MASSIV Day 11: Breistølen- Bjordalsbu

I’m now over halfway through MASSIV and my concern for whether or not my body will handle this is slowly being replaced by a curiosity for what to do next. The past eleven days have flown by in ways I hadn’t imagined possible. Intermittent cell phone reception has made contact with wife and kids possible, and while I miss them immensely I also cannot help but appreciate how much I’m enjoying myself alone on the trail.

While these posts are updated only when I wander into cell phone territory, my tracker map is updated every hour or so by satellite on the Track Me page. Remember to scroll left.

Slept really well at Breistølen last night and woke up to home baked gluten free bread for breakfast, with eggs, ham and cheese. Made a monster lunch pack to suffice for lunch later today and breakfast tomorrow at Bjordalsbu self service cabin.

Today’s section is among the shorter and easier on the entire trail at only 13.3km, which I completed in 4:11 hrs including a long chat with a fellow hiker coming the opposite direction. It’s pretty steady ascent of 785m all the way from beginning to end, but no particularly steep areas. Total descent a mere 238m. The first roughly 10km are easily hiked on soil and gravel, but the last few kilometres towards Bjordalsbu contain a few boulders.

Fortunately I’m pretty well prepared for boulder traversal by now, so having been warned about the terrible boulders towards the end by the friendly hiker I met, I was relieved to be underwhelmed by them when I got there.

It’s interesting to notice how my boulder traversing skills have improved since I started this journey only ten days ago. I’m able to traverse them a lot quicker and to a larger extent on auto pilot than the first couple of days. It’s still slow progress compared to the highlands gravel though. Also, whenever I hit these boulder areas my current train of thought is immediately gone though, most often for good, as I focus on surefootedness and planning the best and most stable looking rocks to step on. This is however quite definitely a section for mountain boots and not light shoes.

I greatly enjoy these brief but friendly conversations with fellow hikers in the mountains. You share a few trail tips on what to expect either direction, some weather updates and general chitchat. I always leave these conversations feeling uplifting.

Today’s weather was overcast without precipitation, but with quite heavy head winds. I’ve noticed that I sometimes get a small headache while wearing the hood of my jacket. It seems to somehow put a a train on the muscles behind my ears. Weird.

Despite the heavy winds it was not particularly cold. I’ve now reached a point where my pace is dictated more by body heat than muscles. If I start getting a bit chilly I speed up and vice versa. Also, I’ve come to really appreciate the versatility of my buff. It’s great for warming the neck and throat, and can easily be pulled up a little to warm the ears or completely at an angle to substitute for a beanie. Certainly today’s favourite item.

Arrived to a locked and empty Bjordalsbu and enjoyed my lunch brought from Breistølen this morning. Then fell into my usual camp routine – get the fire started, sign the visitor’s log book, collect fresh water and firewood, refill the CamelBack water reservoir and snack pockets in my backpack and place the clothes for drying near the fireplace before making my bed. Then ten minutes of yoga to care for and avoid sore muscles.

Bjordalsbu is the third self service cabin out of a total of four on the MASSIV trail. For a celiac, its gluten free food selection comes a bit short, just like Sulebu. The only one with proper non-vegetarian gluten free meals so far has been Slettningsbu. Good thing I brought lunch from Breistølen and a Real Field Meal for dinner.

Self service food room

Just like Sulebu, Bjordalsbu has solar panel for lights and charging appliances, but no mobile phone reception. I much prefer that to Slettningsbu which has no power but reception.

Today is my 16th wedding anniversary with my lovely wife, and I have to admit it feels a bit weird to celebrate it alone in a mountain cabin 1717 metres above sea level. I’ve brought some extra Bamsemums chocolate to celebrate, and will have fruit cocktail for dessert. Hurray!!

Today’s statistics

  • Total distance hiked: 13.3km
  • Total time: 4:11 hrs
  • Total ascent: 785m
  • Total descent: 238m
  • Max elevation: 1717m
  • Today’s favourite item: My super versatile buff
  • Today’s crap moment: Again, none!
  • Toughest section: No really tough sections, so it’s a draw between wet marshlands in the middle and boring and slow boulder traversal at the end.
  • Today’s word of wisdom: Pack everything – EVERYTHING- in dry bags. In addition to raincover on the backpack when needed. Heavy rains could take you by surprise, or you could slip and fall while wading a river and get soaked. Constant access to dry, warm clothes is vital in the mountains, regardless of weather.
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Gunnar Florus Mountaineer