I’ve moved back to the town of Bø after living several years in Lunde just south. Even it’s not a far way apart it feel great to be back in Bø and have a view on some white mountains.
This winter i moved back to Bø just before the corona struck here in Europe. I traded out the old farm house in Lunde for a little apartment in Bø. The apartment is right next to the forest and from here you can actually run on marked trails all the way up Lifjell. but that’s a long run up & down!
For the just out of the door runs the forest areas around Folkestad are gold. My usual round trough folkestadåsene is about 12km, perfect for a run after work. It goes from the neighborhood to the “Hørteelva” river which is a great river to take a dip in. There is a great bathing spot just after the waterfall “Høgfoss” where another stream enters thee river.
I’m a true map buff, a ‘Cartophile’ as its called in certain circles. Sometimes i spent hours staring at maps planning new adventures. To have a good look at the terrain your going to be running trough is an important part of prepping for a safe run. It prepares you to what to expect out on the trial & create a certain “map in your mind” over the route. Especially when the weather turn or the visibility suddenly deteriorates it good to have a certain idea (from your metal map) what your position is relative to the paper map so you can safely make your way down out of the clouds.
I might write an more in depth article about orientation on trail runs later-on. This article is about where to find your maps & descriptions about marked trails to prepare for your runs in Norway. Nothing beats printed local maps bought in the tourist information center or the local book store. Paper-maps are far more detailed & have a lot of extra information about the area & points of interest printed on them.
In advance of your arrival in the area you might rely heavily on that what is available on the web to plan your run. Down below i list some of my favorite online map services i use for planning purpose. Most of these sites with tour suggestions are in Norwegian only so have your google translate plugin ready on your browser!
Here are some of my personal favorites:
Most of the detailed topographical maps in Norway get published the the national map service. Most of their maps are public data and can be printed or downloaded freely. On the map page, Norgeskart.no, you can print parts of the map. It also has several of layer & map options to turn on & off. The Landkart & Raster map-layers from Kartverket are also used on this site on all the online maps.
Some useful options in the menu:
Different map styles can be selected here, i use both Landkart and Raster a lot (Raster is slightly more detailed in my opinion ( turns to black & white on its most detailed)
‘Hiking & outdoor recreation’ options to turn on marked walking trails, trail information & Winter x-country skiing tracks
‘Referencemarks’ UTM grid, (1x1km squares), useful to hget your location on the map if you don’t have one on your GPS device
‘Skriv ut’ Print your map directly. Both A4 & A3 format (remember to select the options above first if you want them to be printed on your map).
The map service from Ut.no also uses Kartverkets maps as background but what is unique with its amount hiking trails added by its users. There are far more trails that user have provided then the red lines show on the map.
Turn on the ‘Turforslag’ toggle to show all the hiking suggestions provided by private users and other organizations. Most to all information on the site is in Norwegian, a google translate app on the browser might be of good help to translate some of the text.
Free & paid pro (with more options) map app that uses kartverkets map layers. Easy to turn on and off different extra layers with information.
I use this app frequently if i just quickly want to check my position or if I’m going in the right direction. The Offline map option on the pro version comes quite handy if your running a short round without having a paper map in your pack.
Some of the useful functions:
Detailed maps from Kartverket
Tracking & route plotting functions
Rotate the map to the direction your going or keep it light up with the north. Shows the direction your running on the map (gps-direction) with a black line when available
Blue arrow for the direction your device is pointing
Import/export av GPX og KML
Download & save parts of the map in advance so they are available inn the app when you have no connection
So i was running a trial towards the mountain of Brattefjell, the highest point in the municipality of Seljord. I went over a little pass just south-west of the top ‘Fylijomsnuten’ which had a large cliff-side with a rock field in the bottom. The trial i followed went just along the edge of the rock field. I took a picture of a little cairn someone put up to mark the trial. Just a few meters ahead there was a reindeer lying on the ground behind a large boulder totally unaware of me.
I didn’t recognize it at first, it just looked like a stone and suddenly the reindeer jumped up. He most have been no more the 2 or 3 meters away from me and he came straight at me! lifting it legs high and stomping, flying towards me! ha ha i screamed! I made a large leap forward and fell on the ground, It ran past me at a hands reach. The reindeer also made a awkward tumble in the high bushed before it ran off in the distance. Another hiker on the other side of the valley had seen it all so we had a little chat about the ordeal. I got some scratches from when i threw myself on the ground, luckily that was all 🙂
In total there are about 500 reindeer roaming this area. Later that day, just after i ran down from the top of Brattefjell, i saw another small group of four!
