Text message from my friend Leif late friday evening last weekend:
"Hi, do you want to go out?"
"I'm in the woods with Glenn :)"
Yes, I guess being out in the woods on a friday evening when it's dark, cold and wet is not what most people do, but me and Glenn were still having a good time, continuing our journey on the path to Rondane.
That friday we'd left early from work and gone by train and bus to get to where we'd left the path the last time. An hour or so hike took us to an area north of Gardermoen, Oslo's main airport. It was getting late and we had to find a spot to set up the shelter and make a fire and cook dinner. It was rather difficult because of the dark and wet ground which looked uninviting. Glenn wanted us to camp in the forest, but I insisted on going further to find a more open area. After a while we found one close to a large field. We put up the large 3m x 3m tarp first and then Glenn's Helsport 3-person tent so that the entrance was sheltered.
We used the rest to sit under while cooking dinner and enjoying the warmth of the fire. We'd been carrying plenty of bone dry firewood so the fire was relatively easy to get going even though we had light rain.
Mintuu, beer and Real Turmat was had before we retired to the luxurious by UL standards double wall shelter. It was even warm and dry as Glenn had been heating it with his multifuel stove, something I've heard of people doing, but never tried myself.
I slept ok and definitely warm enough in my new down sleeping bag on top of an exped downmat, but still a bit restless and waking up several times because of a stiff shoulder or from losing sensation in my hand or arm. Have to get that pad business sorted. Maybe I should try to inflate it less. Glenn slept soundly like always.
Breakfast was had inside the tent. We sat in our sleeping bags and ate yummy porridge that Glenn made in the vestibule with his stove. That warmed the tent as well, making it even better. I have to admit - tent life has some advantages, but then again I loved getting outside afterwards, taking in the cool and fresh morning air and looking at the weather, even though it was grim with a light drizzle and fog.
After packing up our gear we hiked north-east across fields, through forested areas and along roads. This section is probably the one that passes through the most populated areas.
For some reason I wasn't feeling 100% and I don't think Glenn was either. We soon found the root of the problem - lack of caffeine (we'd forgotten to bring coffee) - a short stop at the cafe at Eidsvoldbygningen took care of that problem, leaving us both super happy :D. We continued onwards along a dam, noticing the handywork of beavers. Lots of trees had bite marks and many had been successfully taken down. Got to admire the hard work they do.
We both hoped they would be left alone and not be taken down which happens too often. All to often animals have to pay the ultimate price just because they're following their instincts and in the process irritating and disturbing people.
The last leg towards our destination, Eidsvold, was mainly on tarmac laden road, and in rain and wind. Still, I was warm, dry and comfortable - feeling great compared to the last section where I was cold most of the time. It just goes to show that great hiking can be done when in company of good friends and good gear :).
Some reflections on gear:
Western Mountaineering Ultralite - I got this a couple of days before the trip so this was the trial run. I like it a lot! the size regular is a perfect fit for me. This may replace my Sierra Sniveller quilt for 3-season use. I think the added warmth of it being completely draft free and with a hood warrants the extra weight.
Montane Halo Stretch Event jacket - I've used this on 3 trips now and I like it a lot. I've never had a jacket that breathes better than this and I like the fit and features. Highly recommended.
Footwear: I chose to use boots from Garmont on this trip, as well as high gaiters from Trekmates. This worked out nicely and kept me warm and dry.
Headlamp - I needed something more powerful than the e+LITE, so I took the Gamma from Alpkit. Great piece of kit at a very affordable price (£ 12.50).
On a quest to learn skills needed to be comfortable and safe in the outdoors, and to figure out how I function when hiking long trips alone.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."