Blustery Blåtinden

Spring is never ending this year!  We have had some very warm days, where if you are out of the wind or just mildly active, shorts and a T-shirt are just right.  But we’ve had more than our fair share of cool rainy days too.  Rain and sun definitely caused a lot of the snow on the mountains to melt, but we seem to have so much more snow this time of year than the last 2 years that I have been in Norway.  This year the hiking season is getting a slow start.

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 16.18.28But Jesse was determined since we are living so far south of Tromsø, to hike Blatinden before we move back toward town.  Today promised to be cloudy to partly sunny, with little chance of rain.  So we set out to Blåtinden a 1180 m (3871 ft) tall peak and just over 9 km (5.6 mile) hike.  The trailhead was easy to find and well marked, but there wasn’t a whole lot of parking.  The trail was very gentle to start out with very little incline and nice views of the sea.  After cutting across the side of the hill, the trail climbs up the ridge line along a short service road then onwards through a cleared section where we think some power lines used to run.  This time of year the trail was surrounded by small flowers, mostly white, but some pinks, purples and even the occasional forget-me-not.

Blatinden_2017_007After a short bit on the ridge line we were treated to excellent views of a rather large waterfall coming down the mountain with Blåtinden in the background.  I tried to spend some time to take pictures of it, but there were so many bugs (mostly flies) around us that I couldn’t stand it.  We broke down and used some bug spray.  It didn’t take much to have them leave use alone 🙂

Blatinden_2017_010From here the hike was quite wet and muddy in places where small springs starting just above the trail flow across it.  A couple were a bit larger with mini waterfalls to admire as we skirted the hillside now towards the peak.  We hopped rocks across the wide stream and source of the waterfalls we admired from below.  This stream seems to come from no where, but there was still a lot of snow on the mountainside melting.  It was just a bit further until the trail took a turn upwards. Blatinden_2017_012 We sharply climbed some scree and bolder fields along a ridge line.  Here the wind seemed to suddenly pick up and we could see ripples in the fjord below us from all the blowing wind.  Thankfully it wasn’t too cold, and not raining so far, but the wind cooled us off quite a bit.  Several times we tried to take a quick break, but couldn’t find much of a spot out of the wind.  Once we reached the saddle though we forgot all about the wind.

Blatinden_2017_025The view over the backside of the saddle was incredible!  We could see the Lyngen Alps, including some very large glaciers hanging from the tops of them.  The saddle had many cliffs and cornices, so we kept Jack close to us.  From here much of the remaining hike was not very steep, but it was very snowy.  Thankfully it was a warm day so we could make fairly deep tracks in the snow as we continued to Blatinden_2017_020climb.  Near the top Blåtinden is actually very flat, with large stones that are also incredibly flat.  The last bit of the hike was a very calm cool-down and I took my time getting over to the massive caryn, since every direction you looked was an amazing view.

Jesse and I haven’t done much hiking lately especially in the higher mountains, so maybe it is the deprivation talking… but this was one of the more amazing hikes I think we’ve had in Northern Norway.  If you are looking for a longer hike, that is not technical, and still is very scenic… I would highly recommend this hike!   There are not many (easily accessible and moderately difficult) hikes we’ve done that gave us such Blatinden_2017_014wonderful views.  The Lyngen Alps and it’s hanging glaciers were really a highlight, but also other prominent mountains in the area, like the 1552 m (5092 ft) Mannfjellet or Jeihtanasgáisi peak towering over those around it and the nearby Andersdaltinden (1221 m).  To the north we could see the back side of Tromsdalstiden, which was in a rain cloud.  And of course there were great views of Balsfjorden that surrounded us.  Very close to us was the Gjømmerdalsbreen glacier, but we couldn’t quite see it.  Hopefully we’ll get the chance to hike to that glacier someday soon!

Blatinden_2017_026At the top we had a quick snack.  The wind seemed to have died down a bit, but rain clouds were slowly approaching, so after we felt a few raindrops we decided it was time to head back down.  The snowfields were fun on the way down, since it wasn’t too steep that you would slide to the bottom.  At one point I was wishing we had brought our small plastic sleds, but that could have gotten a bit out of hand.

Blatinden_2017_028From the saddle back down the scree field the wind was roaring again.  We decided that it was probably because the wind was being funnelled across Balsfjorden and straight to the ridge.  The wind below was cool, but the wind up on the ridge as it blew across the snow fields was really chilling.  I had to even show Jesse how to bundle his hands into his long sleeve shirt… we couldn’t do much for his legs though since he didn’t bring long pants.  But soon we were back in the warmer tundra, which is pretty slippery when it’s wet!  We both fell on the way back down, me on a (thankfully) flat rock and Jesse in the mud… guess we need some more hiking practice and soon!!

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