Mount Gausta is said to have the finest view in Southern Norway, and you can even see one sixth of the country from the 1883m summit. Clearly we wanted to hike it. The day we took the steep drive up to the trailhead though, it was raining, and the cloud was so low that it totally engulfed us in the van. We decided to sleep in the car park right by a glistening black lake and hope for better weather for the next day. The car park was at about 1150m, the surrounds were arid; hills with boggy shrubs and rocks covered in fluorescent green and yellow moss that gave everything a mint green glow. There were still signs of winter with huge slabs of ice on the sides of the roads, one area was higher than Pablo. It was a bitterly cold night.
Thankfully the next day the rain had stopped and the low lying cloud drifted high enough for us to hike up the mountain. It was a fairly easy, steady hike, but the terrain was awful, sharp rocks and pebbles that roll your ankles. A few patches we had to walk over were pure sheets of snow and a welcome relief from the stones. The views of dark lakes and hills reminded us of Scotland, and in the distance pine forests led off into the Hardangervidda National Park – the biggest mountain plateau in Europe, and home to the largest herd of wild reindeer – amazing!!
The trail levelled off at the top, and we passed a small cafe which cruelly wafted the scent of baked goods past us as we took the rocky ridge to the summit. We were officially within the clouds, and it actually made the climb and scramble along rocks rather scary as we couldn’t see how steep the mountain was to either side of us. Would I fall to a sudden death, or rollie-pollie down and have every bone crushed and become paralysed. Neither were great options but I continued climbing and jumping over deep cracks onto very precariously balanced rocks.
The summit was what could only be described as an anti-climax; Surrounded by cloud at the best view in Southern Norway.