MASSIV Day 2: Sota Sæter – Nørdstedalseter

First full day on the trail. Started from Sota Sæter at 09:00 with 800m steep ascend straight into the densest fog I’ve experienced in quite some time. Couldn’t help thinking that these kind of foggy conditions would be ideal for our current prime minister …

Enjoy the view they said. It really is stunning. Behind the fog

Had the good fortune of checking the map diligently before heading out, and knowing there were no immediate dangers along the trail I decided to proceed on pure GPS despite not being able to see from one cairn to the next. At some point I could barely see the tip of my hiking pole. My mountain guide will quite likely chastise me for this.

Today’s section was around 25km, which wouldn’t have been too bad except it involved traversing roughly 10-15km of massive, slippery boulders. That’s quite the burden on the feet. Also had to wade knee deep across a few rives and water falls which is fun once or twice but quickly gets old when you get a refill of water every time the shoes start feeling a bit more dry.

Hiking alone for 9 hours gives plenty of time to ponder life’s big and small questions. Fortunately I’m travelling with great company, or more accurately said – I enjoy my own company. I’ve come up with and binned more than a handful of new inventions. Also sang through all the Beatles songs I could remember as well as a few I couldn’t remember. One interesting point to note is that even while hiking long distances in bad weather one should never assume to be alone. Ascending a hill top while singing the final verse of the theme song for The Muppet Show at full volume I suddenly found myself face to face with a young couple. The bloke did a pretty decent job trying not to laugh. His girlfriend not so much.

Routine – it’s actually not lethal

While routine at home is boring, it could be a life saver in the mountains. I’ve come to appreciate a strict system of what’s packed in which dry bag, so that warm and wind proof clothing is always easily accessible. Furthermore, a certain routine when arriving in camp at night also makes sense. Make the bed. Refill the water reservoir. Replenish the snack pockets and most importantly, wash a near endless supply of sheep dung off shoes and hiking pants before hanging it to dry overnight. Wet clothes at end of section is OK. At the beginning, not so much


The stay at Nørdstedalseter was just like the dream of Norwegian mountain cabins. The hosts were lovely, the room simple but well kept and the food was beyond exquisite. Deer chops with potatoes, jam and vegetables. I had three adult servings.

Today’s statistics

  • Total distance hiked: 26.19km
  • Total time: 9 hrs, some spent in fog.
  • Total ascent: 1691m 😱
  • Total descent: 1497m (descending is a lot tougher on the body than ascending. Love your knees)
  • Max elevation: 1672m
  • Today’s favourite item: My Alfa Impact hiking boots. They’re nice on the feet even after 9 hours of hiking 1691m up, breathe yet still remain water proof when wading across relatively wild rivers. Wow!
  • Today’s crap moment: My ultralight, durable and water proof gloves are neither water proof nor durable.
  • Today’s word of wisdom: Never assume you’re alone in the mountain…
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Gunnar Florus Mountaineer