MASSIV Day 19: Sandhaug – Litlos

Saturday, August 27th

Today has been pretty close to perfect. As I am writing this I sit baking in the sun enjoying the beautiful view at Litlos, one of the most remote cabins on the entire MASSIV route. I’m also enjoying a well deserved glass of apple cider and a bag of crisps. And once again listening to The Beatles’ Here Comes The Sun.

I’m glad I got to experience this part of Hardangervidda too, as the contrast to yesterday’s hike couldn’t be starker. Where yesterday was an endless tundra of grey and green, today offered a stunningly beautiful and varied landscape with valleys, hills, mountains and rivers. Perfect weather helped too.

While today’s section was among the longer ones on MASSIV, it almost felt too short considering it’s energising beauty. The total distance was 27km, with a total ascent of 661m and descent of 710m evenly decided across the entire section so it neither felt uphill or downhill at all. Highest elevation was just over 1400m.

The first few kilometres between Sandhaug and Besso are quite uneventful and somewhat swampy. From there on however, the scenery somehow manages to become even more stunning for every kilometre walked. I took over two hundred pictures today and have absolutely not a clue how to go about choosing between them.

As mentioned the hike starts a tad uneventful, but picks up as you ascend the hills west of Besso. After you pass Bessevatnet and approach Bismarvatnet you’re going from high point to high point. As you approach Litlos and pass between Holken and Småholkane the Litlos lake appears and there’s a quick descent to the Litlos cabin.

Throughout this section there are a few wet areas and some rivers to cross by hopping from rock to rock. There should be absolutely no need for heavy mountain boots though, and I did splendidly in my super light Topo mountain running shoes. Having the Alfas in the back adds a kilo, but they say a kilo saved on the feet equals five in the back, so according to that I’m doing fine.

I am still surprised to find that I’m still not suffering any aches, pains or blisters. More so, even though my backpack is now over a kilogram heavier as I’m now carrying my Alfa shoes and jacket instead of wearing them, I can barely feel the weight of my backpack anymore. After twenty days with it on for most of the day, it’s almost as if it’s grown attached. Also, I believe this confirms my theory that choosing a really good quality comfortable backpack is far more important than picking an ultralight one.

Arrived at Litlos in warm late summer sunshine, and much to my surprise that we have mutual close friends with the cabin hosts. It is indeed a small world. Today I also learned that Litlos is the cabin that is the furthest away from roads in all of Northern Europe. We were a total of ten guests for dinner. Great food. Great conversations. And my theory once again proved; the further you are from civilisation, the nicer the people you meet!

Today’s statistics

  • Total distance hiked: 27 km
  • Total time: 7:11 hrs
  • Total ascent: 661m
  • Total descent: 710m
  • Max elevation: 1400m
  • Today’s favourite item: DNT ultralight silk bed sheets, weighing only 340g, is super soft and comfortable and packs down to the size of a fist.
  • Today’s crap moment: Not a second.
  • Toughest section: A tad wet through the quagmire immediately after leaving Sandhaug.
  • Today’s word of wisdom: Yoga. Or at least stretch. Every single day on a through-hike, invest 10-15 minutes in a proper stretch to prevent injuries and cramps.
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Gunnar Florus Mountaineer