The Island of Senja - Mountain bogs, beach in the fjord and Barden summit. (2023.06.25-26)

We left the Norwegian mainland and crossed the bridge to the Island of Senja. Arriving at the Ånderdalen National Park at night during the heavy rain was not the most fun thing. Tired after the long hike (from the glacier) we built a tent in the rain and quickly fell asleep.

The Ånderdalen National Park is known for its northern Norwegian nature: primeval coastal forests raised bogs among the mountains and silver (marble) pines – dead trees that lost their bark and whose bare light grey trunks look silvery. The belief of local people in the old times was that they were the spirits of the dead. Indeed they stand out starkly from the surrounding greenery and look a liitle bit like from another world.

Sisu enjoyed running on the bog’s mossy surface. 

We found a nice place to rest, and apparently were a bit tired so we took a nap there, but after chilling in the grass we saw that Sisu and our clothes were covered in tick larvae. 

The raised bog on the “terraces” created by the granite bedrock.

It was a quiet and calm walk through the park on a cloudy day. There was no epic light or mindblowing scenery but still nice, especially since I enjoyed walking through lush fern grooves on our way back.

Now we needed to look for a place to sleep, and there was one beach that should be good.

Very beautiful mountains and fjords make up most of the island’s coast. This looks pretty “Lofonteny”. The plan was to spend one or two nights on the beach of the fjord. 

Driving on the Island which is made up of mountains, fjords, and bogs means that you have to go through many tunnels under the mountains. 

We crossed the tunnel through the mountain and Ilze gasped, parked the car as soon as possible, and got out of the car like she was Ellie Settler who saw the Brachiosaurus for the first time in Jurassic Park. It was very beautiful indeed, but I was surprised she had such a strong reaction!

And then she explained – she’s driving all the time, so most of the time she sees just the road in front of her. And then suddenly she sees this view of a sunlit horizon over the ocean framed by the towering mountain ridges of the fjord. 

We took some photos and continued driving to the neighboring fjord to put our tent, and the views kept getting better and better!

We parked the car, and started putting the tent but I could not stop admiring the view…

So incredibly beautiful. Sharp mountain peaks, partially covered in clouds and illuminated by the never-ending sunset! Watch the video to better see

This was the culmination of the day and I could not imagine a better ending of it!

In the morning light had changed and without the golden hour light, everything looked much less magical. But I could now better see the waterfalls coming down from the mountains (weirdly regularly spaced). 

We had our breakfast, Sisu found out that ocean water is not tasty, we made friends with a Finnish family who camped nearby and went off to conquer the mountains.

We did not choose anything hard, after all, with my broken spine and weak legs it would be mildly put – too ambitious. 

We planned to climb up the Barden. Just 659m high, but it should have incredible views.

The trail started as expected not too hard, it was marked with blue – middle complexity. Soon we were pretty high and the views were already amazing. Sisu found a huge branch of a tree and dragged it for almost a half kilometer uphill. I, of course, was tired after a half an hour of walking, but I understood that I actually recovered pretty quickly after resting. 

I got trekking poles from Ilze and they helped a lot…until the trail started going steeper and steeper, instead of the blue dots now there were red ones! The path had very steep slopes on both sides and was quite narrow, it felt like just one meter at places! While climbing up, some rocks were getting loose and I started feeling a bit uncomfortable. 

Ilze was with Sisu and this made everything much more tricky. 

Despite that at some point we passed people with two huge dogs twice as big as Sisu.

But we still found nice spots to make a photo together. 

It was already an afternoon and the light was getting better. The slow play of light and shadow and the ocean mist in the air on the slopes of the mountains was slowly getting more beautiful, I tried to capture some of the moments. 

The funny thing was that when you climb it looks like the summit is already near, but then when you reach it, you see that actually it is just a bump on the hillside and you have a least as much to climb!

Sisu fully experienced every snow patch she could lay her paws on. 

One confusing moment happened when I was half a kilometer away from the Barden summit. I was totally tired, catching my breath, hoping to get there sooner, when suddenly three young women ran past me. I’m trying not to die here and they just run?! This was my first encounter with trail runners. Later there was another guy who ran to the top, took photos, and ran back… 

The summit was impressive. I was a bit tired to explore more around, but the landscapes were very beautiful! 

On our way back, it was already late evening although the sun was shining bright. We saw a group of Finns who were climbing up with tents and all equipment apparently planning to spend a night on Barden. I saw them on the most challenging part of the path and they repeated my thoughts about that this is not a moderately complicated trail. 

After we climbed down the mountain we drove back to our tent in the fjord just across the tunnel… which happened to be closed because of construction work! Without any warning! 

It was around 22:00 o’clock and the tunnel just closed for 3 or 4 hours and the only alternative road was around the island. It would take the same amount of time to drive around as to wait… So, we found a nice bench on the coast of the sea. Luckily we had the food and everything needed for cooking with us. So Sisu just slept in the midnight sun and we had a romantic dinner in the golden light of the Norwegian midnight sun… 

That is it for this time. There will be more adventures. It may be a lot of text and photos this time, but hopefully, you still enjoy reading it.