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Andøya – Arctic Road Trip Day 8 and 9

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Høyvika, Andøya

Andøya is one of the islands forming the Vesterålen archipelago. In the summer you can take advantage of the ferry connecting Andøya and Senja, which makes for a scenic road trip along the coast as opposed to the main inland route, E6. 

Andøya has amazing beaches and is a great playground for road cycling, roller skiing, trailrunning and kayaking. It also offers tourist attractions such as whale safari, bird safari and the Aurora Space Ship, which unfortunately is closed down in 2019. 

I was there for the amazing trails around Måtind, a much photographed peak just south of the fishing village, Bleik, and to go roller skiing along the national scenic route on the west coast of Andøya. 

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Måtinden, with the view of the bird island, Bleiksøya.

The Trails

The coastal trail from Bleik to Stave, which passes Måtinden at 408 meters above sea level, is about 9 km. You can also reach Måtinden from Baugtua, a trailhead starting from a parking about midway on FV976 between Stave and Bleik.

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I did a return run to Måtinden from Stave beach and added a loop on the plateau behind Måtinden. From Stave most of the climb is at the beginning of the run, providing you with magnificent views of the Stave beach and village from the start and, after the first steep climb, you are rewarded with a great view of the beach Høyvika. To reach Måtinden you continue north. It is not always obvious where the path goes, but unless you are caught by the fog (as I was at the end of the run) it is easy to see where you are going and the terrain is easy and fun to overcome off-track. Once at the peak of Måtinden you have great views of Bleiksøya, a small characteristic bird island housing thousands of puffins as well as eagles. 

Strava for details: Måtinden trail runIMG_0470

 

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Rollerskiing and cycling

The national scenic route   along the west coast is almost flat and excellent for rollerskiing as well as cycling. I jumped out of the car at the west junction of FV974 and FV973 and roller skied the 30 kilometers to Stave beach, where we had rented an apartment (see below). After about 12 kilometer you reach the view point Bukkekjerka, and after another 10 kilometer you ski on a breakwater with the ocean on your left and the Skogvoll lake on your right. Another 7 kilometer and you reach the village of Stave while the road continues for additional 20 kilometers all the way up to Andenes, if you would like to go further.

Strava for details: Andøya rollerskiingProcessed with VSCO with l5 preset

 

Where to Stay

We stayed at Stave Camping in a one-bedroom fully-equipped apartment (sleeps 6) called the Shipwreck. The location was absolutely great and if you have the weather on your side, this is the place to be for sunset/midnight sun.

The Drive

The drive from Nyksund to Stave is about 2.5 hours and 140 kilometers. You will pass by Sortland again. Please see previous post on information about Sortland. Make sure you take time to stop at the view points provided, such as Bukkekjerka (mentioned above) and, when driving to Andenes for the ferry to Senja, Kleivodden.

The ferry between Andenes in Andøya and Gryllefjord in Senja takes about two hours and runs only in the summer. You can check the schedule here.

Nyksund in Vesterålen – Arctic Road Trip Day 7

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Queen’s Trail, Nyksund

Continuing north on our arctic road trip, our next destination is Nyksund, a small fisherman’s village in the Vesterålen archipelago, north of the more famous Lofoten archipelago. The traditional fisherman’s village slowly fell into disuse, but is now an active and creative place with artists and tourism businesses. My reason for going there was to run the Queen’s trail between Nyksund and Stø.

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Happy trailrunner!

The Queen’s Trail

The Queen’s trail between the two fiserman’s villages of Nyksund and Stø is a round trip of about 17 kilometers. Due to steep parts it is recommended to run the mountain part of the trail from Nyksund to Stø and the coast part coming back to Nyksund (anti-clockwise). I did the opposite direction, which also worked out fine, but would do the “correct” direction if I got the chance again. With small kids I recommend to take the coastal trail only. The highest point on the round trip is Finngamheia 448 m.a.s.l.

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Skipssanden
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View of Skipssanden

The trail takes you to the beautiful beach Skipssanden, the view of which you can also enjoy from the mountain part of the trail. The beach is a short hike from Stø in case you don’t have the time to do the full hike.