Check out the whole trail up to Brattefjell on its report: Click here
sometimes when things go easy, the legs coordinate themselves while making my way trough the landscape. In these times when the mind wanders off and thoughts pop up. Sometimes they are related to work or just life itself. Subconsciously progressing everything that has happened at work or maybe get a new view or idea on how life is going. This is one of the reason i love running, just clearing my head & all the new ideas that get formed.
Sometimes funny things pop-up in my head when the mind is fully cleared, or just between sound thoughts. On last Saturdays run at Byrtedalen i caught myself in constructing some strange conversations in my mind about Glaciers & Winter.
I was crossing trough a barren moon-like landscape filled with large boulders and rock fields on the mountains at Kvannfjølli. I was just amazed how many rocks the glaciers had deposit in this area after they melted during the last ice age. When the glaciers retreated they defiantly left behind a freight of rocks here!
Some of these huge boulders are standing & balancing on the tiniest rocks. It looks like a work of art from time to time. So somehow my mind started to construct a conversation between two “artistic” glaciers competed and discussing their works of art. While melting they made suggestions how to construct there work.
I think i spent a good half hour coming up with lines like “ooo that marvelous!” – “Should i add a little stone there and a large boulder on top?” – “Flush some sandy water around it there so it gets polished!”. Unveiling their rocky arts of work to the public (us) as the melt away, anxiously awaiting our critics.
It was the second week of June and there was still ice on the lake and about 30-40cm of snow in this little pocket. Otherwise the snow had largely been melted away in the area. Snow fields were collapsing in the area and producing loud rubles. As it gets warmer the snow fields start to melt from the ground up and pockets collapses producing a loud thump.
Sometimes there are small areas where the sun doesn’t get a hold. A conversation with winter podded up in my mind in such a pocket. In this one Winter got bullied by summer and had hided in a little corner, a small bowl shaped valley in this case. The fictional conversation went about why he was hiding here, feeling a some empathy for its slow demise during the summer. I left the little valley ensuring Winter that its solitude won’t be for long as its fiend will come over in a couple of months time.
There are probably many more funny thoughts, conversations or weird mind spins that came to the surface that day but these where the once i actually remembered when i came home x-D
Last Sunday i packed my car and drove several hour north to the mountain-passage at Imingfjell. I had been looking at maps of this area for some time now. Finally i had some days off during Pentecost to go up and explore the area.
It’s a beautiful drive trough the small villages & farm-landscape at Tessungdalen. The river running in the valley is also a well known white water paddling destination, since it had been raining several days the water was high and there where a lot of paddlers around.
I found a nice sport to camp along the toll-road on the north side Sønstevatn. The start of the trail was about two kilometers further in at the ed of the road. It was great to be camping outside again, it had been a while since last time 🙂
The next day i crawled out of my sleeping-bag, brewed some coffee & i was on my way. The trail started with an nice ATV track that gently went up along the hillside for several km. I’m sort of a diesel, my legs usually preform better if they have warmed up a little on some leveled ground before the steep inclines. This was just perfect, my legs felt good.
Time to run
At the start it was so cold 6-7 degrees (Celsius) and 9 m/s winds. I was tucked inn with a thin isolated jacked, beanie & gloves! and my homemade soft-shell running thighs that where just perfect, so happy with those pants! i even had a fall about 12 km out on the trail on a jagged rock. It made a 6cm cut in my skin just below my knee but not a mark on my pants.. it is magic! Later that day the sun came out and the wind subsided, bye jacket, beanie & gloves 🙂
The plan was to run towards Mårbu and then a little north, trough ‘Smågådalen’, past ‘Vikstul’ and back to the car. The trail ran on open alpine plains with far views in all directions. It runs close to the border of Hardangervidda nation park, a large wide open mountain plateau. Especially close to ‘Mårbu’ the trail went over large open areas towards ‘Solheimstulen’ there where more rugged formations, mountains & valleys to run in between.
When i arrived at ‘Smågådalen’ (the crossing) i had such good legs and plenty of time to add a little. So i decided to add a little loop run north towards ‘Solheimstulen’. This trail went slightly uphill all the way. When the trail hit the ATV track coming up from ‘Solheimstulen’ my legs where pretty tired. Form here i took the shortest route (the ATV track). After a little break on the highest point of the trail i ran down to ‘Vikstul’ & back to my car.
Before driving home i made some dinner at the car park and gave my legs some rest. I don’t trust my legs to drive right after a long run. You never know when the muscle cramps hit! It had been a great day running over the mountain plains. to be repeated! 🙂
The trail report – more info about the trail and the route on a topographical map.
May started cold in Norway, we even had some snow a couple of days back.
Meanwhile I’ve started running on some of the trails trough the
local forest! mostly -10km rounds after work. I’ve written a trail
description of Husefjell, Vestre Nuke and Luberg.
