I know I was supposed to do some gear reviews now, but I have to tell about a wonderful trip I did this weekend with Leif, one of my best friends. Our original plan was to hike to Katnosa, an area I've heard is very beautiful and containing some true wilderness on the hills surrounding it. There is also a DNT (norwegian tourist association) hut there, Katnosdammen, which I've heard is nice. It's not staffed, and has no food (dry goods) available for purchase (many huts do), but it's got canoes available for visitors which is a nice bonus. But, enough talk about that hut - we didn't get so far before deciding to make camp :). Turned out to be 22 km to that hut, which was a bit too far considering how late we started out.
I met up with Leif at the central station and we got on the train to Hakadal, which is only a short 30 min ride from Oslo. When we arrived in Hakdal we got out Leif's tent and split it between us - I carried half of the poles and the outer tent, totalling about 1.5 kilos which isn't that bad. More about the tent, or literally: palace, later. From Hakadal station we walked a couple of kilometers in light rain and on tarmac laden roads before reaching the trail head at Elnes. Weather wasn't the best, but spirits were high and we knew from the forecast that it would be nicer from 6pm and onwards, and great the next day.
Turned out that the trail wasn't that well maintained, but all the flowers and plants almost covering it up made it very nice to look at. We stopped several times to take pictures and enjoy the views.
(photo by Leif)
The trail was scarred some places by the effects of forest work, but nothing too bad. Leif spotted an elk and a couple of other animals on the way, which i felt was a good sign. They were probably so used to the place being calm and abandoned that they didn't have their ears wide open and their guard up. Sadly I didn't see any of the animals that Leif tried to point out. Guess I wouldn't be any good as a hunter, but that's something I'll never pursue anyway - I'm too much of a fan of animals to do that.
We decided to try to find a place to camp near the lake "Hakkloa" which the path lead too anyways. A kilometer or so before we got there we stopped to enjoy the views in the direction of Katnoa, before proceeding down the trail to the camp site.
The road led to a seemingly abandoned farm surrouned by a couple of huts. We got the feeling that the place was now being used by scouts or other organizations, but we weren't sure. Sets of chairs were visible through the windows, and we saw that people had been barbecuing down at the small beach a while ago.
Anyway - a nice spot for the tent was found near the lake and we pitched the tent in a stiff breeze. The tent is a Big Agnes Parkview 3 which Leif bought from me a short while a go, a 3 person, 3 season tent which is nothing short of a palace for two hikers. I like it a lot for the living space, easy pitching and sleek, aerodynamic profile.
Leif prepared an impressive Thai dish on his Trangia and we then proceed to take photos during the last few minutes before the sun disappeared over the horizon. The light is always so amazing then.
I slept very well that night - I am finally getting some good sleep in the outdoors!. We awoke to great weather and after a while a very hot tent. According to my mini themometer the temperature was about 30 degrees celsius.
To boil up some water for breakfast I used the Trail Designs Caldera Keg-H. It's a cool piece of kit I think, veighing a scant 6.2oz / 176gm and containing the combined pot stand and wind screen (the core caldera concept), a stove, pot (the can), lid, fuel, plastic container with cozy that can be used to eat out of and a stuff sack for the whole thing. Highly recommended.
(photo by Leif)
My only gripe with the setup is that the small cone has lost its shape after some use and the dove tail has been compressed so that it is hard to assemble it. I have therefore ordered a titanium cone from Trail Designs that is on its way. They've made me a set of crates for it too so that it will work better in wood burning mode.
After breakfast we hiked back to Hakadal again in glorious sunshine, mostly on gravel roads, being constantly passed by mountain bikers who were probably preparing for the "Birkebeinerritet" cycling event in August (world's largest mountain bike event). I participated a couple of years ago, but once was enough for me :). Great experience though.
Thanks for reading and please leave a comment if you feel like it.
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