The Queen’s route was broadcasted as part of NRK’s summer program “minute by minute” with the outdoor celebrity Lars Monsen last year, and you can watch one of the episodes and the beautiful scenery here. This is one of my absolute favorite trails in Norway. There is no boring moment and if you do the hike in the evening you may be all alone on the trail and even see the midnight sun.

Strava for details: Nyksund – Stø – Nyksund

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The climb from Stø.

Accommodation

Truth be told, we did not enjoy our choice of accommodation, which was Holmvik Brygge, where we stayed at “Giseløya” with shared bathrooms. Although the place does indeed have an interesting historic vibe, it does not provide value for money in our opinion. I would recommend to try out other alternatives, suggested here, or stay at the camping ground in Stø.

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Stø

The Drive

The drive from Nordskot harbor to Nyksund is 250 kilometers and takes about 5 hours, including the ferry from Bognes to Lødingen. I recommend a stop in Sortland, where you can grab a bite at Miscela Kaffebar and stock up on snacks and other groceries. If open (check the website), I also suggest stopping at Eldhusbakeriet, a few kilometers south of Sortland.

Manshausen – Arctic Road Trip Day 5 & 6

Processed with VSCO with g6 presetNext up on the Arctic Road Trip itinerary is Manshausen. You may already have seen pictures of the award-winning sea cabins on the island Manshausen on Instagram, blogs or in magazines. Manshausen is owned by the explorer Børge Ousland and is a unique destination if you want to experience nature, whether by simply sitting in your private sea cabin watching the ocean flow by or whether padling, hiking, running, diving, fishing or other activities are your thing. I applaud initiatives like Manshausen, which really takes traveling to a new level.

The fairy tale at Manshausen starts from the minute you are being picked up by boat at the harbor in Nordskot. The wind in your face during the short boat trip promises a fresh and different experience, which certainly continues as you walk into the sea cabin. You may feel like never wanting to leave.

The Cabins

The seven sea cabins provide compact living Scandinavian style and consist of a small bedroom with a 140cm bed and a single bed underneath, corian bathroom and a main room with a walkthrough corian kitchen, a 160cm bed in the back and living room in the front. There is nothing like waking up here in the morning! Be warned that in the summer 24 hours of daylight may mess up with your sleep. The curtains provided do not help with that.

You may cook your own food in the cabin, have lunch/dinner at the restaurant, or you can grill outside at one of the campfires provided. Breakfast is included and served at the main house, where you can also find a library/living room.

Activities

Although you may not want to leave your cabin, there are so many cool things to do at Manshausen. First on my agenda was to explore the beautiful white sanded beaches around Manshausen by kayak. And of course, I checked out some of the trails on the mainland. My choice as a hike/run to Sørskottinden, which takes you along a pretty steep trail in the forest up to a small lake, which provides Steigen with drinking water (bathing prohibited). From the lake and going further up you get a great view of Steigen and the Lofoten islands across the fjord. From Sørskottinden you can also continue along the ridge towards Nordskottinden. For the ridge a guide and proper equipment is advised and may be arranged with Manshausen.

Strava for details: Sørskottind

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View from Sørskottinden
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Nordskottinden and Sørskottinden

Another great run is “Dronningruta” (the queen’s trail) over Fløya, which starts at Skånland and takes you to Holkestad. The drive to Skånland from Nordskot is about 40 mintues.

You may also choose a more chill approach and try out the hot-tub and cool off in the saltwater pond. There is also a sauna next to the pond.

More on the activities offered here.

Getting there

If you have followed my itinerary, traveling to Manshausen from Rødøy takes about six hours in addition to the ferry, which takes between 40 minutes and two hours, depending on the schedule. I would therefore recommend adding another overnight stay on the road, especially since there are so many things to see and do along the road (make sure you get a glimpse of the glacier Svartisen I had planned to run up to Sandhornet in Gildeskål, and stayed overnight at Saltstraumen. Unfortunately, weather prevented me from doing the hike/run and Saltstraumen wasn’t that interesting, so I would recommend to search for other accommodation alternatives for example in Gildeskål.

