Monday, June 7, 2010

24: Solo trip to Halsjøen

I think I'm addicted to 24 hour trips - can't think of a better way to spend the weekend. I always tend to return refreshed and ready for another bout of the daily grind at work. This time was no different.

Lately I've been doing most of my hiking in the eastern part of the wilderness area surrounding Oslo, "Østmarka". It's closest to where I live and an area I don't know a lot about, so naturally I'm curious to explore it. Most people tend to go to the northern part, Nordmarka, probably since they know so little about what Østmarka has to offer.

(photo from Wikipedia)

I bought a book the day before with lots of trip suggestions and decided to try to find one of the highest hills in the area, called "Tronfjell". Seemed pretty easy when studying the map, but would soon prove to be a challenge.

I packed the ULA Ohm that Hendrik brought me to test, got on my scooter and scooted to the trail head Østmarkssætra. Loaded with full hammock rig, food and 2-3 litres of water the pack weighed about 9.5 kilos, which I found sapped my strength quickly in the heat - there is really something to the 10 kilo barrier that people talk about. 10 kilos and upwards is not fun at all. Still I made good progress and soon got to Mariholtet which is maybe the most popular staffed hut in the area.

From there I went south east toward the lake Halsjøen and Tronfjellet. The trail was nice and dry and well maintained, and I was grinning most of the way. At the intersection of two trails I set up a compass course to Tronfjell which was close by, but looked like this:

Didn't look very promising or penetrable - this is really the place to get lost, so I went higher up the trail to where it opened up a bit, set up a new compass course and took a leap of faith and got in there. Ended up at what seeemed the highest point, but nothing much to see except for trees. A bit disappointed, but eager to set up camp and eat, I returned to the lake Halsjøen where I found a nice spot to set up the hammock rig.

A typical hammock rig consists of the hammock itself of course, a tarp for weather protection and an underquilt for bottom insulation. It isn't as fast to set up as a tarp or small tent, well not for someone like me who is still a beginner, but boy is it ever comfortable to sleep in :), and so flexible when it comes to location. Only need two trees at about the correct distance. Peggable (is that even an english word?) ground is a bonus too since the tarp needs 4 pegs and the hammock two. The side facing the water was a bit tricky this time but I used my trekking poles to good effect and got the pegs in there.

I wasn't the only living creature in the area. A beaver was evidently a frequent visitor to the spot I had chosen. I never saw him, sadly, only the signs of his labour. Beavers are so cool animals. Did you know that a beaver can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes?

Being in the woods on a hot summer day, I of course opted for the wood stove, the Ti-Tri Inferno to be more precise. It's so fun to use and infernoesque in its intensity. I let it burn a good while after I was done cooking, just to keep the mosquitoes away and for the warmth and company.

I slept well that night, only needing to get up to adjust the tarp to deflect the chilly breeze from the lake. Found that it robbed the warmth from my down underquilt. Next time I'll bring my DIY weather shield. Morning greeted me with sunshine. I took my time making breakfast and enjoying it from the hammock, and then packing everything for the return trip.

Ti-Tri Inferno burning away in all its glory, fueled by dry wood which was to be found everywhere at the campsite.

The hammock makes for a great recliner!

The return trip was the best. Glorious sunshine and feeling refreshed, knowing that I had a full day left of my weekend to relax and enjoy myself.

So how did the Ohm work out? I was bit sceptical at first because I couldn't get the hip belt to fit in a comfortable way, but I sorted that out and then it was all good. Still don't fancy the non-elastic compression cords on the sides though. Will post a review at a later time.

This is also the last time I'll carry as much as 2 litres of water. From now on I'll carry an Aquaguard inline filter to be able to use whatever water I find on the way, and to use my camelbak in gravity filter mode in camp. This time I could probably just have drunk directly from the lake, I've done so before, but it tends to taste a bit off, so I would prefer to filter it. I made tea from the water in the lake of course. A filter would have been a lot more useful on the bivy+tarp trip I did with Glenn recently.

Base weight for this trip turned out to be 6.5 kilos, or about 14.3 pounds. Next time I'll probably go lighter with bivy+tarp.

I hope you liked this quick trip report. My next posts will be gear reviews.

Have a great week and take care!


  1. Looks fine with the hammock. A nice setup for trips like yours. Did think abt hammock during my last trip. Frequent marks from wild hogs. Guess it can be a exiting wakeup if the pigs found the tarp interesting :-)
    Lovely photos in your report. Sorry you didnt see the beaver. They are remarkable.

  2. Looks like a great outing!
    Which fabric have you chosen in your Warbonnet Blackbird hammock?
    I'm looking for something light-weight, and this might be it.
    / Karl

  3. Roger: thanks for reading - I definitely recommend taking a serious look at hammocking. Around 100 US will get you a Hennesy entry level model complete with tarp which can be offloaded without much loss if you end up not liking it.

    Karl: Thanks for the comment. I got the 1.1 oz double layer because of my weight, and because it is nice to put a pad between the layers if I want to (I don't now since I use an underquilt).

  4. Thanks Thomas!
    I think I'll have to have a look at the Te-Wa underquilt too.
    I love doing my hammocking outings, but my present set-up is just too heavy.
    / Karl

  5. Thomas, great report and pictures as ever. Was there a lot of mozzies camping that close to the water?

    Cooking over wood is good!

  6. Joe: thanks, yes, there were some mosquitoes, but not so many that it ruined anything. Smoke from the Inferno helped to keep them at bay :)

  7. wow another great trip report and excellent pictures. I like your writing very much thomas