Småvannsbu - A winter bikepacking adventure
Updated: Aug 1, 2020
This week it has been winter holidays over here in Oslo, Norway. For us, this normally means heading outdoors for skiing. However, this year it seems like we have skipped winter and moved straight over to spring. There is absolutely no snow to be found near the city. And no snow and open trails are ideal conditions for bikepacking - are we right?! We decided to book ourselves a cabin, because lets face it, it still gets dark quite early and the evenings can get really long inside a tent this time of year. The choice fell on Småvannsbu, a little cabin owned by The Norwegian Trekking Association.
As the trip was approaching, the weather forecast started predicting quite strong winds. On the morning of departure, they were actually recommending people to stay away from the mountains due to the wind. But the trip we had planned was not in the mountains and the sun was shining, so we decided to give it a try. The commute to the cabin was about 40 km. In strong headwinds this turned out to be quite long. The final part was offpiste trail biking, not making it any easier.
Due to the hardcore conditions we were approximately two hours behind schedule. But fortunately we arrived at the cabin just in time for sunset. Oh the joy when arriving after a hard trip and realizing that the cabin is everything we hoped for and knowing that the only thing remaining is to get settled in and enjoying the rest of the day inside.
The bliss turned out to be short-lasting. Firstly, we remembered that we are not very good at making a fire. As a matter of fact, we have never been able to make one by ourselves… And despite several attempts, we were not able to get the fireplace going this time either. Secondly, we had big trouble connecting the gas to the stove and hence, we could not warm any water. In situations like this, being utterly alone deep in the forest, cold and hungry (actually quite angry, if being honest) and failing in the most urgent tasks, you really realize how small and helpless we humans can be. Fortunately, the second time around, with brute force and determination, we managed to connect the gas and stove and we were able to make ourselves some hot tea and soup. And we were happy once again!
After eating, the temperature got really comfy inside the sleeping bag, and we convinced ourselves that it would actually be quite nice sleeping in fresh cold air, so we did not give the fireplace a second attempt… Instead, we went early to bed and got a long night of sleep.
The next morning, we woke up to birds singing and beautiful weather. The wind had calmed and it was perfect conditions for a nice trip back home. We had a long breakfast in our sleeping bag (porridge and coffee, of course), enjoying the silence you only find away from the civilization. Perhaps it was the peacefulness that made us give the fireplace another try, I am not sure, but holy moly - guess what happened?!
When returning, we decided to try another way, going north towards Dikemark instead of south towards Røyken. If you are going to this cabin by bike, we recommend this way as it was a lot easier, and quickly took us back to the paved roads. From Dikemark it was smooth sailing in the sun all the way back to the big city. With a few new skills under our belt and a whole lot of contentment. Småvannsbu - We’ll be back!