Three runs that are kind of in my backyard at my hometown. Husefjell
& Vestre Nuke are marked round trips, i just love round trips.. so
much better then the same trail up and down.
I always feel like i see so much more on round trips. Don’t really
like the feeling that you know exactly what to expect on the return. I
wished more trails where marked as round trips. So many trails up to
little hilltops are one way up & the same way down while they could
be made to beautiful short round trips.
On Saturday i took my Rover for a spin after work. I’ve changed the timing belt
during my days off last week. Now its ready to face another couple of
year as my prime adventure mobile! I drove a test-run down to Drangedal and ran a trail up to Rønnomnibben a little ridge like mountain towards Gautefall.
I had been looking at this trail for quite some time. After 3 days of
rain it was a blessing to be outside running in the sun again.
It’s a short run of about 10km in total that runs a bid like a
roller-coaster, up and down some depressions in the ridge. The first 2,5
km is in the forest. I looked with envy towards the mountain ”Vestlifjell”
to the left which runs (earlier) on more open terrain. ”Poor me stuck
in between the trees”, ”have i picked the wrong trail today?”.
Soon after those thoughts the train opened up and the trail started
to run on a sort of ridge. It wasn’t al slow incline up to the top,some
(small valleys) in the ridge made the trail run up & down 50m or so
for 4 times?. And there where ropes! Man a trail where you need knotted
ropes to aid you from time to time. doesn’t get more fun than that. i
had a great day. <3
The snow is melting quickly now
and trails start to dry. It is was a delight to run on the trails again
after a long winter on gravel roads!
I’ve ran two short but steep trails on sun facing slopes in the
center of Telemark these days, in Seljord and a little evening round in
Lunde. A description of both trails ‘Bjørgefjellet & Vestre Nuke’
have been published in the trails section.
There was a little less snow in Seljord then Lunde (my hometown) this year so i suspected that the trail up ‘Bjørgefjellet‘ would be the first to dry this year.or The first 600++ meters up from the lake ‘Seljordsvannet‘
was dry as a crisp after that the the trail flattens and there was snow
on the ground as the sun doesn’t melt it so quickly on the flat
terrain. Luckily for me it was compact enough to bear my weight
completely and made it to the top without to much plowing.
Thoughts about running on snow
Sometimes its a bid scary when running over snowy terrain. There is
always a risk that you sink right trough the layer of snow while still
having a good forward motion from the running. This has happens to me a
couple of times, hollow pockets under the snow & in between branches
that lay just under the snow, and it has so far always gone well
without any serious injury. Some sore muscles form time to time but that
has been al for me so far. (Except that time i almost slid of a cliff
at ‘Bryggefjell‘ but that was the fault of ice under the snow cover )
is a bids of a wake-up call when you get that that could have gone
pretty wrong feeling, you tread a lot more carefully afterwards. I dread
getting my leg pined & twisted in the snow so i adjust my speed as
soon as i get a notion that its too soft.
The trail ‘Vestre Nuke‘
in Lunde is close to home. I’ve ran that round several times and its
always a delight to start the season by making my way up its slopes.
It’s the first one that opens up that can be ran all the way right from
of my front door, plus that it’s a open forest and sunny on the top if
the weather is good. It’s only a short round on the trails, about 5km
but a sweet progression on the climb because it has these small breaks
after each incline. Somehow these slightly fatter parts, the corners of
the zig-zag trail up the hill are just at a perfect timing for me to
recover a little before the next incline PS: i tried my new trail shoes for the season the Arc’teryx Norvan SL on this run and they where pretty neat!
Some other trails in the are that dry up quickly are ‘Husefjell’ ,
‘Hestefjell’, ‘Bryggefjell’ & the slopes up to ‘Maskat’ from
‘Hørte’. These are not all on the site yet but i will publish them when
I’ve taken a go at it.
Norwegian runners wanted
For all you runners in Norway you can publish your own trails & blog post from your own blog-sites on this web page. I would love to see some trails and posts from other areas in Norway!
I’ve made some forms that can be used to send inn your trail review or post a blog. I’ve you make a user you can also post blog articles trough your profile and your name & link to your profile & the original article on your own blog site will show on the posts. My idea is that every runner can make or publish its own articles so it becomes a multi author blog where people can read/share info about trial-running throughout Norway.
During the year i will make a effort on the site to improve it’s functionality & make it easier to use. It’s a free time project so I’ll do some work when I’m able.
It’s been a long winter but
the snow is melting and i think the trails in the will open up in a
couple of weeks. time to get ready!
