MASSIV Day 21: Hellevassbu – Haukeliseter

The very last day on the trail. A day I’ve been dreading. Had the final Real Field Meal with Pulled Pork last night and enjoyed watching the sunset over the mountains before yet another early night.

Shared the cabin with four Germans and a couple of Israelis. The Germans contributed washing out as one should in the morning, which was nice.

Today’s section was another beautiful section with sufficient hills and descents to offer variation without being too hard to hike. Total distance of 22.71km was completed in six and a half hours, with an ascent of 743m and descent of 918m. The highest point at 1390m just west of Årmoteggi after about seven kilometres. The track is varied and includes some snow-covered areas, some quagmire, some massive boulders and a lot of views.


One of my favourite spots in today’s section is on the descent after passing Årmoteggi towards Holmasjøen. Another nice view is towards Mannevatn where you can see the trail for kilometres ahead. Both are worth a shot.

Had an extraordinarily long lunch at Mannevatn, probably in a futile attempt to postpone the inevitable- the end of the trail. Nice view though. And from there on there’s just one final ascent and then a somewhat steep descent down to Haukeliseter.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed the past few days is that the rivers and lakes in this area are mostly undeveloped. You pass no dams, hydroelectric power plants or completely dried out rivers.

The closer the trail is to come to an end, the more questions I’ve got about lessons learned and the biggest takeaway from the past 3 weeks and 400 kilometres. For one I’ve got confirmation that I really do enjoy my own company. It’s been everything from long conversations to comfortable quiet time.

One thing that has caught me by surprise is how fast time passes while on a through-hike like this. As I set out I was under the false impression that I’d have plenty of time to ponder life’s big questions, complete a confirmation speech to my daughter and a lot of other things. Didn’t happen. Even the long days of 8-9 hours in heavy rain, wind and fog went by surprisingly quickly.

Other than that – what have I learned? Not as much as one would have expected, or hoped. I found a new and better way to store my gloves and other things I want easy access to out of the way. Hang the carabiner on the pole hook on the left shoulder strap and then just click things in when not in use.

What I have found though, is that proper planning really does pay off. I spent weeks and months planning this solo expedition. Created a monster spreadsheet with everything in it, and thanks to that I had no surprises along the way. No negative experiences. No missing pieces of clothing or equipment and nothing carried along that I didn’t need. With the wonderful exception of my first aid kit and emergency shelter, which stayed untouched for the entire three weeks. All I have left in my food bag is two bags of Earl Grey tea. Coincidentally the box of raisins I had brought for the final section summed it up very well:

Good results are worth the time it takes to plan them.

Sun-Maid Raisins

Travelling three weeks and 400km with only 7-8kg backpack has its limitations, but nothing that ever placed me at risk or posed a serious inconvenience. At least to me. Keeping the water supply under half a litre for most of the days certainly helped.

I have also noticed how much easier it has become to hop along boulder areas without having to stop and plan, or worry too much about slipping and falling. Now it’s all on auto-pilot.

I’ve also met a few people who have hiked MASSIV significantly faster than me, and a few slower. What’s great about MASSIV through is that each is free to hike their own way. For me, taking my time, exploring, enjoying and experiencing, has been an integral part of the expedition. Like getting early to a cabin and just relaxing alone in the sun, or making new acquaintances in the rain.

There is one big difference though. A noticeable difference that I am proud of:

Before this expedition I really enjoyed being a visitor to the mountains. Now however, the mountains feel like home. Like an old friend. And that’s worth a small celebration in itself.

And with that, it’s the end for this trail. I still have some statistics that I’ve promised to post. Total length, number of steps, ascents and descents, intensity minutes and calories balance. That will be in a few days though. For now, here’s the statistics for the final section of MASSIV.

Today’s statistics

  • Total distance hiked: 22.71 km
  • Total time: 6:33 hrs
  • Total ascent: 743m
  • Total descent: 919m
  • Max elevation: 1390m
  • Today’s favourite item: My 3M Futuro knee braces that have supported my knees every day for the entire hike and are now quite likely ready for retirement.
  • Today’s crap moment: Every time realising it was the final day.
  • Toughest section: The final descent down to Haukeliseter, knowing it was the end of the trail and “Post-Expedition Melancholy” was soon to set in.
  • Today’s word of wisdom: Dream big. Then go do it.
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Gunnar Florus Mountaineer