The 7 hour drive to Femunden National Park saw our surroundings change from quiet cultivated plains to a wilder exciting landscape. The further we went the birches had less leaves letting the pines dominate with the white mosses on the forest floor giving a special feel to it. Then the otherwise dismal weather lifted and we got glimpses of snow covered mountains, beautiful! and the atmosphere in the car was getting tense with anticipation for a weekend of adventure.
This sense of eagerness might have been subdued slightly when we jumped out of the car next to the lake and was hit by a slightly too cold breeze! We got our stuff into the canoes and faced the waves! Tired from the long drive no one felt like paddling long so at the first suitable camping spot we pulled up the canoes. Well suitable might be a bit too positive a word, large boulders everywhere does not really make camping easy! However the soft bushes and moss made up for the uneven ground. We set up the tents and cooked in between rain drizzles and some shivering. We were all happy to snuggle into our sleeping bags that night.
Morning and after packing up it was out on the water again. Looking back it was really exciting paddling through the waves, back then most of us probably thought it was a bit crazy! The waves just lapped over the edge a few times as we struggled against the currents. In between islands and small bays it was actually really pretty, though we have to admit we were mostly concentrated on the paddling. We arrived to our planned site after around three hours! The place was amazing and it was a happy group who ran around the flat ground perfect for camping, right next to a river and best of all a nice place to have campfires with dry wood supplied! After settling down, some of us were back on the now calmer water to try out their fishing luck, others explored the river and forests. In the evening the cheerful group huddled around the fire, cooking pancakes, sipping coffee or beer, warming cold fingers and toes, and drying wet clothes.
The next day nature had a welcome surprise for us, sun and blue skies! What else could a group setting off on a 30kilometre hike ask for? The scenery both over the lake and along the river we walked was remarkable and as we got higher up it got even more stunning! Reindeer ran over the marshes to our amusement and during our lunch break we could enjoy the sun while lying on a tiny beach of white sand. The view from the hill we climbed was worth the walk, miles of stunted forest, dotted with blue lakes and bordered by white mountains. Back at camp, tired but satisfied we enjoyed the last evening at Femunden under a night sky lit by the moon and stars. On short trips like this you realise its nearly over at the same time as you realise how much fun you are having and how much you want to stay! This feeling does not make It less of an experience of course and only makes you look restless for the next outdoor event even more!
Sunday we were up early, cleared up quickly as possible and got going, not that we wanted to but we knew we had a long drive home. The canoeing was great, with much calmer water we could appreciate our surroundings more even if it was raining a bit. Still, the sun breaking through the clouds just enough to give a very special sense of place! With the grating of our canoes over the gravel beach next to the car park our trip had come to an end! We all had an unforgettable time, made good friends and are looking forward to our next adventure together!
– Martin Austad