Table of Contents
Section distance: 102,8 km
Hiking days: 5,5
Total distance: 389,2 km
Day 29: Travel to Tyinkrysset
Finally, the prescribed ten days of rest are over. As we sit in the bus to Tyinkrysset, the excitement grows. Around us it slowly becomes lonelier again. Alongside the joy that we are now moving on, however, skepticism and concerns are also coming up. What if the knee doesn’t hold up? It is not completely painless. And in Jotunheimen a lot of altitude meters are waiting for us.
Manuel and I discuss the matter for a moment and agree that shorter stages would probably be a good idea as a first step, and if that doesn’t work either, we’ll probably have to reschedule again. I have little desire to do that. This is not how I imagined a long distance hike. But we’ll see.
Hiking luxuries and company through Jotunheimen
In Tyinkrysset we also meet Boris, who arrived from Germany the day before and will be joining us for a week. We are both looking forward to his company! Boris also brings us a new pair of shoes, which we actually do not need yet due to our forced break. Luckily, the light barefoot shoes are not as heavy as hiking boots, so we have a dry pair just in case. This is truly hiking luxury!
Day 30: Tyinkrysset – Fondsbu
14.06.2022 | 22,1 km
Our hike begins on a road that leads five kilometers up to Tyin Lake. There are a few cars on the road. But at the turnoff to Tyin there is a turnpike, which is still closed. So the rest of the way is free of cars. Our host from last night had already told us that the road is not yet open again. Looking around, we understand why. The Tyin lies in front of us covered with thick ice floes. A cold wind is blowing and the slopes on the west bank still look covered with snow. Good thing we take the east bank.
Romantic gravel roads and an unconventional campsite
The gravel road is already clear of snow and we make good progress. Only the weather is cold and wet. Since Boris’ bus arrived at noon, we start at 2 pm. After 22 kilometers we find a campground directly at the road shortly before Fondsbu. There are some cabins in sight, but at this time of the year nobody is there yet. But the view is great, we can look back to lake Tyin and forward to lake Bygdin.
I may have sat outside a little too long at dinner and am totally chilled out. Not a good idea to go to bed now. I try to warm up with some arm circles, then I decide to go to bed. There I lie awake for another two hours or so until my body is finally able to warm up again.
Day 31: Fondsbu – Gjendebu
15.06.2022 | 18,0 km
The next morning the sun is smiling! How much more beautiful the mountains look in the light. We set off, but don’t get very far. In Fondsbu we come across the statue of Aasmund Olavsson Vinje, a pioneer of Norwegian mountain tourism. He built a mountain cabin here. We immediately take a look at Vinjebu, but unfortunately only from the outside, as it is locked. But now we’ve been hanging around for a while and it’s time to go.
The first few kilometers we walk along the lake, which offers a fantastic panorama. But suddenly there are legions of mosquitoes everywhere. They don’t bite, but they are really annoying. We think about the fact that mosquitoes will accompany us regularly. Good thing we had so few encounters with them so far.
Is the summer bridge here yet?
After a while, the trail turns and winds up the mountain. We see a raging river flowing down the slope. We have to cross it. At the bottom, just before the lake, there is a bridge. There should also be one further up. At ut.no it was marked as a summer bridge. During my research I also found a list of bridges at DNT. According to this list, not a single summer bridge has been rebuilt so far. However, the Øvre Høystakka bridge ahead is marked as an all-season bridge. Unfortunately, the digital information is always poorly maintained and sometimes even contradictory between what you find at ut.no and at DNT. Of course, such information is very important to us!
The bridge is there in the end and easily passable. Even Lando can cross it without a problem. And besides, it actually looks more like an all-season bridge. One to zero for the DNT. We continue through the saddle to a plateau. We had already suspected that there would be snow here, but that it would be this much surprises us. In front of us is an almost complete snow cover. But the trail markings are visible and so we set off. Again and again we sink into the snow up to our knees. In between the snow carries us again. We take turns tracking, because it is really exhausting. Following the footpath is much easier.
Snow and no end in sight
Although it is only about five kilometers, the snow seems endless. In the middle of the snow we also discover the wooden post that marks the border to Jotunheimen National Park. When the snow finally becomes less, we are relieved. A little later we descend into the valley and have our first look at Lake Gjende. We already know it from last year, but from the other shore: Back then we walked over Knutshøe. On the way to Gjendebu we meet the first people, which gives us hope that the cabin will be open.
And indeed: a group of DNT volunteers is on site. Two women proudly tell us that they have built a summer bridge today, and some others have shoveled snow on the steep section of Bukkelægret ahead of us. Outside, three older men are painting the cabin. We check in at the reception and get a room. Today there is even electricity and a shower. The only thing we missed is dinner. Since we were not prepared for all this, we are happy and let the evening end comfortably by the fireplace.
Day 32: Gjendebu – Memurubu
16.06.2022 | 11,3 km
Wow, what luck we have with the weather. The sun wakes us up in the morning. It is not dark at the moment anyway, so the sun is already quite high today. We enjoy breakfast in the hut, which is still quite sleepy at this time, and then we start. After two kilometers along the lake, a steep climb awaits us today. At the reception we ask again about the snow conditions and then we set off.
The ascent is tough: in one kilometer there are about 500 meters of change in altitude. We find several sections that are secured with ropes. Again and again we have to help Lando up the big steps. This takes a long time and is exhausting. In the end it takes us almost three hours, but then we are at the top. Now it’s time for a break. We enjoy the lunch we packed for the day this morning at the hut.
