Russenes – Alta
24 May 2017 – 28 May 2017
TOTAL: 254 km
24 Maj 2017 (Wednesday) — by the E6 road to Alta
Distance: 29.3 km
There is no doubt an advantage to leaving for the walk of the campsite, you can pack in peace and have breakfast somewhere else than in a tent. We had to find new ways of packing our backpacks, as now we had less equipment and more food. The backpacks weighed roughly the same, but this time they were packed with “good” stuff, which will disappear in time.
We started our walk to Alta. Due to winter conditions, we decided to continue this stage along the roads and observe how it will be changing. We had to prepare ourselves for more and more traffic with every kilometre. We walked slowly, to get the rhythm, step by step, along the grey roadsides. There was a change of scenery, we left the fjords and went deeper inland. We walk in the valley, and everything around was covered under snow, only the grey lines of the roads were standing out on a white background. Since the snow was more accessible than water, the coffee breaks and lunches took us more time, as we had to melt the snow first. But it was worth the wait, as the snowy coffee taste delicious :)
In the evenings we were looking for a piece of land by the road not covered by snow and there we camped. We usually managed to set up the tent before it started to snow. And it snowed quite often in the evenings and at nights. Whereas in the mornings we had to pack up wet tent and walk in the snow or sleet. In the middle of the day it usually cleared up and in the afternoons we could enjoy the sun.
25 May 2017 (Thursday)– by the E6 road, Finnmarksvidda plateau
Distance: 29.3 km
Tens of kilometres before Alta we walked onto the plateau, and for us it was the most difficult part of this stage. Walking through a beautiful gorge we climbed to about 500 m above sea level and got onto the plateau — a piece of exposed terrain, where the wind blow with full force, having no obstacles. And in front of us we saw miles of straight road. At first, we had wind in our backs, so walking was easier, but we felt freezing cold. While setting up the tent, our fingers were frozen, and the blowing wind was taking away all the warmth out of the tent. Even the pen did not work well, as the ink froze.
26 May 2017 (Friday) – by the E6 road, about 35 km from Alta
Distance: 19.5 km
In the morning, it was difficult to leave the warm sleeping bag and go out to coldness, but staying in a tent was not an option, because it was cold anyway. To begin with, we walked with the wind in the backs, but as the road began winding, the wind was attacking us from different directions. There was no place to hide, so we got off the embankment and sat down on the side of the road for a moment to have a snack, as we weren’t willing to stop for longer. At one of these short breaks, a cyclist from Sweden stopped by, and we had a chat. It was nice to know that we are not the only one struggling with the cold and the wind.
With every turn we thought it was the end of the plateau and soon we will be descending, but our hopes were in vain.
27 May 2017 (Saturday) – Alta Solvang Camping
Distance: 33.7 km
Only after two days we started to descend into the valley. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, it was cold, but the wind wasn’t so harmful. Soon we reached the fjord and the town. As it was going so well and not many kilometres left to the campsite, we decided to speed up and get there on that day.
We passed one campsite, and were heading for another, located closer to the city centre. To our surprise, however, it was closed, like closed forever. Apparently someone decided to sell the land to developer, at least it looked like it. We sat down at the bus stop and checked our options, whether to go further or go back and what to do. The situation was getting complicated by the fact that next day was Sunday, which meant closed shops and no possibility of resupplying.
We decided to go back about 4 km to a campsite outside of the city, which we have passed on our way here. We did not even consider that it can be closed as well. But unfortunately it was closed, this time because it was still before the season. It was going to open only in few days. We throw our hands up. We hoped for a bath and some rest, and here we are going there and back again for nothing. In one of the building at the campground, people were preparing for a bigger party. From them we found out what was going on, we asked them for some water and permission to stay overnight. At dinner in the light of setting sun, we discussed our options.
28-29 May 2017 (Sunday-Monday) – Camp Alta AS
Distance: 22.5 km
We decided to stay in Alta, but move to another campsite, on the other side of the city, first making sure it was open.
On Sunday we went to the city, stopping at the petrol station for coffee break. We also found, that instead of going through the city, we could follow the path along the river. It was raining harder and harder. The path was in good condition, there was more mud than snow lying around. We were happy to get off the roads. After arriving at the campsite and paid for two nights at once. We sorted ourselves out, made laundry, ate properly, made supplies, and most important thing, we sorted my flights to England.
While sitting in the warm kitchen area, we were looking through windows at the falling snow. Where are you, Spring?