I have a bit of a tradition to do a day trip to the mountains in the springtime. When the snow is disappearing at home, there’s still plenty of it in the mountains for skiing – or snowshoeing, as the case may be.
I had some concerns about the snow though, because it has been very warm in the mountains as well. The soft wet snow doesn’t carry a person even on snowshoes, so I was completely depending on the trails. The thing was that I wanted to see two places where there weren’t any officially maintained winter trails, so it was a bit of a pot luck if these trails were used or not. If they were sufficiently used, the snow crust should hold even in these warm temperatures… I hoped.
When I got to Lofsdalen, I first went to the tourist information to ask about the status of these trails. The first one was probably used but not maintained, but the second trail was prepared – great! So I drove up to the trailhead and found that half of HÃ¤rjedalen had the same idea and parking space was hard to come by. After some driving around I found a spot and hit the heavily used trail towards Solgropen (“sun hole”), a meteor crater on a southern slope (thus the name). Solgropen was filled to the brim by families enjoying the sun so I just speeded past and continued up to my first goal. This was the unprepared trail and at first it was easy to follow the old snowmobile and ski tracks but when I got up around the tree line, the snow started occasionally caving in under my snowshoes. That’s really the worst… if you sink all the time, it’s very hard going but at least you’re prepared for it. When it happens sporadically, it always catches you unawares and in the end you get very nervous about the whole thing. The higher I climbed, the worse the snow got and the wind picked up. I had wanted to reach the nearest peak, but the wind and treacherous snow were driving me crazy so I settled with the pass so I could at least achieve my goal which was to see SonfjÃ¤llet. The idea of this whole trip, besides enjoying the wonderful weather, was to scout for new locations and I had now found one.
When I was back down to the trees, the wind eased up a little bit and I dug myself a personal sun hole to have lunch. But I’ve never been good at sitting idle in the sun, so I packed up as soon as I had finished. It was still only early afternoon and I had plenty of time, so I decided to drive some more and check out a waterfall I had read about. I knew that there was a very small chance that a) the road there would be open and b) the waterfall would be free of ice but what the heck, it’s a beautiful day, the road is dry and I have time to waste. I found that b) was moot because a) the road was closed.
Back in Lofsdalen, I drove to the trailhead again and by now there was plenty of parking space. I took the second trail and sure enough, it was prepared and the snow held well. When I got to the pass so I could get a view towards SonfjÃ¤llet, I was a little bit disappointed. The first view was much better, and it figures that it’s the one with the longer hike. The best things in photography are not free. Speaking of photography, there was very little of it today. I bothered to pick up the film camera a grand total of one (1) time. Maybe the weather was too good? But there was also a lot of haze in the air and that’s a real spoiler for great mountain vistas.
Although my feet were starting to complain by now (wet socks are never much fun), I still decided to get back to Solgropen because the afternoon sun was too good to abandon yet. Solgropen was almost deserted but it was protected from the wind, so I took off my boots and hoped that my socks would dry in the sun. Well, I still hadn’t learned how to sit idle in the sun so my socks didn’t have a chance.
It was such a wonderful day… wet socks and all. The pictures are nothing to brag about, but I honestly don’t care. The best things in life are free.