Outdoor blog: by Ute Koninx - iventureout.com, image: Visit Norway


Imagine this. The sun is quickly disappearing behind the hill on this crisp and cold evening. High up, there is a light dusting of fresh snow. The evening activities start to unfold inside the mountain hut. The fire has been lit a while ago and is now warming the living and dining area of the communal space and the smell of a hearty stew is filling the air. A number of groups are sitting around in the comfortable space. Some are playing a game together, others are in conversation or reading a book. You have a hot drink in hand and are settling in with your own group looking forward to a warm meal and a good game of cards afterwards. This is what Norwegians call ‘hyttekos’.
16.November 2023 Ute Koninx

Soon the winter landscapes around Stavanger will be waiting to be discovered. Even if there is not a lot of snow, the winter light is enchanting, as are glistening, frost covered trees or frozen tarns. And being away even for a short time will give you a break from daily life, give you and your family or group of friends a sense of adventure. This might be just what you need to increase mental well-being in winter, particularly if you have not experienced the short day light hours of a winter in this area of Norway. The best part is that you don’t have to travel far from Stavanger to experience this enchanted setting. The Stavanger Touristforening (STF) has a few huts only a short hike away. Skåpet for example, and also Flørli and Bakken come to mind. These are accessible without having to hike for many hours. If you carry the ingredients along for a tasty meal, you can enjoy a short winter hike, a night out in the mountains and return the next day.

If you want to keep hiking to a minimum then your best option would be the Stavanger Turistforening huts along the Lysefjord, with easy access using Kolumbus boat number 560. The STF hut at Flørli is only a few hundred meters up the hill from the Flørli quay. A little further  into the Lysefjord is Bakken gard, another mountain cabin overlooking the Lysefjord. The hike up from Bakken quay is a bit more strenuous and adventurous. Both huts are accessible on a Friday midday by boat and you can leave on Sunday morning and enjoy a day out in the mountains.

Plan your trip on ut.no, kolumbus.no or the Stavanger Turistforening site on dnt.no. Book your bed on hyttebestilling.dnt.no for Flørli turiststasjon, or for Bakken gard. At the time of writing there were still plenty of spaces left this winter. Be aware that you need to book the Kolumbus 560 boat ferry a few hours in advance. There is no pantry in either Flørli or Bakken, so take all your food along for your stay. Plan your hut adventure now and enjoy a special time with family and friends around that crackling fire, with that hot chocolate and a fun game later this winter. Who knows, there might be even some snow around once you are there!

Last but not least, a few practical tips to prepare for winter hiking. Bear in mind that once you are out of the city and out in nature, temperatures are lower. Dress in layers to regulate body temperature and insulate against the cold. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer (wool is really your fabric of choice here), add an insulating mid-layer such as down, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Additionally, wear sturdy, waterproof boots and bring warm socks,gloves and a beanie to keep extremities and your head comfortable. Check weather conditions and trail conditions before leaving, and tell someone about your hiking plans. It is a good idea to pack a headlamp and a first aid kit. For the Flørli turiststasjon and at Bakken gard you need to take all the food plus comfortable clothing for the hut. When hiking in the mountains in winter I would also always bring along ‘brodders’ or spikes to mount under my boots. This will help you get enough grip on icy patches. Get good quality ones, so they don’t break easily and learn how to use them, before you need them. By following these simple preparations, you can hike these short winter trails up from the quays at Flørli and Bakken towards the huts safely and with confidence and experience the Norwegian hyttekos for yourself.

If you would like more information hiking around the Lysefjord check out my books https://iventureout.com/lysefjord-and-beyond and https://iventureout.com/hikingnorway or visit my website at iventureout.com


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