Finding our way up Gråtinden

It was kind of raining and grey out lately, but the weather forecast today said the sun would be coming back in the early afternoon.  I am often skeptical of this kind of weather report, but using and (or better yet, which compares the 2) we often have quite accurate hour by hour forecasts.  Since it looked like the skies should be clearing, Jesse picked me up from work and we headed North to the island of Ringvassøya.  As we left Tromsø we could already see the skies were starting to clear, and were happy that our trip was perfectly timed.

Gratinden_Ringvassoya_2015_002My former roommate and I had spent a day driving around and exploring this beautiful island.  But today, we went on a new road, Fv66 towards Skarsfjord.  For this hike, we started from a large parking lot on the pass before you descend into Skarsfjord (69.917459, 18.854059). It was still very cloudy in this area and the clouds were quite low actually.  I was hoping that we might get to the top of our 587 m (1926 ft) peak before they cleared and have the chance to look out over the clouds at the other nearby mountains.  We set our heading West towards Gråtinden.

Gratinden_Ringvassoya_2015_004The first part was incredibly muddy from all the recent rain.  Jack just trotted through the deep mud, while Jesse and I hopped from tuft to tuft of grass.  Climbing out of this muddy area was also quite interesting and I almost went for a slip and slide back to the bottom.  Once we reached higher ground, the terrain was a lot rockier and the clouds much closer.  After a little while we found ourselves within the clouds, carefully looking ahead to find the next trail markers.  In the distance we could hear clanging bells of sheep wandering around.

Gratinden_Ringvassoya_2015_009The hike was not very steep or strenuous, but it was another hike that seemed to just go on forever.  We couldn’t see the top, so we had no idea how far we still had to go.  After numerous false summits, Jesse spotted the large cairn at the top.  I was still waiting to see the sun break through the clouds and my views.  I jokingly asked Jesse to put me on his shoulders so I could see the view… but he said I’d have to repay the favor if I saw anything!

Gratinden_Ringvassoya_2015_007It was quite cold and wet sitting at the top.  The humidity was palatable and huge droplets of water were sitting on the plants at the top.  After 5 or 10 minutes of staring into the fog, we finally saw a little glimpse of the coastline to the south of the peak.   Gratinden_Ringvassoya_2015_012Another several minutes later we could see a little bit of the coast to the west.  It was probably a great view and worth the wait, but I was too cold to sit any longer at the top.  I promised we would come back on another clearer day to catch the views we missed.

Gratinden_Ringvassoya_2015_015Just off the peak we could now see more views of Skarsfjord and the trail that we had climbed.  I kept looking back at the top and was amazed at how far down the trail we would have seen the top if it was a clear day, walking in the fog definitely made it interesting!  Before we headed home to dry off and warm up, we decided to drive a little further towards Skarsfjord.  Gratinden_Ringvassoya_2015_019We were so lucky to see an amazing sunset (well… sunrise?) as the sun descended from the clouds over the small Skogøya island.  There were many sheep roaming around on the road and photobombing my sunset photos.  What a wonderful way to end our day on Ringvassøya!

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