The End of an Arctic Summer

2013/08/19: Indoors at Stamsund Hostel
The hostel at Stamsund was built as a dormitory for fishermen, and stands right on a solid wharf. It’s run by Roar, a local character whose father first began to run it as a hostel, and it’s acquired a number of returning guests who stay for a major part of the summer. We can see the attraction.

After days of sunshine, we woke to driving rain beating a tattoo against the window panes, and were happy to linger over Ingrid’s pancakes. Kristian and Ingrid waited for a lull before leaving to head south ahead of us. We spent the day catching up on email, and I took advantage of having a decent kitchen to bake a pizza in a cast iron frying pan for supper.

This is the day Norwegian children go back to school, but the sudden change in weather also marked the change in seasons.

2013/08/20: 85 km to a very wet night at Å

We walked bikes across some bridges because the wind might have bowled us into the railings.

We woke to a continuing gale and dropping temperatures, and waited till noon to head to southernmost Lofoten and the compactly named town of Å. The ride was a battle: we struggled to keep moving and to stay upright as we rounded headlands, and dove strategically into numerous bus shelters. Pushing on to Å meant riding well into the evening, so supper was tinned fish on crackers, hastily gulped in a bus shelter, with hunks of chocolate for dessert.

Windswept sandy beach at lunch time

A brief dry spell between heavy showers.

Arriving at the end of the road at Å, we didn’t see the hostel right away, and optimistically thought the weather was showing signs of improvement. We decided to camp, and save a night’s hostel fees. Fools we were. It was a night of gear testing as the entire tent structure swooped and danced in the gale, and rain and hail drummed on the “ultralight” sil-nylon fly.

2013/08/21: Drying out at hostel in Å
We’d had very little sleep. Dragging ourselves out of a deep puddle, we bundled soggy gear, and got ourselves into the hostel to dry out, drink tea, and make pancakes with the sourdough batter exploding out of one of my water bottles.

2013/08/22: 33 km including ferry to Bodø to 10 km S of Festvåg
The ferry to Bodø leaves Moskenes at 7:00 a.m., so we started early start from Å — 5 km south. The crossing takes three and a half hours across what is marked on maps as “the strongest sea current in the world.” Ingrid and Kristian had crossed the day before, and reported a heavy use of seasickness bags, but our crossing was somewhat calmer.

Arriving in the metropolis of Bodø, we examined our options. The weather was still grim, but the forecast predicted improvement, so we bought two days supply of food and headed north. We found a lovely camping spot just north of town, and settled there to read and wait for the rain to stop. A local high school group appeared to do various getting-to-know-you games, and –feeling we were in their way– we soon decided to press on to the north, stopping first to cook dinner and then on to near the ferry to Kjerringøy to camp on a carefully selected well drained surface. We coordinated with Kristian and Ingrid, also waiting out the rain quite nearby, about meeting at the ferry the next morning.


One response to “The End of an Arctic Summer

  1. Ug. Sounds challenging to the spirit as well as the “ultralight” sil-nylon fly.
    The pics look like parts of the east coast of Baffin Is.

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