Hiking in the Senja and the Lofoten Islands areas of Norway
We were able to spend several days hiking through the spectacular landscapes of northern Norway above the Arctic Circle thanks to Mountain Hiking Holidays
Dried Cod Fish
Why do I start a post about hiking with a photo of the head of a dried codfish?
- The row of teeth is a good approximation of the iconic environment we were hiking in as seen in the photo above.
- Cod are a major part of life in this part of Norway.
We had reasonably good weather with mild temperatures and almost no rain. Unfortunately, some of the hikes which were to take us to panoramic views only provided us with an intimate encounter with fog and/or clouds. We found the trails to be strenuous. The ‘trails’ were steep and generally straight up – no switchbacks. There is little indication of trail construction rather the trail is the result of repeated trips by hikers.
A summary of this trip is available here.
Our first three nights were spent in Tromso located 400km north of the Arctic Circle and surrounded by chilly fjords and craggy snowcapped peaks.
Hiked to a viewpoint on Brosmetinden mountain. One of the photos attempts to show the precipitous plunge to the sea. Looking over the edge shows nothing but water. Views of this type turned out to be rather common during this trip. Unfortunately, it was foggy-cloudy and thus our view was restricted. After we returned to transportation the sun was making an appearance!
In the afternoon we hiked to the top of the Tromso funicular (Storsteinen). The path is composed of approximately 1300 stone steps. Straight up, no respite. Lots of fun!! View of Tromso and surrounding area was definitely worth the effort. You begin to realize that this part of Norway is basically mountains and fjords.
Our next outing was to Blavatnet (‘Blue Lake’). An easy hike in terms of distance and elevation gain but made difficult by having to walk on medium-sized rocks for much of the way making the hike rather trying. When you climb over the massive terminal moraine around the open end of the lake you are confronted with the dazzling turquoise-blue lake (the color in the photos is close). The lake is surrounded on two sides by almost verticle mountains with glaciers.
Next up was a morning hike up Nattmalsfjell. This was a straight forward hike to a peak with views of the surroundings. But foggy-cloudy weather limited the views. It was also quite windy and chilly. The afternoon hike seemed like we had been transported to a different world. The starting point for the hike was a white sand beach on the island of Hillesoya. The sun was out and the water was turquoise in color. Perfect for a lunch stop. The trail was steep with loose footing especially treacherous on the way down. The view from the top of the mountain was marvelous – blue water and numerous small and large islands. Were we in the south sea?
Our lodging has changed. We are now staying on Senja Island in Hamm i Senja.
On the way to the trailhead for today’s hike, we stopped at a viewpoint which provided good views of the surrounding mountains. As we drove along the fjord we could see the endpoint of the hike, the peaks Hesten (‘the horse’) and the Segla (‘the sail’). We only hiked to the gap between the two mountains. Others climbed both. For a short time, one of the nordic gods appeared near Segla. Again the view was often obscured by the fog. As I reviewed the photos I felt a tug of disappointment – sure wished I could have hiked up Segla. But ……..
Today we are hiking to Husfjell (‘house mountain’) peak. A fairly straight forward hike except for the last part that ascends to the actual peak, which I did not attempt. Another cloudy day that limited the expansive views. In the afternoon we did a short hike to Grytvatnet lake.
Up next was a day-long ride. Great scenery but a long, long ride. Driving in this area is slow for two reasons. The roads are curvy and rather narrow in many places (but I sure would like to have my Miata here) and secondly there is only one road which does not go directly to where you may be headed. The roads follow the coastline which is not very straight. One crossing from island to island was a tunnel that actually goes under the fiord.
We are now staying in the town of Reine i Lofoten. A fishing village located on the island of Moskenesøya in the Lofoten archipelago. You will have to visit many, many places to find a more stunning location for a village. The red fisherman’s cabins along the edge of the shore provide a striking contrast to the surrounding mountains. In reality, most of the fisherman’s cabins have been converted into rustic lodging for us tourists.
Cod fishing both commercial and recreational is important to the Lofoten area. Cod are sometimes referred to as Norway’s ‘white gold’. Today fishing is still one of Norway’s major industries with exports to Spain, Portugal, and Africa. The fisheries are sustainable due to agreements between Norway and Russia. The wooden racks used to dry the fish are abundant throughout the area.
A marvelous sunny day for a change! A boat trip up the fjord west of Reine to the ‘village’ of Vindstad. From there we took a trail along the Bunesfjorden to Bunes Beach. From there the trail went up to the peak of Brunakseltinden. Stopped short of the peak along a ridge separating the Bunesfjorden from the Kirkefjord. Great views thanks to the full sunlight. On the return, we stopped at a ‘temporary’ cafe in Vindstad to rest and enjoy the marvelous scenery.
Today we hiked up to Trolldalsvatnet (‘The Troll Lake’). A very pleasant and restful setting. We did actually see some trolls.
Our final hike was to Kvalvika (‘whale bay’). After hiking to the beach we ascended Ryten mountain. But again the views were often obscured by the clouds. As we walked back the sun was more prominent and we had a nice view of one of the numerous small communities that we encountered during the trip.
Some of the flowers observed on the hikes.