This adventure is a mini expedition to the gorgeous and mysterious Øyungen Lake. Close to the city, but on the edge of the great wilderness of Nordmarka. If you have dreamed of staying one night outside in the great outdoors, then this is the perfect adventure for you. It’s an easy hike for everyone, but it feels like another world. We leave the city behind and enter the Norwegian peace tranquility and uninhabited nature.
Sit around the campfire as the light summer night sets the atmosphere. Sleep in a tent or hammock as you take in the sight, sounds and smell of the forest. IF we are lucky, we can see moose or deer in the forest. Out here, there are no roads or artificial lights. The only sounds are the distant whistle of the Gjøvikbanen train in the distance, the river and the wind blowing in the trees.
We meet at Jernbanetorget/Oslo Visitor Center. From there we take the bus straight north through the city and into the forest. It’s a 2,5 km hike up to the lake on gravel road. For this trip we can pack our backpacks lighter, because the heavier equipment will be hauled up in a cart. We walk along the beautiful Skar River with its waterfalls. In earlier time the river was for used for logging. We can still see many signs of the hard manual labor. The forest was called “the green gold” (now in large replaced by oil - the “black gold” from the seas). We reach Øyungen Lake and the mighty dam. The lake is very big, and is a popular place for hikers and campers from Oslo. It’s the perfect gateway to the great forest and wilderness. Just a short while back we were in the middle of the busy city, and now we are in the serenity of the forest. We set up camp by the lake shore and settle ourselves down.
We will be having a late lunch, which always tastes better in these surroundings. After lunch we have different options of activities:
- You can chill out in the hammock with a book. Just take a timeout from your life. Enjoy the scenery and try to take it all in. Try to disconnect from the world for a while. Try to relax and feel the nature.
- Take a short hike in the area around the camp and the lake. There are small islands, little hills and secluded hidden spaces all around us. The guides can give you a crash course in using a map and a compass if you want to go off on your own. It’s safe and fun. Why not try to experience nature in solitude for once?
- Our guides can take the group to a nice hike along beautiful trails to the idyllic neighboring lake that is Fagervann (“fare lake”.). This small and secluded lake is an absolute favorite for hikers and campers.
In the evening we will prepare a nice dinner. Whenever possible we use fresh and local products. Depending on the season, we can even harvest our own food from the surroundings, mushroom, berries, perhaps catch some fish….As the night ascends upon us, we sit around the campfire. We can share some stories from our lives back home. The guide can tell a tale or two of life and folks from the forest. The Nordic summer nights are epic in the sense that it barely gets dark. Our position so far north, and the way the world turns, allows us to enjoy a night outside wrapped in warm light. The sun goes down, but the period from dusk till dawn is very short.
As we settle in for the night, we can still hear the busy workings of animal life around us. This is their kingdom. The summer season is short, but prosperous. Birds chirping, fish are “wading”, and you can perhaps even hear the callings of foxes, deer, or predator birds.
In the morning you can go for that refreshing morning swim, if you dare. The water is very clean and refreshing, and a secondary source of drinking water for the population of Oslo. We make a nice breakfast and start packing down the camp. We have time for another stroll along the shores of the lake before we start heading back down to Skar. This time we walk along the other (east) side of the Skarselva River. We come down to the military camp of Skar and there we sit on our backpacks and wait for the bus to take us back to the city.
In your heart you carry with you a piece of this forest adventure and the magic of the Nordic summer night. There is no better way to have experience Norway’s wilderness like sleeping outside in it.