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Page 47

Text and photo: Bjørn Harry Schønhaug, Mikel Gonsholt and DNT Telemark

First, you glimpse it on the horizon. Then, as you leave the gravel road behind and start to stride out across the mountain plateau, you hear it: the sound of total tranquillity. But before any of that, start with lunch at the Norwegian Trekking Association’s (DNT) cabin at Kalhovd, in the company of other shiny, expectant faces from Norway and abroad. Through the window, you’ll see a brisk wind blowing across the water of Lake Kalhovd, and then two cyclists come trundling down the final kilometres of the 30 km cycle track from the upper station of the Krossobanen cable car at Rjukan. You hoist your rucksack onto your back, adjust the straps and set out with a few friendly words of advice from the cabin staff. Birdsong When you get to Stegaros, you leave the gravel road behind. Ahead of you are good paths and fresh water in the streams. Perhaps your rucksack is already feeling on the heavy side, but you soon forget that as you follow the red Ts across the terrain. It isn’t long before you hear it. The silence. The sound of silence is the running stream, the blowing wind and the birds singing in the heather. As soon as you reach the Butjønnåi river, you pull off your rucksack and lie down in the heather with a cup of cold, refreshing mountain water. Before continuing, you fill your water bottle and check your route on the map. After a few hours of walking in total tranquillity with unforgettable views, you pitch your tent. The mighty Kvenna You wake in the middle of the night and stick your head out of the tent. The moon is reflected in Vråsjåen lake, and the water looks like sheet metal. Contentedly, you close the tent again and go back to sleep. After breakfast, you cross the 47

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The Telemark Catalogue 2019