Lonely hike through impressive landscape
Then the trail continues gently over the mountains and we get to see far into the Jotunheimen National Park. We are amazed by the many glaciers we see, the imposing mountains and of course the view down to Gjende. Even the Besseggen ridge, which we want to cross the next day, is already in sight. In between, a trail runner overtakes us. She is the only one we meet today. On the descent we cross some steep snowfields, some of which we slide down on our butts. This spares my knees, but the snow shovels into my shorts and so we continue with extra cold backs of our thighs.
Already from a distance we see the Memurubu hut. Situated picturesquely in the valley, it looks absolutely idyllic from above. And isn’t there something moving? Officially, the hut is still closed as well, but after seeing a quad driving around, we are determined to find a bed for the night. And indeed, we arrive just in time for dinner. What luck. While Manuel and I are already digging into our second plate of meatballs with potatoes and vegetables, Boris looks a bit incredulous. I hadn’t noticed that we were eating very fast or that we were eating a lot. But his plate is still half full.
Day 33: Besseggen
17.06.2022 | 14,6 km
Of all things, it is rain that is predicted for our tour over Besseggen. It seems too dangerous to go up the ridge with backpack and the dog in bad weather, so we decide to change our plans. Today we leave the backpacks and Lando gets a rest day at the hut. At ten o’clock we take the boat to Gjendesheim and walk back to Memurubu from there. Our originally planned way through Jotunheimen has to be changed a bit, but we are still on schedule. This is importqnt because Boris has to be back at a bus stop a few days later to start his journey home.
But first we cross Besseggen. To be honest, I don’t really understand why the Norwegians are so crazy about crossing this ridge. The trail the day before was definitely more varied and had just as great views. We also liked the trail over Knutshøe better last year, but we think it is technically more challenging than the Besseggen Ridge. Today the trail leads mainly over gravel and barren terrain. A short steep section awaits us, but all in all nothing particularly exposed.
Besseggen-Patroul: the mountain rescue service is also present today
Below the most difficult part of the descent (if you go the other way before the ascent) sits a man wearing a jacket with the inscription “Besseggen-Patroul”. We approach him and learn that he watches the hikers all day long and guides those who panic through the steep part. He also tells us that it is mainly Norwegians who overestimate themselves and adds with a grin: “There is no human right to hike Besseggen”.
Slowly the weather becomes cloudy and a little later it starts to rain. Time to head home. Arrived in Memurubu, the cook officially opens the season with dinner. We share the table with a Finnish couple and have a great time. On our hike today we have seen them several times. By the way, we learn that the Besseggen race starts the next day. There are really crazy people jogging over the ridge, the best time is 1:15h. We, on the other hand, were on the trail for a little over seven hours.
Day 34: Memurubu – Glitterheim
18.06.2022 | 20,1 km
We don’t want to miss the amateur race starting at nine the following morning. We are still amazed at the ideas people come up with. Then it’s uphill again for us. We head towards Besseggen. But already after a little more than a kilometer our way turns off to Glitterheim. Just in time, because the boat from Gjendesheim has spit out a lot of hikers who are climbing the mountain behind us.
Another breathtaking view opens up in front of us. Lake Russvatnet lies ahead of us. Jotunheimen is simply magical. Wherever you look, it is simply beautiful! But an icy wind also accompanies us today. At least it comes from behind. The lake is to our right for quite a while and the turquoise water attracts our eyes. Here and there a herd of reindeer is grazing. In this part of Jotunheimen, however, these are domesticated and not wild reindeer.
Before Glitterheim it gets uncomfortable once again. We cross a saddle covered by a huge snowfield. Over the first hundred meters, the snow has melted so much that we are more or less walking through ice water. We continue uphill with wet feet. Footprints show us the way, but suddenly clouds close in around us. Within a few minutes the weather changes from sunshine to a small snowstorm. We quickly put on some warm clothes and hurry down to the hut.
Day 35: Glitterheim – Campsite before Randsverk
19.06.2022 | 24,5 km
The way leading out of Jotunheimen is easier after all. From Glitterheim we follow the gravel road. The first eight kilometers we could have done by bike, you can even rent trailers for luggage or pets. But we want to walk!
In the distance we can already see the next high mountains: the peaks of Rondane National Park. While we are sad to leave the magnificent landscape of Jotunheimen behind us, we can already glimpse what awaits us next. This is what makes such a long distance trek so special!
Just as we are about to take a break, we find a small unlocked hut along the way. We open the door and find out that we have ended up in the Heranosbua, which can be booked through inatur.no. However, we only want to take a short break and soon continue our hike.
In the evening our feet are really tired from the coarse gravel we walked on all day. The barefoot shoes were definitely not the most comfortable footwear today. Off the road we find a beautiful campsite and spend the last evening together with Boris at the campfire. The fire is not only cozy but also keeps the mosquitoes away, which are also biting this evening.
Day 36: Farewell in Randsverk
20.06.2022 | 6,7 km
The next day we say goodbye to Boris after walking the first seven kilometers to Randsverk: it was nice to explore Jotunheimen National Park together! While Boris takes the bus, we buy an ice cream at the nearby campsite and continue our hike in the mercilessly burning sun. It will take us two more days to get to Otta, where we will have a rest day. But more about that in the next article!
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