This week was my friend Julia’s birthday, she brought delicious carrot cake to work for everyone. The celebrate further she planned a lovely Saturday of hiking and barbecuing near her apartment in Tromsdalen. A group of 8 of us met at Julia’s apartment around 11:00 with our bikes. The start of the trail up Tromsdalstinden is a dirt road that is open to cars until a certain point. There were lots of cars parked in this parking area and along the road initially. But beyond the gate it was only fellow bikers and hikers. We biked most of the road to the trail head with our mountain bikes, but using a road, commuter or cruiser bike would be quite difficult because of the large rocks in the road, which were difficult to avoid. About 2.7 km (1.7 miles) from the parking lot is where we left the dirt road. There is a large trail sign indicating this is the route to Tromsdalstinden, however, you have to walk a few meters out on the trail to see the sign which stands between the trail and the road. A good indicator, though, was the numerous bikes locked to trees at the junction.
The hiking trail initially drops really sharply to a bridge crossing the river. Then it was all uphill. We climbed up out of the forest into meadows with wild blueberries. Along this section of the trail we saw many trail runners who were racing today on a 50 km mountain run. I am not sure of their precise route, but I was told that it was a 3 day race and would involve running up the front face to the cable car, Fløya, Tromsdalstinden (possibly more than once) and some other neighbouring mountains. These racers are just incredible. We did worry for them though, we watched a couple go by that were running so forcefully, with so much impact downhill, that we feared for the short life of their knees and other joints. At the end of this meadowy area we crossed a small snow patch and looked up at the very steep section before us. This part was dry dusty dirt, loose rocks and many people hiking above your head. There were some small rocks that rolled/fell down the hill surprisingly far.
We sat and took a break at the saddle here. We could see Nonstinden off the the North and already very good views of Tromsø and Kvaløya. The route up followed the ridge line, it was very rocky, but well marked and not too steep. At the top we found more snow, a gigantic cairn (that the locals were calling a beacon) and quite a few people enjoying a snack and the views. It was incredibly sunny out today, so we were getting pretty burned actually. The top was very pleasant, but those that sat by the snow were getting chilled from the slight breeze coming across it. Personally I found the views behind (to the South or East of Tromsdalstinden to the be the most impressive. In the distance you can see Hamperokken a very steep pointy peak surrounded by dramatic cirques. Further towards the East you can see the tops of the Lyngen Alps and the ice sheets perched on top of the rock.
After a short break at the top, we took a less steep route back down. The summer route, is quite steep, but not very technical. The winter route is longer, but takes the same length of time on the descent because it is more gradual and overall easier. This route took the opposite ridge down to a grassy saddle, and then cut across Tromsdalstinden near the base of the mountain and looped back to join the dirt road that we had biked up. This side of the mountain had a lot of water, there were several streams and a lot of vegetation. One of the nicest things about this particular hike was getting to ride our bikes on the way down. On a long hike it’s always the long flat portion at the end that seems endless and so exhausting. We may need to find some similar hikes that we can do and make better use of our mountain bikes.
A little before we got back to the parking lot area, there was a couple paths to the North that take you to small picnic areas. As it was Julia’s Birthday hike, she requested that we have a barbecue. Julia had the spot picked out and we were basically the only ones there. This picnic area is incredibly well maintained and even provided fire wood for use, with a small donation, otherwise the used of the area was free. Everyone brought something different, from Salmon and fish burgers, beef burgers to marinated chicken, an entire pork loin, zucchini, eggplant, and mixed vegetables. We ended the night by cooking dessert over the fire. Julia brought supplies for Chocolate and Bananas, which I have not had since I went to summer camp in middle school. They were delicious. I will have to remember that for the next barbecue. Thanks to everyone, especially Julia for a fun-filled Saturday 🙂