September 7, 2017

A challenging bike trip to Mont Filefjell in Norway

A flashback to a fatal bike trip in July:

Was the Kings Old Road ever ment for bikes?

It is no more than app 14 km along the Kings Old Road that cross the Filefjell in the mountains in Central Norway from the small St. Thomas chapel along E16 to the old tourist resort Maristolen. It is today a rough path but still recommended for people hiking and/or biking.  To the latter I can only say that biking along this old medieval road is purely for mountain bike fanatics.

History (ref. Wiki)

The Filefjell Kongevegen (English: The Kings Road) is the name of the old trail over Filefjell, the mountainous area between Lærdal/Borgund and Valdres in Norway. It is the historical main route linking Western Norway and Eastern Norway.Due to the sometimes wet and marshy land in the valley bottom, the old trail runs farther up in the hill than the modern asphalt road does today. The old trail is still used for hiking. It was named after King Sverre of Norway (1184–1202) who traveled this route with his army. The first post route came this way in 1647. The road got official status as a main road in the year 1791.

Maristova in Filefjell (built at Queen Margaret's command around 1390) and Nystuen in Vang (first mentioned in 1627 but believed to be much older) are guest houses that provided for travelers along the road. The owners were compensated by the king and commanded to aid travelers and provide shelter for those who used the road. This practice lasted until 1830.

Today, Kongevegen has been restored, opening it up for hikers. Major sections such as Vindhella provide an insight into the skills in use by the road engineers of the time.

The seven disappointments

We parked by the little old chapel St. Thomas kirken at Filefjell. The very first part of the road looked like a gravel road and set an optimistic mind with the madam and myself. Nature was beautiful and soon we passed this little idyllic bridge and creek as the terrain started to turn upwards.

The road was too steep to bike so we had to walk and push the bikes upwards. In the distant it looked to be  a small peak - giving hope that the road was to be more flat up there.

During this phase of the tour a hiker, experienced with the trail, told us of the seven disappointments along this road. We would see 7 times an uphill stretch that gave hope to be the upper peak in the mountain.  But only after 7 times we was on the highest point. WOW was that a welcomed inspiration - for sure NOT. Under a photo of the madam traversing one of the seven disappointments.

Finally the top point of the road

 Murklopphaugen with the marble marker indicating the border between Akershus and Bergen in the old days, from Norsk Prospect-Samling by P.F. Wergmann. Not quite the highest point but close by.

So far on our trip our time estimate was completely destroyed. Our plan was to reach the mountain lodge Maristua and have a bus there going back to where our car was parked.

We decided to split so I could rush down to Maristova for the bus and later return with the car to pick up the madam. So far all well. BUT the downhill to Maristova was very, very steep - and in the rush I had a very nasty stop and fall with the bike, hit my head and was later blue all over my body. To make a long story short - after some days with a headache I woke up one morning with some sight problems and the day after that one eye was closed (as it still is presently). More about this: 

Anyhow I did reach the bus and was happy picking up the car at the parking by the St. Thomas chapel (to the right in the back).

Comments are welcome 🙂

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