North to the Arctic Circle

We decided to make a big move north when we left Molde. For what we could see there  wasn’t a lot worth stopping for so we did 3 travel days in a row covering between 220-260 km each day. We find we average only about 60-65 km/ hour on the roads here unless we hit a really good stretch. The main highway north varies a lot. Sometimes it is new seal and well marked and other times there is no centre line and it is windy and narrower- lots of fun when you pass big trucks coming the other way. We decided to take the main highway inland rather than the coastal route as it was a lot shorter and we were concerned about how narrow the coastal route might be in places- which turned out to be well justified when we did a day trip out from Moi I Rana. The route we took was very beautiful in its own right- often we were driving beside rivers tumbling down through boulders. 

Lots of rain on the first 2 travel days. We stopped at a campground just north of Tronheim the first night and a basic one in the middle of nowhere the second but both had beautiful views from where we parked the van. We had thought we might wild camp on the way north but we find that a lot of the places near the road are too small for us to get into with the trailer and we have an aversion to going down narrow roads and tracks when we don’t know what is there and run the risk of not being able to turn around. 

Our campsite the second night.

One thing we are noticing is the profusion of wild flowers everywhere by the road- sometimes lupins in mauve, pink and white or others that I can’t identify. As we go north the season for them seems to be getting later and later so we have had wild flowers almost the entire trip in Norway. 

The third night we decided to stop in Mo I Rana for a couple of days. Nice campground apart from the huge steel mill just over the ridge which ran 24/7. The town is totally reliant on the steel mill and other big industry and has no attraction in itself but is a useful stopping point to go out to the tourist route on the coast and visit the Svetisen Glacier. To hike to the glacier we had to take a boat across a lake then they said it was an hour’s hike – but we figured that was just to the viewpoint for the glacier. If we had gone all the way to the front of the glacier it would have taken another 20 min and we would have missed the boat back and had to wait a while for the last boat of the day. Maybe we are getting slow these days – but we walked faster than most. 

The tourist route up the coast can be accessed from Mo I Rana. A lot of the time there are no connections between the routes. The tourist office told us about a boat that sometimes takes people on tours up the fjords near the Svetisen National Park which departs from a place on the coastal route so we thought – why not, we will get to see some of the scenic coastal route as well as a boat trip. It is surprising how few trips like that are available. It was difficult to find out much about the trip or even if it was definitely going to happen but it ended up being a highlight of our time in Norway despite it being a totally no-frills trip. Having perfect weather helped. The drive out there was also incredibly scenic. The cruise took us to see harvesting at a salmon farm, seals and a whale that is apparently resident around the salmon farm, a waterfall that provided a good shower for those who wanted it as well as yet more spectacular scenery. 

We think the whale may have been a Pygmy sperm whale but the skipper called it a Nur whale or something (but not a narwhale ). 

Next stop – near Bodo where we get on the car ferry to go to Lofoten Islands. 

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