Reading material for those who love the camping life

By Sven Furuly
Caravan and Caravan magazine, No. 3 June 2021

Camping trip with bonus: Get your feet wet - and make the experiences even bigger!

Never before have so many Norwegians traveled around in a motorhome or with a caravan on the hook to experience Norway at every turn. The sights are many, but if you get your feet wet, the trip can be even better.

Who does not get a little upset in the back after sitting a few hours behind the wheel? It is quick to stay seated when the traffic is flowing well and there is also a lot of beautiful nature that can be seen behind every turn. Part of the freedom of a motorhome and caravan is to stop and take a break when you feel like it. And grab a bite to eat when hungry. But how often do you stop to switch to something else on your feet and take a hike to top the journey with even more good impressions and great experiences? If I sting away in a bad conscience, I must admit that I too am easily tempted to sit behind the wheel and let myself be comfortably transported towards the sunset or the destination.

Unique experiences

But gradually I have started to drive to the side and park the car on the trip over the many beautiful mountain passes that are open for free movement in summer. In the previous issue of the magazine you could read a short presentation of our eighteen national tourist routes. We find these all over the country, and all of these offer unique driving experiences through the best of Norwegian nature. If you choose to drive one of these, however, you should be aware that some of these can offer a little extra challenges for you who travel in a motorhome or have a caravan on the hook during the busiest holiday season. In some places it can be both cramped and steep, and it can often be cramped for space on the most spectacular viewpoints and the most popular picnic areas.

Roads and trails

The main road network in Norway also includes many beautiful mountain passes, traffic through scenic valleys and rivers and lakes are just a few meters from the shoulder of the road. With thousands of kilometers of forest roads, old tractor roads and trails all over the country, it will never be difficult to find a suitable hiking terrain for everything from exercisers to people with hiking in the woods and fields as the great passion. The Norwegian Tourist Association has for many years done a fantastic job of clearing, marking and maintaining trails, and at the same time built up an impressive network of tourist cabins all over the country. Local hiking teams and committed individuals contribute every single day throughout the year to make hiking or skiing trips safe and unforgettable experiences for most people.

mountain hiking

In many places, marked hiking routes start from parking lots that are connected to the many main roads in Norway. A brief look at the map of southern Norway shows us where the main traffic routes between Eastern Norway and Vestlandone goes. How about stopping and giving yourself a different experience the next time you cross the mountain. Whether you set aside a few hours for a leg stretch, or actually choose to book accommodation in a cabin many hours of walking from where you parked the motorhome or caravan? Admittedly, the corona situation makes it a bit difficult to implement the last option this year, but better times are coming. Haukelifjell, Hardangervidda, Hol -Aurland, Hemsedalsfjellet, Filefjell, Strynefjellsveien, Sognefjellveien and Dovrefjell are good examples of such roads where the starting points for marked T-trails are many.

DNT map

Map extracts and route suggestions are often set up at the starting point, but it is best to have one of the many maps published by DNT for the area in question. These are easy-to-read maps with hiking trails, accommodations, difficulty levels and estimates of time spent. If you choose a more spontaneous stop, a search will www.ut.no provide you with fast and up-to-date information on tour options exactly where you have stopped or plan to stop. With good weather and a backpack you can quickly pack with a little lunch and extra clothes, you can easily give the trip new and good experiences.

Mountain shelf

One of the big surprises we have had on our many trips over the last ten years was the visit to the farm Fuglesteg, which is located closest to a mountain ledge above the small place Fortun in Luster municipality. A small parking lot, a gate and a kind of staircase, where a post with various destinations for hiking is set up, is quickly overlooked. Fortun is located in the innermost part of Lustrafjorden, and whether you are on your way up to Turtagrø on Sognefjellsveien, or you are on your way west towards Sogndal, you are through the small town in a few seconds. Thanks to celebrities from the region, we were invited to make a stop, and even though it looked strenuous at first, we had an unforgettable trip up to 630 meters above the blue-green fjord. The farm, or rather "Høgdegarden" as it is described as local, was built in 1830. The main house is fifteen meters long and has one meter thick stone walls.

Volunteer effort

The hike up from county road 55 takes two to three hours. It is steep, but the trail is good and the trip up is just under 5 kilometers. A fire in 1985 destroyed much of the farm and only the stone walls were left. In the year 2000, work began on the reconstruction on the initiative of Luster Turlag. Thanks to a roll of the krone that resulted in more than two million kroner and 2500 man-hours, as well as support from both the authorities and the business community, the farm re-emerged. 5 years later, the beautiful main building was open for visits and organized as one of the cabins in DNT's extensive grid of 23 beds. When our tour group spent the night at Fuglesteg, the restoration work on the other houses on the farm was almost complete.

Queen's visit

In 2020, a photo exhibition was also arranged in the barn, and although it is a self-service cabin, it was also partially staffed during the high season. For day visitors, people from Luster Turlag tempted with freshly baked honey cakes to those who came to the farm to enjoy the fantastic view that extends far beyond the fjord and over to Jostedalsbreen. But little can be compared to sitting in the meter-deep window frames with a glass in hand and enjoying the last rays of the sun when the sun goes down in the west, and a few hours later sitting out on the embankment and eating breakfast after sleeping in the good beds. Queen Sonja, who is an avid hiker, was invited to the official opening in 2005, but declined. However, she has visited the place privately later and spoke with enthusiasm about the place and her stay. We even had an unforgettable trip with varying weather conditions - but precisely the is also a bit of the excitement that is created when we travel in Norway.

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