It is the end of July in 2003, the weather is beautiful, and I am on my way to Norway. I just had a great week hiking and camping in Sweden and now there are almost two weeks ahead of me in beautiful Norway and I am starting of with a visit to Rondane National Park. The trip from Sälen in Sweden to Otta in Norway is about 350 km, so that is a nice distance to drive by car without stressing to get here. But of course I need to look on the map if we are still on the right way though ;-)
As this was my first time in Norway I wanted to have a picture of the border, hahaha, but I was out of luck! There is hardly any 'real' border anymore between the countries, so I passed it without noticing. It's great though to travel through Scandinavia like this, no delays at the border, no check-ups, just drive and enjoy the wonderful landscape. The only thing you will notice is the sudden change in language you see on the signs ;-)
In the late afternoon we arrived at Otta where we found a campground. It was quite busy at the campground, but we were able to find a nice (and relatively quiet) spot along the river. We only have a little tent, so it is easy to squeeze it in somewhere. Hahaha, although sometimes clumsy, there are some clear advantages to travelling light :-)
We were challenged a little bit though to be creative. We didn't bring any folding chairs with us and there weren't any camping tables available either. Hmmm... Problem....? Nooo, of course not! There were some big boulders on the edge of the river and those were an excellent alternative for the chairs. Feeling tired of the trip; it was so relaxing to sit here, listen and watch the river flow by, and having a sip on a drink.
Hahaha, I just couldn't resist taking this picture, it looked so crazy seeing this little toilet house in the middle of the campground, lol. Fortunately there were some more facilities available besides only this one ;-)
It is time to get on the road again, new day and new adventures. When you see this road sign it means you are approaching a toll gate. There are quite a few of them in the area of Otta and Rondane National Park, but I came across a few others as well in Norway.
Around Rondane the toll wasn't high, but if you drive up one of the small mountain roads in the area you will with no doubt come across one of these toll roads. It's good idea to make sure that you have some small change with you. The toll posts are unguarded so you won't get any change back when you don't have the correct amount available. I got into that situation a few times, and I have to admit I skipped the toll so now and then because of that, without any problems.
New day, New adventures, and first on the list for the day is a visit to the Kvitskriuprestein, a weird rock formation, close to Otta. The place is on a little side road into the mountains around Otta, and it is not really easy to find. From the E6, travelling north, just outside the village of Otta, take the side road to the right. Follow this little road through the Uladalen along the river Ula for approximately 3 kilometres, and you will get to the Kvitkriuprestein.
The final part of getting to the Kvitskriuprestein requires a steep and exhausting climb. The hike isn't that far, but the steepness of the trail makes it very exhausting. Hahaha, I am amazed I got there at all! lol :-) You can see me here desperately trying to walk uphill. I was far behind Åke of course, who was patiently waiting for me and encouraging me that I could make it up to the top. And I did! Hahaha, partly thanks to my always existing stubbornness ;-) I decided I could make it up this stupid hill, hahaha, so that is what I did :-))
The Kvitskriuprestein (or priests of the white scree) is an example of a form of erosion that is very rare in Northern Europe. The material the pyramids are made of white moraine soil. This type of soil is left over from an earlier Ice Age; it is hard as concrete when dry, but easily washed away by rain and flooding creeks. The rocks on the top of the pillars have protected them, while the rain washed away the surrounding soil, giving them this weird look. From a distance, the white pyramids topped by the dark rock hats remind of a group of priests, and that is why they got this name.
Below you see a closer look at the Kvitskriuprestein. The rocks themselves are fenced of, as they are protected by Royal Decision June 24. 1977, but you have a good look at them from behind the fence. The rocks aren't that impressive too see or maybe I saw too many fascinating rock formations on my visit to the USA (Monument Valley, Arches and Bryce Canyon). Considering the steep and exhausting climb to get there, I am not sure if it is worth while going here. If you have a few days in Otta, it might be a nice idea, but when you are limited in time, I would skip it and rather spend some more time in Rondane National Park instead.
We are on the road again, but now on our main destination of the day: Rondane National Park. From the E6, take a side road to the village of Høvringen, a very picturesque road to drive. At first the road is climbing steep up, giving a beautiful view of the valley you just left. And after that you will be amazed by the landscape unfolding in front of you: Rondane National Park. The road isn't without obstacles though, hahaha, sheep are walking around freely here. So don't be surprised to make a stop on the way because some sheep are blocking the way.