Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hytte Adventure

Saturday we packed up to spend the night at Allan's hytte in Bymarka. We arrived at the parking lot at 3 pm and then hiked for a hour up to the cabin to meet Allan and Max. Allan showed us the ropes and then left us with the hytte for the evening.

The small cabin is just off the main trail up into Bymarket, near an old farm that now serves pølse and sjokolade (hotdogs and hot chocolate) to skiers. There is no electricity or water, heating is provided by a wood burning stove, cooking is done on a propane range, and oil lanterns provide the light.

The cabin is decked out with supplies. We relaxed with coffee, games, and old Mad magazines, then cooked a dinner of noodles and hamburgers. The meat is called familiekjøpp, or "family meat," and is a blend of beef and pork. It's quite delicious we were surprised to find -- better than beef-only hamburgers.

It was soon dark. We filled up oil lanterns and each carried one as we set off with sleds to a field a short hike away. Setting the lanterns on the slope we made a lighted course for sledding. Beneath a brilliant sparkling sky we slid down the hill again and again, Orion looming immensely overhead. Peter ran back to the hytte to get a steerable ski-sled. Pam gave it a try and whoosh! She went well beyond the range of lights, and we could hear her disappearing into the distant darkness, lauughing and screaming all the way. Eventually she returned, and Peter and I decided to give it a shot. Just like Pam, we too sped far beyond the lights and were speeding through a world of darkness. Sheer terror and exhiliration! I could see only a few meters ahead, the surface pitching and dropping unexpectedly. Faster and faster we flew, guessing at our heading, hoping to stay on the groomed path through the field. Suddenly -- a fence! I twisted the sled sideways and we tumbled out, crashing through the icy surface and burying ourselves into the crystal snow!

It was all very surreal! Awesome!

In the morning, we made pancakes for breakfast -- Norwegian-style panekakker, which are more like crepes. I had mine with jam, Peter ate his with sugar.

After breakfast, we headed out to go skiing. Peter and Maggie decided to go sledding, but Anna was very keen to ski. The snow was very icy and slippery, though, and Anna soon decided to snap off her skis and join her siblings sledding. So Pam and I explored the trails a little. This was only my second time cross-country skiing, and the snow was better suited for experts, so it was rough going, but I can see how this could be addictive! I switched to sledding after a little while, Pam lasted a lot longer!

We packed up, and rather than carry all of our things on our backs and in our arms, this time we used Allan's sled-thing... I don't remember what it's called. It's a sled that I could strap to my waist and pull behind me. We filled it with 5 pairs of skis and boot, a backpack of clothing, a bag of food, assorted snow pants, and for the last part of the trip, a tired child. All in all, an excellent adventure, good family time, and a most memorable weekend!

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