Make sure you make a stop at some of the view points established along the road, such as Ureddplassen, Storvika and Gildeskål.

Manshausen is also worth the trip in its own. More on how to get there here: http://www.manshausen.no/en/travel-to-manshausen/

 

 

Rabothytta – Rødøy – Arctic Road Trip Day 4

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Looking down at Klokkergården on Rødøy.

Waking up at Rabothytta, at the feet of the magnificent Okstindan mountains, your best option would be to stay. I am sure I could spend a full day enjoying the views and the quietness, that is if I could avoid exploring the surrounding mountains. This time I had to move on, and already at eight in the morning I started the one hour hike down from the cabin in the morning sun. 

After the almost spiritual experience near Okstindan mountains, I had decided to head out to the coast for the remaining part of the road trip. The first destination was Rødøy, a small island about two hours with the ferry from the mainland, when arriving from the south (important information on travel planning to Rødøy below). With Rødøy on the itinerary, you get to explore the northern part of the coastal route (“Kystriksveien”) as a wonderful side effect.

The drive & the ferry

From the parking in Leirskardalen the drive to the harbour, Kilborghamn, where you can take the ferry to Rødøy, is about 2.5 hours. After about an hour you reach Mo I Rana, the last city of some size on the route. Take the opportunity to stock up on necessities. In another forty minutes you reach the coastal route. Several beautiful view points have been created along the road in order to inspire you to take a break and take in the surroundings, such as Hellåga, about an hour from Mo I Rana.

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Hellåga view point

The ferry only runs twice a day, so make sure you check the schedule and plan your trip carefully, both for your arrival at Rødøy and your departure.

Klokkergården

The place to stay at Rødøy is Klokkergården, a more than 100 years old school building, which has been renovated by Malin and her family to one of the most unique  accommodation opportunities in Norway. The rooms give you the feeling of staying at someone’s home, and the restaurant downstairs serve impeccable food. Klokkergården is also the starting point for the climb to the famous mountain, Rødøyløva, which was my reason for adding Rødøy to my itinerary in the first place.

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Rødøyløva just before midnight.

Rødøyløva – the hike

Hoping to experience the midnight sun from the top, I waited until late in the evening before running up to Rødøyløva. The mountain has its name from the resemblance of a lion (“Red island lion”). Watching clouds coming in, in the end I had to give it a go a couple of hours before midnight.

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IMG_9921The peak is at 440 meters above sea level and if you are in shape you will reach the peak in around 30 minutes. The first part of the trail is in the forest and is improved by the help of steps laid down by sherpas. The last part is quit exposed, but feels safe as long as the stone is dry. As you gain height quickly the view is simply amazing all the way up to the lion peak, and there are several opportunities for grammable pictures, even if the clouds get in the way of the midnight sun. If it is windy, you will hear a spectacular “noise” from the front wall of Rødøyløva.

If you have the time, check out all the connecting trails you see on your way down, one takes you to a beautiful white sand beach. The island is not big, so you wont get lost.

I love this run/hike/climb so much, I would have done it twice if I had the time!

Strava for details: Rødøyløva (and some of the connecting trails)

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From the top of the Lion, looking north.

 

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The white beaches in front of the Lion.
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The Lion wall.

Inderøya – Rabothytta – Arctic Road Trip Day 3

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Rabothytta

From Inderøya, continuing your drive towards the arctic circle, one obvious choice would be the coastal route, which starts in Steinkjer and runs along the coast all the way up to Bodø. Having explored the southern part of the coastal route before, this time I went for the much faster, but oh so boring, drive along the route E6, as one of my main targets for this road trip was the architectural gem, Rabothytta (the Rabot cabin), which is one of many DNT (Norwegian Trekking Association) lodging facilities throughout Norway. This turned out to be a really amazing experience, which I will get back to below.

Exploring Inderøya

Considering the long drive, you may want to get your heart rate up exploring Inderøya in the morning. I went for a short and sweet roller ski workout north along route 761. If you opt for a longer workout, taking the other direction, towards Mosvika, would allow you to get a taste of ski legend Petter Northug’s training ground and the beautiful Skarnsund bridge. Another great way to explore the area would be a run along the 16 km long coastal trail between Vangshylla and Straumen.

