Vestmarka-Krokskogen walk 12 June 2005
A walk from Kolsås to Sundvollen - crossing Krokskogen
A walk here had been on our minds since we first began planning any walks in the area. The idea was to walk from Kolsås in Oslo (on the edge of Vestmarka), to Sundvollen at Tyrifjorden, 20 kilometres away on the far side of Krogskogen. Tyrifjorden is an immense (to us at least) landlocked fjord, at 60 metres above sea level, consisting of the Holsfjorden, Tyrifjorden and Steinsfjorden branches.
My knee had been feeling fine for the last few days but a brief walk through the city the day before showed that it was not quite ready for the amount of exercise it was about to receive. Well - it was too late to back out now.
Having failed to find any damer to accompany us, Moose and I had taken the train to Kolsås, at the far edge of Bærum.
- The Kolsås mountain, all 379 metres of it. The rain that had begun during the night had not stopped, so we were forced to wear waterproofs.
- A dislodged fragment of Kolsås.
- The train stops a few kilometres short of the town (!), so we followed the river valley to reach it. The paths were feeling a little too easy for a walk in the countryside, but I would be happy for them later.
- This is the Lommedalen valley, and heads towards Bærumsmarka - the wrong way.
- After a brief discussion about which valleys were which (well, we were looking for the one with trees and a river...), we started up through Kolsås, with a view of the Kolsås ridge behind us.
- Eineåsen, at just over 300 metres. This ridge would accompany us for most of the walk.
- A woodpecker ... pecking ... umm ... wood.
- At last we could see the start of the Kjaglidalen valley, where we were heading, but of all the not-entirely-accurate roads shown on the map, we were having a little trouble trying to find which one would take us there.
- Unnskyld, snakker du englisk? Ne? Umm ... vi vil gå der ... hvor er vi på dette?
- Ramsåsen at 420 metres, complete with ski jump, assuming you can make it out through the rain. On the other side of the ridge is the southern end of Holsfjorden - one of the branches of Tyrifjorden.
- *Cough* well ... Anyway, this was taken beside the second field of cows either of us had seen in Norway. There is a reason that beef costs so much here, and why it smells like it has gone off already - there are almost no cows, so it has to be imported. This particular field of cows all stared at us, unblinking, almost unmoving, just steadily staring as we walked past. Stupid tourists. Walking in the rain. With no damer.
- This small village intrigued us, nestled in amongst the trees, with a single clear field, complete with its own little hill. I could imagine a small norwegian child running onto it shouting "Jeg er slottets konge". A kilometre further along the road, in the middle of an enormous meadow, there were two houses. Around each house, the meadow grass had been carefully mowed into a neat reactangle - "and this bit is mine!". No fences, no official boundries, just the edge where they had chosen to stop mowing, leaving just a few blades of grass separating the undefined areas of the two houses.
- At last, some rock showing between the trees.
- Our path began its descent down to the Isielva river, and my knee reminded me that it did not appreciate going downhill.
- Our first sight of the Isielva river, where we shared stories of past lives and shared friendships, stories of Mordor, and of the Fellowship.
- Looking across a small meadow towards the last town that we would see before reaching the far edge of Vestmarka.
- Looking back across the same meadow from the outskirts of the town.
- The town of Kjaglienga. Um, no, village. Umm, house. With a shed, and a barn. Aah, the barn, that must be what makes it a town, and makes it worthy of being named on the 1:50'000 map. Indeed, the next house had a shed, and no barn, and thus was not a town. Obvious really.
- Leaning up against the shed, along with the firewood, was a sign. The sign that was telling us which way to go. Well, at least it was pointing in the right direction. I am not so sure about the next people that pass this way though - "So I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a sign ... So, I lit a fire, isn't it good; Norwegian wood..."
- This is a maintained public footpath. Honest. The only way to recognise it is the blue paint on a fencepost. As it happens the fencepost belongs to the house without a barn.
- For a little while, we followed the river.
- Funny thing about rivers, they go both ways; upstream, and downstream.
- And sometimes you can cross them.
- We followed the river for a while, on an artificial shelf beside a small cliff - probably used for winter logging.
- Choosing to ignore a river crossing, we followed the path upwards, away from the river. The young trees were so thick here, the only way to progress was to keep heads down, eyes closed, and push through between, hopefully without getting too many spruce needle injuries.
- Finally a small clearing, where we could look across the valley towards Furuåsen (443 metres), just to prove to ourselves that we were in a valley. Trees are nice and all, but when there are so many that you cannot even see the other side of the valley you are in, it becomes a relief when someone cuts a few of them down so you can actually see for a while.
- And the path continued to climb slowly.
- Too slowly. So we left the path, and started upwards through the forest. The trees here are literally hanging on to nothing. Each one has its roots wrapped around a single rock, and a quick push would uproot any of them. Not a comfortable thing to climb on.
