Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Goblin Trail: Tusseløypa

A boy in Peter's class had a birthday party this morning, out in the woods. Gutsy call by the parents, because we had bad weather for so long, but the sunny weather this week held out and we had a beautiful fall morning as I drove the kids up into Byåsen to try to find this trail. Byåsen is a vast wooded area on the west hills of Trondheim, full of hiking and skiing trails and lakes for fishing and swimming. It's nice to have this beautiful area right in the city.

The trail we were looking for is one called "Tusseløya"... plugging this into Google Translate the night before, Peter and I saw the translation: "Goblin Trail". Cool. Maybe we'd see goblins!

The trailhead was marked with a strange tree root making a portal to the trail. "Watch out for goblins!" I warned the kids as we entered. I didn't really expect to see any, but soon we saw a face painted on a tree. Then another. And another. And another.

Dozens of faces peeked out of the trees! Some friendly, some mysterious, some with baby pacifiers tied to them... how strange and wonderful!

Over rivers and bridges into the forest, the ground still green with thick moss. The outside world was warm and sunny, but the air grew colder as we went deeper into the wood. Soon we came to the party, in an area with a twisty river, numerous bridges, rope swing over the water, money bars, and a small shelter with a fire pit and benches. The kids played while the adults roasted hot dogs and kept warm by the fire. Maggie prompty slipped off an icy log and ended up shin deep in cold water. Shortly thereafter, Peter fell of the rope swing and landed on his back in shallow water. Good thing he didn't have his coat on at the time! Soon, the fire was crowded with kids trying to dry their cold feet!

I learned that the word for 'goblin' in Norwegian is the same as the slang word for 'pacifier' (the equivalent of 'dummy' in England or 'binky' as we called 'em in our family). When kids are ready to give up their pacifiers for good, some parents take them to this trail and the kids give them to the goblins by tying them to the goblin trees. One parent I spoke with said it worked perfectly with her daughter. What an awesome idea!

All too soon we headed back to the car, thankful that the VW heats up very quickly. We were all ready for warm baths by the time we got home.

This was an excellent trail for the kids, a perfect length hike, just over 1 km (about 2 km for the whole loop), with all kinds of fun things to see and discover on the way. The trail is located near Kobberdammen, a dam where water flows over the top from a lake, so there is lots more to see and discover in this area. Maybe when it warms up a little.

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