Strava for details: Inderøya roller ski

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Rollerskiing at Inderøya

In any case, make sure you drop by some of the local entrepreneurs, such as Gangstad Gårdsysteri (ice cream/cheese). Look up The Golden Road for more information.

The Drive

The drive from Inderøya to the starting point for the hike to Rabothytta is 355km and about 5h 30min, the last part on roads with poor conditions. There are not so many things to do or see on this drive, so stack up on podcasts and snacks, or spend a few more days and opt for the coastal route. I suggest stopping in Mosjøen (after about 4 hours drive) for a proper meal before the final part of the drive and the hike towards the cabin. Make sure you reach the starting point in time for completing the hike in daylight (which of course is no trouble in the summer).

The Rabot Cabin

Located 1200 meters above sea level near the mountain range Okstindan and the Okstindan glacier, the cabin was designed by Jarmund/Vigsnæs and completed in 2014. The cabin is named after the French glaciologist and geographer Charles Rabot who thoroughly explored the mountain areas in the 1880s.

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The cabin is self-served, which means you have to bring all the food you need for your stay as well as sleeping bag or bed linen. There are beds for 30 people and reservations should be made in advance.

The hike to the Rabot cabin starts from the parking space at the upper end of Leirskardalen and is about 5 km with 520 meters of incline (about one hour hike, if you are in good shape). The trail is well marked with red Ts, however, there is also a well marked trail from the same parking on the wrong side of the river, so you want to make sure you take the trail on the left side of the river (facing uphill). Despite taking the wrong trail and having to run all the way back to the starting point, this was one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done: The views of the green valley in the evening sun was like nothing I have seen before, the thunder from the mighty river, and the incredible sight of the cabin resting in the sun with the glacier and mountains surrounding it, when I finally reached my destination.

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Strava for details: Rabothytta (with all the wrong turns). Look at the last 65 minutes for the right trail.

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Once there, you want to explore the cabin and the surroundings from the inside as well as the outside, from every angle. The weather can extremely tough in this area, this night however, the sun was shining almost the whole night and you felt like an idiot going to bed. Had I known that I would win the jackpot weather, for sure I would have brought a sleeping bag to sleep outside on the terrace.

The Rabot cabin may also be visited in the winter and the surrounding area is very popular for randonee skiing (even in the summer, although you have to carry your skis for a while).

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Trollheimen – Inderøya – Arctic Road Trip Day 2

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Blåhøa 1671m

Waking up at Gjevilvasshytta in Trollheimen you have multiple hiking and running options on your doorstep. I had decided on a run to Blåhøa, peaking at 1671 meter about 12 km from Gjevilvasshytta. You can take the car to a parking 1-2 km from the cabin if you want to avoid running the hard sufaced road. The path is surprisingly runable and not too technical, except for the last couple of km. The view from the summit is amazing on a sunny day!

Strava for details: Blåhø run

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Blåhøa towards Gjevilvatnet

Make time for a coffee and a cinnamon bun outside Gjevilvasshytta and, if you didn’t the evening before, a stroll along Gjevilvatnet, before you hit the road.

The Drive, 245 km/3 h 40 min

In Oppdal, about 25 minutes from Gjevilvasshytta, Bakeriet Sprø is worth a stop for loading up on sandwiches and coffee for the road. Unless you want to make a stop in Trondheim, in another three hours or so driving the route E6, you reach Inderøya. Inderøya has created its own concept, The Golden Road, catering for tourist on the road, or as a destination in itself.

Accomodation & Restaurant

At Inderøya you have several unique accomocation alternatives. This time I stayed at Husfrua, a country farm hotel situated on a hill top with great views of the fjord. Husfrua offers rooms in historic  surroundings as well as modern free-standing small external houses in the farm yard. The highlight of my stay was the home made breakfast served on the sunny terrace of the main building. Another option would be Jegtvolden Fjordhotell.

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Husfrua

A few hundred meters away from Husfrua you find Øyna, a truly fantastic place offering local food and magnificient views of the fjord. Remember to make a reservation in advance, and if the weather is good, ask to be seated outside.

