This was a place I hadn’t been to since I was a young kid. With so many pleasant memories, I was eager to revisit again while I was recently in Norway. Luckily the snow from the previous day had melted and we had beautiful weather for our hike. For the end of October, unseasonably beautiful!
The lake and surrounding area is actually privately owned by my mothers family farm, along with four others. The ownership is tied to farms owned in the lower area of Ringebu. So together, almost as a co-op, five farms own the lake and ownership between farm and lake cannot be separated. Each farm has a small cabin located on the lake. No running water, no electricity, peace and quiet.
The logic behind the ownership bonded to the farms was that in older times, farmers would bring their sheep and or cattle to graze up here in the summer. Although, the area is still used by some farmers for animals. The lake also has abundant rainbow trout, providing farmers another source of food.
Getting to the lake is half the fun. It is about a 45 minute drive up from the lower valley of Ringebu. As you drive up into the mountains your ears begin to pop and soon you are past the timberline and you can see for miles and miles. We pull off the road and park the car in what looks like no particular area in the middle of nowhere. My uncle knows the way well, and we begin the 10 kilometer hike. It is a rocky dirt “path” that crosses many streams along the way. At times challenging the hiker with sporadically placed rocks used to cross river. Piles of rock stacked about 6 feet high are located in certain areas as landmarks. Although I know Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand, the beautiful landscape brings memories of the trilogy. In certain spots along the hike you can see a rut from a tractor wheel. Since there are no trees up here, firewood for heat and cooking must be hauled up here by tractor or snowmobile.
As we ascend atop a large hill, the lake can be seen in the distance. It is here we see a large moose far away, it hears or smells us and runs off before I could get a picture. Once we arrive at the cabin it is exactly how I remember it as a kid. A look at an old logbook reveals my last visit, 1987. Reindeer antlers from a previous hunt are hammered above the cabin door. This cabin was built in the 1940’s and the previous one possibly 1700’s. It is so quiet nothing is to be heard beside the occasional wind gust.
Fishing here is done by nets. Put out at dusk and hauled at sunrise. The old fashion way, wooden boat and oars. The trout caught are gutted and stuffed with salt to preserve. There is a fresh water spring feeding into the lake to provide drinking water. If you are spending a few days up here the only bathing option is a bar of soap and a hop in the lake. Even in the summer, it is a frigid temperature. And your toilet is, well, lets just say no toilet reviews come out from these parts.
Since we were short on time and this was a last minute trip that pended on the weather, this is just a day trip for us. We sit outside facing the sun and enjoy our sandwiches, coffee and the silence. After a 25 year hiatus from here I hope it will not be another 25 years before I return. Daylight is our clock and we begin our hike back. I can’t fathom the idea of having a place like this so close to home and I hope this stays within the family for generations to come.