- It was worth ignoring the path. The trees cleared for a little while, so we sat down for a quick snack. A large tree stump nearby disintegrated when touched, having been almost completely hollowed out by a snake. I tried to photograph it, but it was just too fast at crawling through "solid" wood.
- Looking back down the Kjaglidalen valley. And no, it had not stopped raining. And my knee had not stopped hurting - in fact, it was hurting enough for me to be walking with a straight leg. Try doing that over this sort of terrain.
- Looking forward into Djupedalen, about half way to our destination. The clouds can be seen hanging onto the trees, ensuring that there was no escape from the rain. Both of us had soaking legs and feet by now as well. I was beginning to wish I had been able to bring more of my waterproofs with me to Norway.
- "There should be a path somewhere around here. I'm sure I saw one marked on the map." The combination of pain and rain meant that we were not moving as fast as we had been hoping, so we picked up a track, and followed it in order to make up a few kilometres.
- Olli's ex. Of course.
- The track dropped steadily (did I mention that it hurts to go downhill?) until we were at the bottom of Djupedalen. The river had gently risen all the way up to here since the last time we had crossed it.
- We took a less monotonous path after passing a family who were looking for a house. Or at least, a chimney that used to be a house, or something. Maybe they were homeless hikers, looking for a place with a fire where they could stay.
- You'll never guess what we saw. Yup, more trees. Surprise!
- The ground levelled out, and we could see that we had reached the final plateau before the descent to Sundvollen.
- Peering over the plateau was a gentle rise to the summit beside Kongens utsikt. Complete with rain. Again. Our path now headed downhill to another town - or is it just a house. With no barn. No barn? How can it be a town? - Ah, it is on the other side of Vestmarka. They must do things differently over here.
- Oops. Which way was "up" again?
- After a lengthy descent, then a long, steep ascent, we reached Kongens utsikt at 502 metres. Renowned for stunning views across Steinsfjorden and Tyrifjorden, and across to the beginnings of central Norway. But the clouds blowing past us through the trees did not fill us with confidence.
- Our hearts sank as we looked into the endless white of the fog. Below us, we could make out a few islands in the fjord, but not much else. Had we endured the rain and discomfort for this? To see nothing but the inside of a cloud?
- Slowly the clouds lifted, teasing, and revealed the majesty of the fjord. The updraft lifting the clouds up, only to be knocked over by the wind from the valley behind us, then to be sent spiralling upwards again. Both of us stood with our cameras taking picture after picture (about 100 each) as the clouds were lifting, being blown into immense waves in front of us, finalising in this panorama.
- We sat down, and enjoyed lunch in view of the islands in Steinsfjord. Malt bread, cheese and onion, washed down with a pan of hot tea.
- Mmmm. Tea. Mmm.
- Across the fjord, the land rises slowly to the summit of the closest 1 kilometre high peak to Oslo. Another day. Another day.
- The poor map had taken a beating - or sogging. It would never survive another walk.
- Walking down the path again (yup, downhill, etc), we arrived at a small village. Amongst its other decorations was a signpost with its own lamp, pointing to Kongens utsikt. Exactly why you would be walking to a scenic overlook at night remains a mystery - or misty - or something - enough bad jokes already. Anyway, the path from the village was a steep slope in a deep gully, cutting from the plateau down to the fjord below. And downhill still hurts. Did you remember?
- Up to our left, on the clifftop was where we had been standing at Kongens utsikt. Lucky we decided against going directly downslope from there.
- To the right, the other clifftop was where the local
dirt track road wound its way down to the fjord. Several informative signs gave lots of details of how the gully was used to transport logs down from the hills in winter, but they were only in bokmål, so we could only get a general gist. Maybe there was something more interesting to it.
- Looking back up the gully from the edge of the fjord. It doesn't look anything like as far as it felt.
- Finally we had reached Sundvollen, a pretty little town, with a very noisy road. Hardly surprising, since it is the only place where you can cross the fjord (to Vic) for another 10 kilometres in one direction, and 20 in the other. This is the picturesque little harbour, looking towards the first part of Tyrifjorden.
- The ridge that we had just descended, overlooking Sundvollen to the south (right), the ridge continues, becoming steeper as it follows the edge of Tyrifjorden, then finally the majestic Holsfjorden.
- In the other direction is Steinsfjorden, with its profusion of small islands.
- Looking into the distance across Tyrifjorden, we could see the far wall of Holsfjorden, as it swung left into its deep valley.
- As we walked back to the bus stop, a deep rumble echoed across the fjord, followed shortly by the cloud that had produced it. A few minutes later, and the rainstorm had hit Sundvollen. Thankfully we had managed to complete our journey before the storm hit.
- A last look at the map. Take a guess which part of it we were using. Sorry Claudio, but it served us well - emphasis on the "us" as in "not you".
The bus then took us back to Oslo for an obscene price. It was worth it just for the views over Holsfjorden, which are etched in our minds, but sadly not on our cameras.