Local Tip

 

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Øyna restaurant

Arctic Road Trip – Intro & Day 1

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Manshausen Island

I don’t know about you, but I have already started planning my travels for 2019. Last year I did a spectacular road trip to the north of Norway. I spent months planning it to make sure I could secure my preferred accommodation options, explore the trails I had made notes of when browsing Ute and other magazines, blogs and websites over the last years, and don’t miss out on any of the remarkable sites created along the scenic routes I had decided to explore. The planning of this road trip and the experiences I had during my travel inspired this website and thus I have been looking forward to take you through the trip I made, and inspire you to plan your own.

I started my journey from Øyer in Gudbrandsdalen, where I have a place in the mountain, but you may start of from Oslo, Gardermoen (airport), or anywhere you like of course.

My itinerary in short:

Day 1: Øyer/Lillehammer – Trollheimen

Day 2: Trollheimen – Inderøya

Day 3: Inderøya – Rabothytta, Helgeland

Day 4: Rabothytta, Helgeland – Rødøy

Day 5: Rødøy – Saltstraumen

Day 6: Saltstraumen – Manshausen, Steigen

Day 7: Manshausen, Steigen

Day 8: Manshausen, Steigen – Nyksund, Vesterålen

Day 9: Nyksund, Vesterålen – Stave, Andøya

Day 10: Stave – Hamn, Senja

Day 11: Senja

Day 12: Senja – Eide, Tysfjord

When planning my trip I was aiming at:

  1. Staying at unique places
  2. Choose Norwegian Scenic Routes when practical
  3. Beautiful surrounding for running/roller skiing/biking

Let’s go!

Day 1: Øyer/Lillehammer – Trollheimen

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Sohlbergplassen

The Drive, 220 km/3 h 10 min

For a long time I have been a big fan of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s project “Norwegian Scenic Routes“, which to a great extent inspires my travel in Norway. The destination for the first leg of my road trip was Gjevilvasshytta in Trollheimen, not far away from Oppdal. Instead of driving the “highway”, E6 I chose to drive county road 27, which makes out the Rondane Scenic Route from Ringebu to Hjerkinn.

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Venabygdsfjellet

When reaching the mountain plateau Venabygdsfjellet the scenery is absolutely amazing, with the mountain Muen as the natural focal point. Continuing through Folldal towards Hjerkinn, there are a few attractions along the road. My favorite was Sohlbergplassen, a view point at Atnsjøen lake. The platform frames the view towards the lake and the rounded peaks of the Rondane massif almost exactly as they appear in Harald Sohlberg’s famous painting “Winter’s Night in Rondane”. I also made a stop in Folldal to load up on waffles.

At Hjerkinn I made a short detour to Viewpoint Snøhetta. The viewpoint is a short hike from the parking, providing an excellent opportunity to stretch your legs.

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Snøhetta Viewpoint
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From inside the viewpoint looking towards the mountain Snøhetta

From Hjerkinn there is another hour drive to Gjevilvasshytta, my suggested accommodation for the night.

Today’s Activity

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Mount Muen

My planned activity for this first day of driving was to go roller skiing on Venabygdsfjellet. Due to heavy winds and a recent rib fracture I had to skip it for this time. If you bring your bike I would highly recommend that you make a stop for biking over Venabygdsfjellet, see feature in the cycle magazine Landevei (I went back to do that later in the summer). This time I did a beautiful evening trail run from Gjevilvasshytta, finishing of with some nice stretching at the nearby lake.

Strava for details: Evening trail run

Accommodation

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Gjevilvasshytta

My choice of accommodation was Gjevilvasshytta. Built in 1819, it is the oldest building being used for accommodation by Turistforeningen (the Norwegian Trekking Association), and is situated 710 meters above sea level at Gjevilvatnet, offering a great starting point for hiking and trail running in Trollheimen. The cabin is very popular and its atmosphere and location are amazing, however the sleeping comfort rather basic with shared bathrooms in the hall and thin walls.

Day 1 Highlight

The view of the lake, Gjevilvatnet, when arriving at Gjevilvasshytta. Google it!