Today my new running shoes for this season came in! I’ve been
running on the Salomon sense series for the last couple of years. Now
I’ve bought something different, the new arc’teryx Norvan SL, a
light(er) and minimalistic shoe. Found a good deal on the web and
couldn’t resist, can’t wait to feel how they run on the trails. A voice
inside me is also telling that i shouldn’t have changed the winning
team, as the Salomons have always fitted perfectly and served me well The orange color was the only color on sale so i went for it, i did however rather prefer the more neutral grey.
now I’m still bound to my winter rounds on mostly gravel roads around
town. I can see that the south west facing sides of the hills around are
getting dry but it will take some more time before the snow is gone on
the flatter parts. A little bid more patience is needed for now.
Back country Skiing trip
Me and my dad took some time off to go on a trip in the mountains at
Setersdal in the start of April. We spent 4 nights in cabins of the
Norwegian tourist association from Langleid to Brokke. We had a splendid
trip with good weather almost all the time. our faces got prettty
burned in the sun..
I can’t believe it! it’s still possible to run high up in the mountains! I’ve never been able to run this high up so late in the year. Its all frozen stiff but yet there is no snow on the ground.
This weekend the question where to run had been an easy choose. i had an endeavor to do in Seljord and it was still possible to run up high. so the choice was the west of Lifjell or the Skovre mountains. Lifjell it was. I knew there where some trails up ‘Røysdalsnuten’, Lifjells highest peak but the weren’t on my maps. I drove up to the closest parking-lot at Grimås (up a windy toll-road) and started running up the marked trail to Tjorbu too look for a way to get to to Røysdalsnuten. Sure enough a signpost appeared giving the direction to the top, a marked trail that wasn’t on my maps! lucky me!
It was a delightful run and this frozen turf made running soo easy and fast. Usually a large portion of the energy of each stroke goes into the ground, especially in the more moist parts of the route. Now it was all frozen solid and i could fly over it without using any energy on squashing down the ground below. My spiked running shoes even went straight over slabs of ice without a problem. I made one big tumble on the ice when i wasn’t paying attention. haha i even slid 5 meters or so down the ice, those technical clothes are slippery! Except a sore knee i escaped that ice slide quite well 🙂
I knew about some small caves with Quartz crystals in the slopes of Røysdalsnuten so i looked form them a while and found some pretty glassy crystals in one of them. While i grew up i loved looking for minerals while on holiday in Scandinavia. i guess that childhood avocation is still there.
Even though the run wasn’t that long about 14,5km and 750 meters up & down i was just as sore as a longer run. the hard underground made it go fast but it also gave my knees and muscles a harder beating. Sunday became quite a lazy day as my knees where pretty sore, some good memories of the frozen landscape. Maybe another weekend up in the local mountains if it won’t snow?
Hey all, been some time. Autumn is keeping winter at bay giving some mild weather in Norway. We had lots of rain temperatures all the way up to +12c in week 45! The sun is gone at about 4 pm each day now so I’ve resulted to the winter program of running rounds on trails and gravel roads in the dark close to where i live. I’ve been a little sick as well, lost about a week of running to some mild fever. but luckily I’m back on top of it again.
Some work has also been done on the Trails of north website to make it more mobile friendly & easier to use. Submit a trail form has been moved so its easier to access. Users can submit posts for the blog trough their profiles (published directly) or by using the form on the frontpage (published after a review from me).
One of my other favorite sports started up again, long-track ice-skating! every Tuesday i practice down in Skien on the 400m track, it opened it doors for the season in November. it has been good to have the ice under my feet and it helps me to keep motivated on my training trough the darker days. I’ve sewn myself a new skating suit in week 44, the last one i had made was getting a little old 🙂
This weekend the rains stopped and i had some days off to run. I revisited a area slightly north of Lifjell (1,5h drive or so) and ran a round on a mountain plateau there. (bid more about that below)
Heksefjell – Blåfjell
So Saturday it was foggy down in the valleys but i was pretty sure there was sunshine to be found further up! So i pack my bag starteds up the car and drove up a little mountain toll road & puff hello blue skies!
I’ve been at the same place last year. At that run i had to bail out since there just was too much snow! (12.11.2017). Haha bid a contrast from now, mild weather and lots of rain melted all the snow last week. Just met a little field of snow here and there. Running went easy until i hit a past without trails on some wetlands after the top of Heksefjell. Man those soft wetlands just sucked the energy straight out of me. Half of the force of each leap just gets absorbed by the soft underground, making it a tiresome endeavor. Luckily the ground became solid again after i climbed up the slopes.
The sea of fog down in the valleys was just amazing to behold from above. After a 2nd lunch break (chocolate break) at the highest point i ran down back to the car while enjoying a perfect sunset!