Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Familiarity breeds contemplation

Some places just keep pulling us back for more. Wether it's the memories of glorious past conquests in dramatic wilderness or your favourite local trail. Extensively planned once-in-a-lifetime experiences or off-the-cuff Sunday afternoon strolls. While it's always good to broaden your horizons and seek out new challenges it's also equally valid to revisit old haunts, see the same things with fresh eyes, witness favourite views in different conditions and share the experience with new people.

Hausdalen is one such place for me. A fairly easy four hour out-and-back route up through the middle of a steep sided valley that sits at the bottom of the larger Svinningen massif. The path starts at the end of the valley road, in the wide, humid meadows, buzzing with insects and oozing underfoot with the valley's catchments of rain.

The valley rises and narrows in sections. The vegetation thins and lowers in proportion to the increase in altitude and wind velocity as the walls close in, the skyline shrinking above. A glance over the shoulder and Svinningen is glowering back at me, resplendent with a dark, brooding crown of cloud, curious as to why I hadn't tried to assault it's flanks today. I smile, knowing that I will be back one day, with my fellow Svinningen assaulters in formation.

The views coming back down the valley cause me lose concentration on my footing. The recent rains have scoured large crevices in the soil around the rock jumbles and care needs to be taken as the grass has been carefully smoothed over the cracks by rivulets of water, hiding the ankle snapping dangers.

Lower down the valley the path is easier and my mind wanders to the future. A weekend in the near-by mountains of the western fjords with old friends is coming up, going super ultra light style by staying in mountain cabins. Familiar surroundings and companions but in different conditions, summer has well and truly flown south for the winter.

That's followed by a trip to Finland to visit Hendrik and immerse myself in a completely new landscape for a few days with friends I haven't even met yet. I'm looking forward to this trip a lot.

The familiar, the unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar. It's all good.

5 comments:

Hendrik M said...

The cats out of the bag =)

Great photos, Joe. I'm planning routes while working!

Dave Hanlon said...

Lovely piece. Keep em coming. I need something to kill the pain until I get my next Norway fix.

Nielsen Brown said...

A well written piece, Joe, I have no doubt you will have a great time in Finland with Hendrik. I am looking forward to the report of that meeting. For me its a weekend on the Jutland coast and some more gear talk.

Holdfast said...

Hendrik - yep, there is no way this little kitty is going back in the bag! It's all systems go. If you could guarantee sunny weather as well, that would be great ;-)

Dave - thank you. Hopefully I'll have some great stuff for you in a couple of weeks to get you through your Norway cold turkey. A weekend in the mountains with a glacier for the backdrop. Although staying in the mountain cabins is going to be interesting after we all watched 'Dead Snow'.

Roger - thank you. I'm looking forward to my trip to Finland too. I get the feeling this trip will be the one that switches me on to BushBuddy stoves. Have a great time on the Jutland coast.

Old Winter said...

Nice writing and thoughts.

Looking forward to hearing about the trip reports with Hendrik M