Sunday, 5 April 2009

The sun always shines on TV

Finally, after some false starts, too much work (for once!), man flu and a lot of time spent cocking around on my cross country skis (what are they upset about?) I finally got to take my Laser Comp out. The icing on the cake was that my free weekend came after a week of warm weather that had melted a lot of the snow. The Smarties on the icing on the cake was that Bergen was forecasted to get a weekend of very unseasonable sunny weather with daytime temperatures in the mid teens. Positively tropical.

After work on Friday I raced home and grabbed my already-packed Villain and headed straight out the door. Stomping up the hill in the late afternoon sunshine I realised that wearing Powerstretch in the mountains will soon be a distant memory, well, certainly until next winter.

I had no real plans as to where I was going to pitch my tent, just that I wanted a good view. After two hours of heading straight up I found a spot and unpacked the tent. In a matter of minutes it was up and although the pitch wasn't perfect it was already a damn sight more inviting than my usual tarp and bivvy. An evening mist boiled up from the south, spreading through the valleys like The Fog and soon the hill tops around Bergen were islands in a murky sea.

As I settled into my outdoor living room for the evening I rustled up some dinner of cheesy pasta with tuna and a can of cider that I'd pilfered from the fridge at the last minute before leaving our apartment, kept chilled, buried in a convenient patch of snow. I was going to have to go cold turkey from my daily fix of The Wire that I'd recently acquired a real taste for but thankfully I had ring side seats to an amazing re-run of 'the setting sun' which is on every night. It looks best on the biggest screen and tonight it didn't disappoint with a firery climax that left the sky blushed with magenta. In appreciation of the evenings proceedings a flying V of geese overhead honked their way northwards after their winter break.

After the light show I made myself a hot chocolate with a wee nip of bourbon and wandered around my little hill top admiring the stars that appeared one by one above my head. Down below I could just make out the city lights burning dully under their blanket of cloud. After a while, with the heat of the day rapidly being replaced with biting cold, I settled in for the night and read my book for a while. I set my alarm for 06.30 hoping to catch the morning repeat of the light show.

Too soon my alarm was buzzing away in my chest pocket and my Pat Benatar ring tone urged me to hit her with my best shot. I just hit the snooze instead. If I wasn't wide awake when I crawled out of my green nylon womb I was a second later when I emerged into a cold breeze.

The sun was coming up but it was hidden by the mountains to the east, instead it gave away it's impending arrival by painting the snowy peaks further south with pink. In 'the kitchen' I re-hydrated some Ready Brek with melted snow and strolled around my hill with a cup of coffee. The fog still hadn't budged from the valleys and I felt like the last man alive on the planet.

The sun finally broke over the mountain, past the frozen solid reservoir, and the temperature instantly went up a notch. I broke camp and stripped off some layers before taking a final look around. The day already had the feeling of another unseasonal hottie so I headed home, keen to share my experiences and the rest of the day with M. By the time I hit the ridge above Bergen the sun had chased the fog out of the city, the fog lingering over the docks in one final defiant fist shaking gesture before skulking off across the harbour.


Nielsen Brown said...

I am jealous, beautiful photos in wonderful surroundings. Hope you get many more such opportunities.

Big Kev said...

Good stuff! Things are a lot less "rushed" when you know you're staying out for the night. Time to kick back and appreciate what's around you. Marvellous.

Martin Rye said...

My mug is blue. I could never see the point in just a pot to cook, drink, and everything else in. No a good mug to drink a brew from while enjoying a fine wildcamp view like the one you had, is a must have bit of kit.

Holdfast said...

Nielsen - I can't quite believe I have this sort of camping available within walking distance of my front door. I'm a lucky bastard.

Kev - True that. Almost makes you wish for a camp chair....

Martin - Totally agree. My 3 'luxuries' on that trip were the Snowpeak, a can of Norwegian cider and a book. The Ajungilak pillow doesn't count as a luxury anymore, that little gem moved right across into the 'essentials' column.