Day 4-1 Valle to Haukeli.Distance 89 km Max 64 km/h Time 6.25:5 Average 13.8 km/h
We slept quite well considering how much rain fell on the tent that night. It still surprises us how much noise rain makes on the drum tight skin of a tent. What sounds like a downpour inside the tent is often merely light drizzle. However the perception that it is raining hard sometimes hits your motivation levels.
It felt like today was going to start slowly. We got out of the tent and headed up towards the motel veranda again. There seemed to be little change in the weather from the day before, grey clouds scudded overhead. Luckily it was not to cold, and with the water for the coffee warming up on the Trangia, and a big bowl of muesli each life was starting to get better. Just after eight the first spot of blue sky appeared above us and slowly but surely the weather started clearing up. Although it wasn't going to dry out our tent out in time, the appearance of the sun felt as miraculous as the parting of the Red Sea and cheered us up.
Whilst breakfast was being prepared, Damae made a quick trip to the Joker supermarket next to the motel and picked up some bread and cheese. One thing we had noticed about this trip already was the lack of supermarkets on parts of the route. This was a particular problem on the longer off-road sections and (as with the Numedalruta) where the trail ran on the other side of the valley on the older quieter road. We always try to do our shopping after arriving at the campsite or within an hour of stopping but the evening before we had arrived too late and the Joker had been shut.
However today it worked well for us as Damae returned with some lovely fresh white and brown buns, some crisp spring onions and a pack of brown cheese slices. Yummy. Whilst Damae made sandwiches I repacked our bags. We'd decided over coffee that putting the cooking gear in Damae's front panniers had a couple of disadvantages, not to mention that both our sleeping bags in a Back Roller was a bit of a squeeze. So to avoid the damp sleeping bag syndrome I packed one sleeping bag in each of my Front Roller Classics and we split the tent between Damae's front bags.
Thus another lesson learned, a problem overcome and all that remained to do was the washing up and packing. Fortunately the kitchen did have warm water, and despite the comparative lack of facilities and the poor weather the evening before, we liked the campsite. Apart from the price the views up the valley walls were wonderful. The bands of colour on the cliff faces could almost have been painted by Jotun the Norwegian God of Interior and Exterior Decoration. In the sun, which was clearly burning the cloud cover away the bands of colour were easy to see.
The plan for today was to cycle for several hours and then stop at a campsite. On looking at the maps I'd suggested that Haukeli would be a good place to stop tonight. Damae was less enthusiastic, still feeling a bit tired from the day before. I made my intention clear but left it open: there was no point in arguing as that would have set Damae against pushing on to Haukeli and made me all the more determined. Still I hoped that the now much improved weather, gentle encouragement from me and some easier cycling in the sun would help us get to Haukeli.
The sun was indeed a welcome sight and with damp rain gear, cycle shorts and towels flapping merrily in the breeze we headed out of the campsite and picked up a cycle path. This didn't last long and soon we were on the open road. On either side of us were the same sort of cliffs that we had seen next to the campsite. Wonderful. We had sun and broad vistas and it wasn't raining at all. However we noticed we were climbing quite a lot, which was to be expected whilst following a river valley upstream. However we were still just a little surprised as the terrain looked a lot flatter than it turned out to be. For the most part the climbing consisted of long drags, these being interspersed with rather more demanding shorter sections. A few kilometres from the campsite as we approached Rotemo the valley narrowed as the river followed a large meander to the left and we passed a huge outcrop of rock.