The Sylene Range with Lake Nesjøen in front:
|Ole is one of these sturdy outdoor
bred Norwegians who never gives up; even facing a group of hard-nosed Nortrekkers, one of them from Switzerland and the rest from Scandinavia, does not make
him throw in the towel. However, in contrast to the trek I undertook with
Ole two years ago, when we experienced
some most unusual weather with rain and even wet snow in the mountains, this
year we had both sunny and very warm weather during almost all six days of
the trek in mid-August 2002.
Even the rivers and lakes in this particularly rugged area of Norway and Sweden's answer to Wyoming's Grand Tetons invited us to go for a swim with the glaciers and mountains around us.
Ole Dyrhaug inherited the Icelandic horse riding venture some ten years
ago from his father who began the business almost 20 years earlier.
Their riding tours are some of the best in Scandinavia, offering well trained
Icelandic horses as surefooted mounts to the tourists who are expected
to have some riding experience before setting out on the weeklong treks
in the Norwegian-Swedish mountains of Sylene some 200 kms east of Trondheim.
On that one rainy day we visited a former Sami camp where some traditional facilities for surviving the harsh climate remain visible, such as a fish smoking oven and snares for catching grouse.
This is also the area where the Swedish army commanded by General Armfeldt perished during its retreat back to Sweden in the winter of 1712-13. In the distance we saw the historical monument, recently erected on the Swedish side of the border to commemorate this sad event. We also passed the newly erected pilgrim monument on the border in the Skarsfjell-pass which points the present day pilgrims the right track towards Trondheim.
In the late afternoon of our second day of the trek we arrived at the Norwegian mountain hut, Stor-Erikvollen. We were told that its original founder "Big"-Erik reappears traditionally after midnight when the lights are out (the electricity generator is then not operating). We also saw tracks after the legendary "Heggis-Bear" somewhere around the Sylene Fjell Stasjon hut, but we did not get close enough to try to catch him. Ole had his own account of this very special bear hunting technique. But his closest experience with the local bear population was only a couple of years old. Some of the horses may still recall this event which caused Ole and his wrangler most of a night's sleep at that time.
Ole on the trail in tölting gait with his two horses:
Rounding up the herd in the morning:
The Helags Mountain with its glacier:
Antonie and her mount with the Helags Range in the horizon (guess why
these mountains are named Helags or the "holy" ones):
Here we come:
tölting (?) along:
Ole welcomes you and invites you to
|A more precise account of a couple of days of this trek may
indicate how the whole week proceeded:
It is early Thursday morning at the Sylene Fjäll Station mountain hut in Sweden. Daylight already breaks before 5 am although we are half way into August. But at 4 am a group of five riders leave the hut on foot. They aim to scale the Storsylen Mountain still before breakfast. The map shows a distance of about five kilometres from the hut to the peak, but the difference in height is in the order of 700 meters. The group makes it back just in time for breakfast which is served at 8 am sharp in all the huts where we spend the nights. All riding trek participants are now fully used to a good serving of hot oatmeal porridge as the principal starter of the day. In fact the kitchen often has to prepare a second serving to satisfy also the group of mountain hikers mainly from the Swedish side of the border who also spend the night at the huts.
Ole starts off with our group at about 10 am after the normal extra half hour needed to replace worn or lost horse shoes. We start by walking the horses up a steap trail to cross a pass and then continue our ride towards the Helags Mountain Range - even higher than the Sylene Range which we leave behind us. Around 1 pm we break for lunch. This means about one to one and a half hours of rest for the riders and the horses. Ole and his wrangler assistant make up a small fire and cook tea and coffee for all of us. This brings us into a good mood for the afternoon ride to the Helags Fjällstation which we reach a little after 5 pm.
This means that we have ample time to enjoy a sauna before dinner which we prepare ourselves in the two huts we visit on the Swedish side of the border.
Before the lunch break on the last day of the trek (Saturday) we are able to have the traditional "family-photo" taken with the impressive Sylene Mountain Range as background (see photo below).
The last few kilometres are in fast tölt, trot and even gallop.
The horses are clearly looking forward to a free evening and the next day
in the pastures at the Vaktarstuen lodge, before they have to carry another
group of tourists into the Sylene mountains the next week. But the
past week has indeed proven a special experience for our group to this quite far-a-way valley and maybe less known mountains on the border
between Norway and Sweden. And again, Ole's horses are special indeed,
very well trained and able to carry us safely during all six days of riding,
including in the tölt gait if the rider is able to practise this additional
skill of the Icelandic horse.
..., and photos from our tour with Ole Dyrhaug in 1996 are also available.
The whole group with the Sylene Range behind them.