MASSIV Day 16: Finse – Krækkja

Relatively uneventful hike from Finse to Krækkja. Finse was however a bit of a disappointment. Just like Sognefjellshytta, it was so large and full of people that I couldn’t help getting an industrial feeling while there. Staff is nice as everywhere else, but the ratio of hikers to tourists is radically different to the other “cabins”, which creates a different dynamic too. In this case the place was full of Middle Aged Men In Lycra (MAMIL) preparing to ride bicycles from Finse to Flåm. While I sadly haven’t studied psychology, there’s clearly something to be said about the group dynamics of these guys. As a general observation I cannot help but wonder why they need to wear their Lycra biking suits in the dining room and evenings. And in more general terms I wonder how many milliseconds they get to shave off their time thanks to wearing a bicycle suit that is a few sizes too small when their beer belly prohibits them from seeing their toes when they stand up. I am clearly clueless when it comes to bicycle culture. Shame on me, and apologies in advance for the satirical comments about MAMILs to all my bicycling friends.

Today’s section was the first in Hardangervidda, which means I’ve left both Breheimen, Jotunheimen and Skarvheimen behind, and am now on my fourth and final section.

The hike was 24.72km long with 797m ascent and 865m descent. Highest point on the trail was 1467m. There were however no steep sections, so taking my time and having a long lunch break the entire hike was completed in 6:46 hrs. The section starts with a steady ascent for the first 6km, then plateaus out before a mild and steady descent for the final days 10km. No serious wading required, and if you ask me there are rather too many than too few bridges in this area.

Weather was not ideal. A little rain is not a problem, but winds near gale strength combined with rain once again made for armour piercing needles of rain. It’s also funny to note that the wind was strong enough to create a strong and consistent whistling sound between my hiking poles that I carried tied to my backpack. Fortunately the rain gave way to some sunlight for the final 10km or so. The combination of wind and sun, and my body heat, dried the clothes on my body long before I reached Krækkja, today’s destination.

Today’s weather forecast

Now on the final of the four mountain sections of MASSIV I cannot help but make a few observations. I humbly believe the Hardangervidda enthusiasts might have made a small error in expectations management as far as I’m concerned. I find myself missing the wild and varied mountains of Breheimen and Jotunheimen, and begin to worry that the final few days just might turn out to be a tad monotonous. I hope tomorrow’s hike to Dyranut will prove me wrong.

I am delighted and positively surprised that I’ve made it thus far without any accidents, aches or pains. The only minor thing was a few days with some knee quirks early one, but since then it’s been smooth sailing. My hiking pace has also sped up and I now average at about 4km/h. This is of course greatly helped by Hardangervidda being the hiking equivalent of a German autobahn. Even the rockier sections are flat compared to Breheimen.

Nice flat rocks to traverse.

About 5km before arriving at Krækkja, the trail crosses an age old winter path between Nygard and Maurset. These ancient trails fascinate me, and the craftsmanship of building the cairns is impressive. Notice how they remain intact after all these years, and even have built in shallow rocks indicating direction of travel towards the next cairn.

Arrived at Krækkja with plenty of time to spare. Have done my yoga, had a shower, dried my clothes and made my bed, along with all the other post-trail routines that are needed for a smooth through-hike. All in all it’s been a good yet uneventful day.

On the final approach to Krækkja

Today’s statistics

  • Total distance hiked: 24.72 km
  • Total time: 6:46 hrs
  • Total ascent: 797m
  • Total descent: 865m
  • Max elevation: 1467m
  • Today’s favourite item: Fjällräven Vidda Pro Ventilated Trousers. This is my fourth pair, and they are sturdy, reasonably water- and wind proof when impregnated, practical and properly ventilated.
  • Today’s crap moment: Getting tired of making my bed every single day.
  • Toughest section: None really, this is a very easy hike.
  • Today’s word of wisdom: On a through-hike, save weight and plan ahead by mailing yourself care packages along the way. Most DNT cabins with a road or rail connection will happily store them for you until you arrive.
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Gunnar Florus Mountaineer