A rest day and optional day trips from Glitterheim, where we’re staying for two nights. Ascent of Styggehøe, 10 km, and skiing Øvre and Nedre Steinbuvatnet, 9 km.

The initial plan for today was to ascend Glittertind, Norway’s second tallest mountain. But considering yesterday’s quite tiring skiing, and the continuing high winds, and the long day we have ahead of us tomorrow, we decided against it. 1100m of ascent and descent, with high wind and on a mostly icy surface, would have us all quite exhausted.

Some of us stayed in the hut and read; others went out for short walks. I joined a group that skied up Styggehøe, a somewhat less exciting mountain that happened to be nearby. We actually had clear skies today, but it was still windy enough that we only stopped quite briefly for coffee and photos at the top. The skiing was nothing special and neither were the views, frankly.

Back at the hut some of us felt that the morning’s 10 km outing was not enough to count as a proper day of skiing and talked about going out again in some other direction. Having learned on Wednesday that not enough skiing leads to not enough sleepiness, I joined in, even though I knew I’d slow the group down – the other goers were among the strongest skiers in the group. But the gentlemen said they didn’t mind.

We climbed a short slope right behind the hut and then skied back and forth along/across two lakes, Øvre and Nedre Steinbuvatnet, beneath Glittertind. On the way out, we had the wind in our faces and the going was hard, so we made stayed on the snow on the side of the lake. The wind kept spinning up into whirlwinds, which were pretty to look at (and I’m quite miffed that my camera decided to stop working at this time) but hit quite hard when they hit me. On the plus side, the snowy whirlwinds were easy to spot in advance so I could brace myself.

On the way back there was no more slogging through snow. Instead we raced back across the icy lakes with the wind at our backs. Point the skis in the right direction and pole away, with the skis humming along the ice. According to the GPS unit of one of the guys, he had skied the lake at an average speed of 18 km/h. I was not quite as fast but nevertheless I felt like I was almost flying. This was the most fun I’d had all week! The speed and power and focus made for an almost ecstatic experience.

Back at the hut, we still had time to kill before dinner. The couple in charge of this hut were celebrating their 10-year anniversary as caretakers, so they had a knitted friendship banner/scarf project going, that visitors could add to. I felt I had done enough reading already so I was definitely up for some knitting.

Plain knitting is a decent way to make time pass, but there was time for something more fun, so I embellished my knitting with an embroidered Warthog logo for the company organizing this trip – Warthog Off Grid Adventures (web site, Facebook page). Orange, of course.