Table of Contents
Section distance: 157,6 km
Hiking days: 9
Total distance: 286,4 km
Planning the next section
The second section of our tour first leads us north through Setesdalen and then east towards Dalen. We have thought about continuing to Dølemo for a while and joining the trail network there. But walking 50 kilometers along a busy road deterred us. With Lando on the leash, it is really exhausting to hike along roads where cars are constantly passing us.
Instead, we hike through the Setesdal valley. A barely used road runs next to the big road on the other side of the lake, which is also marked as a bike path. A little further north, we then turn east and join the DNT network and walk on to Dalen.
Day 10 – 11: Evje – Storestraumen watergate
25.05. – 26.05.2022 (20,4 km | 21,4 km)
About two and a half days we hike through the picturesque valley. Thereby, we almost always find a way to walk next to the asphalt in the gravel, sand or a meadow. Not perfect, but pretty good. My blisters heal slowly, but we do not quite reach our planned daily goals. As soon as our feet tell us that they have had enough, we look for a place to spend the night. On the first evening we find via Park4Night a small place right next to the road and on the second evening we spend the night at the Storestraumen watergate.
The watergate is located directly at a rest area for cars, but a bit off the road we find a place protected from views. The proximity to the parking lot has the advantage that there is a toilet and even hot water. We also meet a German couple in a camper who ask us about our plans and invite us for a coffee in the morning. We are happy to accept!
Day 12 – 14: Storestraumen watergate – Nutevasshytta
27.05. – 29.05.2022 (20,3 km | 16,2 km | 12,9 km)
In Ose we make a small detour for a visit to the supermarket and fill up our supplies again. Then we leave the valley. Wistfully we look back once again as we head up into the mountains. We really liked the way through the Setesdal.
Ahead of us now lies an ascent of 500 meters in altitude. Sweating, we tackle it. Along the gravel path are countless snowmobiles. Probably the inhabitants of the above-mentioned huts change at a certain height in winter to these vehicles. We finally continue on a hiking trail. The red “T” marks the entrance to the hiking network of the DNT. But after a few meters the path gets lost and we find ourselves in a swamp.
At first we try to get through the mud on dry feet. But soon we give up. The smacking sound with each step becomes the beat of our hike over the next few days. But even when we accept that our feet will be wet all day, it is somehow exhausting to endure it.
In addition, the path is anything but easy. No trail markings, difficult terrain. And to make matters worse, there are trees everywhere that have been knocked down by the snow or felled by the beaver. So we find ourselves sometimes climbing and sometimes crawling on all fours under a tree trunk. When we arrive at the first hut, the Nutevasshytta, it is clear: we need a break and stay here tonight. The stove soon exudes a cozy warmth and after five days in the tent it feels like infinite luxury that we can wash with warm water tonight.
Day 15 – 16: Nutevasshytta – Nystøyl – Hovstøyl
30.05. – 31.05.2022 (10,2 km | 13,5 km)
But the mountains continue to give us a hard time over the next few days. Since camping is out of the question in the swampy landscape, we hike from hut to hut and enjoy taking a look at the pantry in the evening and helping ourselves to plenty of food.
Here we also meet Tina for the first time. She also walks the NPL and therefore our route is identical over the next few days. Again and again we meet on the way or at the latest in the evening at the next hut. It results in some pleasant conversations and dinner together.
Shortly before Hovstøyl my knee suddenly starts to pain me again. The day before I slipped twice and landed on my knee. There is a large bruise on the outside. Maybe the fall was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The knee, which was already stressed, hurts once again. I try it with less load: on a straight stretch I can avoid the roughest bending movement of the knee by turning the leg outwards. Uphill and downhill the other leg has to do the job together with the walking sticks. We slow down, but my good mood holds. The views are fantastic today and even my knee can’t spoil that. I limp a good five kilometers to the hut. There I notice that the knee is swollen and warm. Time for cooling.
Day 17: Rest day in Hovstøyl
Since my knee is not yet recovered the next morning, we decide to stay another day. With my folding bottle filled with cold water I cool the knee as best as possible. For this I rub it with an ointment that the Tina gives me.
In fact, the next day I trust myself with the upcoming two legs to Dalen. Here also Tina’s and our way separate: God tur, Tina!
Day 18 – 19: Hovstøyl – Dalen
02.06. – 03.06.2022 ( 18,7 km | 24,1 km)
On this day we cross the mountains again and take a by-path through a mountain saddle. When Lando sniffs excitedly, we are alarmed. And a short time later suddenly the first reindeer stands in front of us and eyes us curiously before it slowly moves on. We had not expected reindeer this far south, but the pain in my knee is suddenly forgotten.
A short time later we also catch sight of the first cuckoo. His calls accompany us for some time, but so far the bird remained invisible to us. What a day! In addition, the view up here is wide and we are at peace with the mountains. The next day continues to a large extent on the road and more importantly, it descends many meters in altitude. In six serpentines the road winds down to Dalen. And while my knee hurts more with every step, I realize that I can’t go on like this.
Shortly before I come to this conclusion, however, I turn down the offer of a Norwegian to take us down in the car: I want to make it on foot!
Day 20 – 21: Rest days in Dalen
04.06. – 05.06.2022
We agree to take a break day in order to sort things out and work out a plan. On the way to the supermarket we walk through a small street on which something is being set up for an event. We are approached by a man. Once again it is the Norwegian who had offered to give us a ride the day before. He explains there will be a village breakfast on the street tomorrow and invites us to join in. We are happy to accept the offer.
We spend two days in Dalen. We take it easy and spare my knee. We drive to a stave church with historic houses around the church. Directly at the campsite we observe beavers and there is a great roundtrip through a small forest. Unfortunately, we cannot use the uniquely beautiful sauna: it is fully booked over pentecost.
Then it’s decided: we skip the next section with about 100 kilometers and take the bus to Rjukan. There is a hospital where I can have my knee checked. In addition, it gives me the opportunity to give the knee a few days off. Keep your fingers crossed for me that this is it and the journey can continue!
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