Day 15. Dagali to Skagoset.
Distance 77.8km Average 15.6km/h.
We awoke surprisingly refreshed. After the two frustrating days with the bikes we were in the mood for some cycling. Although it was not sunny it was not too cold and looked promising. The day would take us onto the beginning of the Numedalsruta and we hoped somewhere along the line past a stave church and museum.
We breakfasted as we had eaten dinner the night before with the luxury of a picnic table. It didn't rain during breakfast although it was a bit chilly. Whilst we were packing up an older lady came to speak with us. She was from Sandefjord and spoke proudly about her city. As she seemed to know about her country and the flora and fauna we asked her about the little yellow blackberries growing on the moss. She told us that this was one of the most prized of berries in Norway and it was indeed edible. Well now we know.
Berry picking seems to be a national hobby in Norway. Often whilst cycling we would see cars parked beside the road. As we approached a person or people would appear from the woods clutching plastic food boxes or bags with a satisfied expression on their faces. I remember as a child going out with my parents and grandparents to Clogaenog forest in North Wales and picking bilberries and it reminded me of those happy sunny childhood days.
At quarter past eleven we were on the road, we stopped by the Dagali museum but decided we needed to get on. Another thing for next time. Shortly after joining the main road we crossed the river and I think we saw the remains of the hydro-electric station. Almost immediately we had to climb a three kilometer long six percent gradient. We went up it in one go, and on reaching the top I waited as usual for Damae to turn up. I stopped in front of a sign that said this was the Numedal, the medieval valley and took some pictures. Before us was a wide open expanse with a road snaking into the distance. Although a bit overcast it didn't seem to be threatening to rain and this raised our spirits somewhat.
Shortly after the stop we turned left onto a dirt road, and the sun went in. We were not entirely sure what to expect from the description in the guide book although the first bit of the road we could see appeared to be in good condition. I felt a bit like a Tolkien character confronted by the next unknown valley. As I was thinking about this the wind turned suddenly very cold and we put on some extra layers. Sod's Law being what it is, the sun came out soon after and we had to take off the layers we had so carefully put on.
But we were happy the weather was favourable, and as I said it got warmer. The track stayed well made with the odd few sections with puddles or potholes. We managed to get into a good rhythm and remembered why we liked going on cycling holidays again. The road ran along a valley with lakes and forested areas. It was very unlike the barren rock of the Rallarvegen, this valley seemed terribly hospitable in comparison. We saw along this section some evidence of development with plots with gates and small shacks. Mostly it was 'unspoiled' nature and we were enjoying it.