Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Seljord Camping - Grimdalstunet Museum

Saturday June 30, 2018, 64 km (40 miles) - Total so far: 1,779 km (1,105 miles)

Last night my camper neighbors wheeled a long power strip out to me. I was able to give all battery banks 100%, important as I'll be wild camping at least a couple of times. The Telemark mountains are getting to me in good and bad ways. Really, they're breathtaking.

Seljord sits in a steep-walled valley. Almost like a gash. I camped by a big lake, but chose to be near the outer toilets, which incidentally also had a couple shower stalls. A big wind came up so the lake tent area was too exposed. Where I was was perfect, and like I mentioned my neighbors were kind. They said I'd ridden my bike further than they'd driven their camper that day. And, boy, were my legs feeling it.

I felt lucky to have made the climbs, to have made it to Seljord, and to have found reasonably priced camping. She even let me charge it and gave me cash back. (See earlier troubles finding an ATM.
So this a.m. leaving didn't know what to expect. I knew there would be hard climbs. Not sure how much fun I'd have. The Telemark are dramatic mountains. Think Rockies. The scenery is just like a wall calender. Hard to describe without falling into using awesome.

Another thing about last night was that the sun didn't as much set as it slipped, at 10 pm behind a mountain and it immediately cooled down. This morning it was about 49 degrees. So started with windbreaker and pants, but they quickly came off. I prayed I wouldn't have to climb straight off, and, indeed, it was gradual. Made it to the top of something and stopped at an info sign. I'd entered Tokke Kommune. Picked up a new map. In Morgedal bought some great wool socks on special, like the price for bread. In Hoydalsmo ate a great weird sausage sandwich. Fuel for the hard mountain up ahead. It seemed never-ending.

Reaching the final final always feels great, because you can start the descent. This one was crazy and chaotic. Way too steep and fast. I was a run-away train. I pulled off in Eidsborg--right up to another stavekirke. This one had most of it's original interior still intact. I also toured the Vest (West) Telemark museum with tons of cool stuff such as costumes tools, phallic stones, old wool mittens, and rosemaling-decorated chests. This area is very special because it was hard to get to and folks living here had to be self-reliant. It's also a big center for skiing.

Then I continued my crazy zigzag down the mountain. I bottomed out in Dalen. It was only 2:30 and I wanted to get further. I'd already come about 54 KM and climbed over 900 meters. Leaving only meant up, up, up.

First another hot dog pit stop. All water bottles were full and I bought an ice tea for the road.
Here's where the Telemarks got me. The road out started at 12%. I couldn't keep up that kind of climbing. Nada. So I pulled over and put out my thumb. A guy pulled over and said he couldn't because he had a dog taking up the trunk. But surely someone would take me up the mountain.
I walked my fully loaded bike up, all of 2 hours. Even at what might have been the top, I just couldn't get on the bike. I had no more leg power. I rested in someone's yard. I rested on someone's front porch. I walked the bike more. I told myself there's got to be a top. Finally I got back on and rode.

I rode to Shangri-La. Actually Grimdalstunet. Which isn't a town but gallery and cafe. All of which were closed. I parked the bike and explored the grounds. Anne Grimdalen was a 20th century sculptor. On the grounds are stone statues of animals, realistic yet imbued with character. Also there is set up some historic buildings from the region. I feel like I have stepped back in time to Kristin Lavransdatter. There is a particularly decorative loft.

I went over to a stone carving of a bear and its cub and said, Thank you.

Then to add to the magic, I heard beautiful singing coming down from the peaks above me. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from or why. I mean I'm in the middle of nowhere by this deserted gallery. (UP 587 m · DOWN 14 m--from Dalen)

I went to move my bike and here comes a young couple down a trail. Hey, I said, I heard you singing. Then I asked for water. If I had a little more I'd be set to camp here. They took me to a cute little house off from the cafe and gallery, and we chatted for awhile. They said it was okay for me to camp.

So here I am. With the Anne Grimdalen carvings, the Kristin Ladsdatter loft, and a very sweet set up.
Except for the biting no-see-ums. I'm hiding from them in my tent.

Europe's oldest wooden structure

interior of stave kirke

interior of stav kirke, because of the remoteness of the valley, most of the original interior intact

detail, rosemaling chest

wall of rosemaling chests

remoteness of Telemark valley, leading down to Dalen

corkscrew turns going down to Dalen

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