Today my roommate Kari, Jack and I took a trip out to the western coast of Kvaløya. We first jumped into a large line of cars headed South on Kvaløya from Tromsø. But as we went through Eidkjosen a large portion of the cars continued South as we turned West. Then at the next major intersection we lost about half of the remaining cars that headed South again towards Sommarøy. Finally, the last car following us turned to admire the views from Ersfjordbotn, from then we pretty much had the road to ourselves. The road narrowed significantly and became incredibly rough for a paved road, but speed limits of 60 kph disappeared making the assumed speed limit 80 kph (about 50 mph). The speed seemed a little excessive for the road conditions, so we just took our time and admired the views along the way.
The Blåmann (Blue Man) mountain which is a beast of a peak, was a major point of interest that we drove past. Similar to Longs peak, it has a sheer cliff on one side (though the significantly lower elevations make it safer and easier to climb in the summer). Determined rock climbers spend the months preparing for trips to the summit via this route. There is also a hiking trail up the mountain, but I’ve been warned that it is on the edge of what you would need a rope for, so we’ll see if I’m brave enough in the next 3 years.
We drove past a major skiing hub, there were about 15 cars parked on the side of the road and huge groups skinning up for some spring skiing. We then stopped at a small beach along the Kaldfjorden. The beach was quiet a mostly empty, except of a dad and his two young daughters that had taken a boat to the beach for an afternoon picnic. The views were of course beautiful with the water and surrounding mountains.
The road then turned inland and we drove over a short windy mountain pass. Near the top we passed by several large frozen lakes. The lakes fed into steep waterfalls leading to the ocean, which was very close by. From the lakes you could see down the mountainside to an small inlet with a beautiful sandy beach. I am realizing that there are quite a few sand beaches on the coast of Norway, I’ve been warned that it’s usually not warm enough to swim, but there are still people who do. The sand beach had a large parking area that was paid parking for those using the beach and/or camping there. We just parked nearby and walked the beach for a little bit as it was still too cool and windy to really stay long and enjoy the beach. There were 3 large groups having lunch there and several smaller groups of people just walking around and taking pictures. But it seemed that on a warm summer day the beach would be quite crowded.
Further down the road we drove around a larger fjord with beautiful mountains on all sides. There was a very steep wall, above which sits an mountain lake. I can’t wait until summer to try and hike up to this lake nestled in the mountains. There were between 10-15 cars parked at the end of the fjord and we could see a group of 4 skinning up the mountain side. Another great ski touring place was uncovered! At the end of the day we drove back past this fjord and saw that a fairly large wet slide (avalanche) tore up one of the North-facing slopes. Thankfully, it looked like none of the skiers had gone up that mountain today.
A little longer in the car and we drove through the small town of Tromvik. There wasn’t much in the town, some houses and the docks where they were drying stock fish. Stock fish is Cod that has been hung to dry in the cold wind. I’ve been told the birds don’t go after it as the fishermen throw the leftover parts of the fish into the ocean for them to enjoy and as the fish dries and hardens the birds would rather catch some soft fresh fish themselves. So far I’ve seen stock fish being dried in 4 towns on Kvaløya, but I’ve seen these racks for drying fish almost everywhere. I’ll have to get some recipes to try it someday.
Just outside of Tromvik there was a small dirt road with a sign to Rekvik. The road was very narrow and in need of some grading. Rekvik is a very small community on the shore of Kvaløya that faces West into the Atlantic Ocean. It has beautiful views of Sessøya and the surrounds mountains of Kvaløya. We didn’t quite make it to Rekvik because as we approached the summit of the mountain pass the views were too spectacular to keep driving. We stopped and parked among 20 or so other cars at the pass. We watch a group of 6 skiers with a dog skinning up a gentle hillside. Then as well looked beyond this hill, you could see other skiers skinning up a very steep slope off in the distance. The skiing looked incredible! I am so surprized at how many people were out skiing all over the island. I have never been that into backcountry skiing, but I guess I should try to fit in 🙂
We went for a short walk from the top of the pass to see the ocean from the hillside above Rekvik. Eventually we got to the edge of a steep drop above the small village. The views were stunning! We continued our walk and climbed the ridge of the small Brosmetinden mountain. On the South facing ridge there was very little snow, so the walk was easy going. If you look out to the Northwest from the top of this cliff you can see beyond the island of Sessøya to the vast Atlantic. As we sat admiring the views, we watched some skiers reach the top as well and reset their bindings to ski back down the East face. We had found a winter play ground. Jack was thrilled, bounding through the snow and racing around in circles just because. I’ll have to remember these places when I find some ski buddies and for some beautiful hiking!