Another short drive to yet another country-Norway! Leaving Sweden into Norway was perhaps our favourite border crossing so far. The scenery changed a great deal as the flat forest planes of Sweden slowly changed to Norwegian mountains, rising higher by the hour. We even had a lucky encounter with a herd of reindeers, almost as a promise to many more beautiful encounters.
Our first stop was Engerdal. The free camping spot by lake Femunden was a lucky find. A compost loo-which we found in most camping spots throughout Norway-was provided and fishing was free.
The forests surrounding us were alight in the evening sun, spongy lichen covered every inch of the ground and moss greedily covered the rocky shores.
The next day we drove a little further south to Stor-Elvdal to view the metallic gigantic moose that guarded the dense forests. Although man made it appeared to fit in with it’s surroundings, matching the colour of the overcast day and reflecting the trees creating vast illusions of the world around us.
On the same day we drove North-West to a beautiful place named Dovre (a municipality and national park). The drive there was stunning, the mountains beginning to take shape of a typical Norwegian landscape. Rivers flowed through the lichen valleys, which were slowly becoming narrower.
The campsite was free and lay beside a crystal clear river -becoming our water supply- that meandered its way down from the mountain peaks and only a short walk away from several trails.
Following the path that led up the mountain we were soon surrounded by the twisting branches of an undisturbed woodland. As we continued our ascent and my brother continued his search for wolverines, the air slowly became even more crisper and the sounds of birds chirping more alive. The woodland disappeared and with it came endless mountain tops covered in glowing lichen with the odd boulder peaking from it’s hiding place.
Shadows from opposite mountains cast around us and in any other circumstance it would have probably felt eerie, but here it added to the beauty.
The wind was stronger, as to be expected, and I don’t think I have ever taken a breath as fresh as the one I took upon the mountain. It was free of pollution and apart from the small dwelling on the other side of the valley, it was clear of human life. Because of this, not only did it look as if we were the only people for miles but it felt like it too, and in that moment I truly understood why many people worked hard to escape human civilisation completely to feel at one with one’s surroundings.
After a couple of hours or so we had almost reached the top when we encountered two older Norwegian women equipped with full walking gear. After a small conversation we found out that if we were to continue the whole trail it would take 5 hours over the various mountain tops so we made the easy decision of finishing our trek to the top of the mountain before descending once more.
The view was magnificent. The river meandered it’s way along the valley in a perfect formation of a snake as the mountains and ourselves towered over the sparkling water as if everything was being torn between the endless sky above and the unknown valleys and waters below.
On our way down, sheep with snow coloured curls grazed in the lichen, their ringing bells echoing throughout the valley as if from a fairytale and followed me into my dreams. On our day of departure we were awoken by a commotion outside our front door, upon inspection it was horses, not only that, it was a herd of wild horses, all shades from brown to a deep black as if they were bringing autumn early; our departure couldn’t have been much more perfect.