was fired up after her rest, lunch and an ibuprofen and we had enough time to stop and fill the sandwich bags with blueberrys picked from the rocky banks of another waterfall. They would go nicely on tomorrow's breakfast! The local farmer, who was the only person we saw since leaving the main road seven hours earlier, gave us a friendly wave as we drove slowly through his farm yard and weaved our way down the hairpin gravel road towards the E16 and home.

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