Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->2007-->Scandinavia.-->Day 11

Day 11-2. Train from Oslo to Haugestøl then by bike to Flåm

For the first couple of hours it was really quite busy on this section up to Finse, especially the first ten kilometres or so. We passed a number of large groups on the way up, and in turn were passed by couples and families when we stopped to eat, drink or simply admire the wonderful scenery. For much of the early afternoon we played leapfrog with a trio of young Norwegian women on mountain bikes and four teenagers on the same but with rucksacks. It felt more like a Sunday afternoon cycling round the Maarseveenseplassen than cycling up into the (relative) wilderness of the Rallervegen.

We'd hoped we would recognise parts of the route on the way up, seeing as we had done most of it the other way the year before. Things looked familiar in general in the first few kilometres but not in terms of specifics. However around ten kilometres or so we found our first toilet stop after camping wild the year before. Then just a little further up the place our wild campsite last year, twelve kilometres from Haugestøl. I took a photo of the spot with its cairn of small stones, and the view across the road. Last year it had been raining rather distinctly when we broke camp and was rather chilly so taking photos had been rather low down on our list of priorities.

The cycling was much easier than the climb up from Hallingskiet, in 2006. For one we were starting much higher and secondly the road was rather gentle and well made, taking road traffic up to huts and houses in the area. We occasionally had to get off when crossing bridges with a kerb like drop at both ends of the bridge, but otherwise we had few problems to speak of.

We made good progress and before we knew it we were at Finse. There were a couple on ID Works bikes looking serene and superior, Rohloffs sitting in their back wheels, and two other small groups pausing there in the sun. The big table outside the 1222 building looked inviting enough so we sat down for a tea and calorie stop. The sun was warm, the tea refreshing and the calories went down nicely. As we were finishing the sky darkened and the wind increased noticeably. It seemed that our good luck with the weather had only been a temporary reprieve. Still it was not time to dilly-dally and wait until the weather improved, certainly not if we were planning to reach Flåm that evening. A quick toilet stop and were were back on the road again.

We were reminded of where we were as the sun disappeared behind the clouds, the temperature dropped noticeably and with the gale force winds did their best to stop our progress. It was very hard going as the normal post stop dip had been compounded by a strong blustery headwind and a relatively steep climb.

As we cycled out of the hamlet we could see lots of white water on the Finsevatnet. The inevitable rain followed shortly afterwards. However I noticed that unlike last year the bad weather did not seem to be coming in along the valley but across the sides of the valley. I hoped that the storm would not be too broad and that we would soon be out of it. 'Hoped' being the significant word and 'soon' being a variable length of time which we were not able to determine.

Not much further up we hit first of the snow field, which turned out to be a feature of the day. We had heard from Arie at SNEL that there was more snow up there this year than last, but had not paid much attention to this information. The snow fields varied in width, the longest being a couple of hundred metres across, the shortest being ten or so. The scenery was still wonderful though just that the weather was by now rather unpleasant as this video shows (8MB download). We'd put on all our rain gear in Finse but left our lower legs uncovered. The Rain-Legs did a surprisingly good job in keeping our upper thighs warm and dry, which in turn seemed to keep our lower legs and feet warm. Still given that there was very little shelter from the wind and rain it was not a place you would willing stop and admire the view for ten minutes nor willingly have a snowball fight, or at least Damae wasn't interested(5MB download).

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