Due to a successful ski course we have learnt a lot about skiing and trips in forests in the winter. Our task was to organize a forest field trip in groups. There was 7 of us in my group and we were planning to have a cross-country skiing trip in Hovden for 3 days. It’s a huge forested area that is totally snow-covered in southern Norway. It’s also called the Hovden Nature Protection Area. All vegetation is protected to preserve the unique flora and fauna there. There are several migratory animals which require vast areas and they are very sensitive to disturbances. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any of them.
Our plan was to spend one night in tents and one night in a cabin. We wanted to get Sloaros which has a self-service cabin and we could have stayed there for a night. We were following the T-marked path which started at the eastern end of Hovden Ski Centres parking area and probably we passed the junction where we should have turned right to approach Sloaros. However, after a while it turned out that it was not our mistake to pass that. We asked some skier about Sloaros and they told us that there was no possibility to get there because it was closed. This fact caused some changes in the program. So we had decided we spent one night in tents and finished the trip. Technically, the plan was changed but we could have complied with the practical outcome.
All of our equipment worked properly and we did not have any problem with either our devices or tools. I was a little bit afraid of the fact we did not have a bivvy bag and it could have been missing in emergency. However, the weather was really nice and there were favorable conditions during the trip. Other important equipment – snow pegs – were also missing. These long, wide tent peg could have given good stability in snow where regular tent pegs have difficulties. It was lucky to have skis because we could have used them as snow pegs. Everybody brought a shovel which was not necessary on this trip. We just used them to make our camping place flat and we could have made it with less shovels we had. However, I would not do it differently next time because the shovel is one of the most important equipment which could help us in emergency. We brought two storm kitchens to the trip and indeed it was really unnecessary. One of them was a redundant equipment. Especially that we had only one dinner during the trip. Anyway it was a great idea to split the parts of the equipment so nobody had to carry too much weight.
To complete the trip, we needed a lot of energy so we had to care about nutritious food. It had to contain lots of protein, carbohydrates, fat and also fiber. During the day we had some stop to eat and drink something. At home I made some sandwich for the first day and I brought snacks as well. We had a storm kitchen so we could have made hot dinner at the camping place. The Hungarians were responsible for the dinner on the first night. We were thinking about a traditional Hungarian food which is easy to make but delicious and also nutritious. So we cooked potato and sausages with paprika on the previous night and just brought the prepared dinner to the trip. We used the storm kitchen to warm it up and finally we had a really nice meal. It was so amazing that we were just sitting in the tent and having hot dinner after a long and tiring day. On the second day I also made some sandwiches and we melted snow for drinking water. It was a long process but finally everybody had water in their bottle.
During the trip the weather was really nice and most of the time it was sunny. Fortunately, it was no blizzard or storm which would have been really dangerous in the mountains. So we did not need any shelters during the day. The only shelter which we were trying to care about it was a valley for the night. We set up our tents on a low area of land between hills. It was a quite deep place so we were protected against the wind. Therefore, this idea functioned properly. Anyway, first we were trying to find a woody area covered with trees but there was no tree at all near there. We could have checked that on the map if there were any trees in that area. I would do it differently next time.
First I had some difficulties with carrying all my stuff. Originally carrying the storm kitchen was my responsibility but I realised that I did not have enough place in my backpack for that. Then I tried to remove unnecessary stuff but everything in my backpack was definitely necessary. So I just asked the others to split the storm kitchen and finally they helped me to carry that. Without the storm kitchen, my backpack was really heavy anyway. Only my polifoam was outside my backpack but I did not really like that because of falls. I had to check that all the time even though I fixed it well. To be honest I had difficulties with skiing without a backpack anyway. To carry a heavy one, made it more difficult and bigger challenge. After a few hours I started to feel the balance on skis. Downhill without falls was my biggest motivation.