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Hiking Dalsnuten in snow and monlight - Premium Private Guided Hikes

Updated: May 17

And so I have been on the third overnight stay on my challenge for the year: 52 Weeks of Wilderness: A Year of Adventure Camping and Hiking in the Stavanger Area, Norway

Minimum one overnight sleep in the nature every week in 2024.

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Stavanger Adventure offers premium private guided hikes, tailored to fit your preferences for a personalized and unforgettable outdoor experience.

tent in moonlight on a snowy mountain

Weather and Conditions: 

Based on the weather forecast, I chose to spend the night on the first day of week three, which fell on Monday, January 15th. The forecast on the previous evening predicted sunny skies, clear weather, and low winds, so I packed my backpack and left it in the car. Monday was a busy day at work with lots of meetings, so I didn't have a chance to keep up with how the weather was developing, but I was looking forward to going hiking in the snow and sunshine after work. Imagine my disappointment when I was met with rain and sleet as I got into my car! However, I was determined to go on my hike that evening, so I drove to the starting point even though it was raining. As you can see from the video, it was not tempting to get out of the car, so I waited for about 30 minutes, hoping that the rain and sleet would stop.


Luckily, it finally did stop, and when I finally set off, the rain and sleet had given way to a beautiful light over the landscape, as shown in these pictures:


Hiking to Dalsnuten in moonlight
Hiking to Dalsnuten in moonlight

Campsite Selection: 

After experiencing two trips with a distinct local character, I decided to camp somewhere away from the island where I live this time. My goal was to find a spot that not only offered a beautiful view but also had easy access, especially since the snow had obscured all the trail markings in the terrain. Additionally, I needed to be at work by 7:00 AM the next morning, so the location couldn't be too far a walk to reach my car early in the morning. Consequently, I chose Dalsnuten for my camping trip this time.


Hiking to Dalsnuten in moonlight

Dalsnuten stands out as one of the most popular and frequently visited hikes in the municipality of Sandnes, and not without reason. Towering 323 meters above sea level, Dalsnuten provides a vast panorama overlooking Sandnes, most of Stavanger, and the expansive landscapes of Jæren! This location is also one of our spots where we offer Premium Private Guided Hikes. If you're interested, you can read more about it HERE.


After a splendid hike, I reached the cairn at the peak and was able to enjoy the magnificent view. My initial plan was to camp there, but a rather strong and cold wind forced me to retreat about 50 meters down the mountainside to find shelter and a suitable spot to pitch my tent.


Hiking to Dalsnuten in moonlight

It turned into a marvelous evening where I could relish the stunning view, accompanied by the moon, stars, and a passerby with their dog enjoying an evening walk. The downside of camping so high in the snow was the impossibility of finding low-growing fuel for a fire. Therefore, I had to substitute a campfire with a heated vest and a multifuel burner that night, as I honestly didn't feel like descending the mountain again to collect wood from the forest.


Preparation and Gear: 

If you're interested in a more detailed description of the equipment I use and my thoughts about it, you can read more about it in THIS post (upcomming).


For this trip, my preparations were minimal and straightforward. I simply charged the batteries for my heated clothing and made some adjustments to the packing list.


Equipment in the backpack for this hike included:

  • Leatherman Wave

  • iPhone 13 mini as main camera

  • First-aid kit

  • Toilet paper

  • Water bottle

  • LED light for the tent

  • Buff (multifunctional neck/headwear)

  • Beanie

  • 2 firestarter packs + lighter

  • Foldable cup + Spork

  • Small electric pump

  • Sami knife

  • Folding saw

  • Headlamp

  • Winter sleeping bag

  • Sleeping pad

  • Tent - Unna

  • Foldable chair

  • Gloves with electric heating


Additional or reduced from last hike:

  • Extra Non-Inflatable Sleeping Pad

  • Two packs of hand warmers for placing inside the sleeping bag at night.

  • Multi-fuel and an accompanying bottle of gasoline.

  • Small yellow container to eat from.

Food and drink:

  • 3 packets of chicken noodles

  • 1 liter of water


Hiking to Dalsnuten in moonlight
From the ascent towards the top of Dalsnuten.

Thoughts and Experiences: 

As I mentioned earlier, it was raining when I started my journey towards the trailhead, and to be honest, I was feeling a bit pessimistic about the trip's prospects. However, as soon as the rain stopped and I began my trek towards the mountains, those doubts quickly faded, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying the journey. The rain caused a slight delay in my schedule, which meant that I was trekking during the most beautiful part of the sunset. This timing meant that I missed experiencing the sunset from the mountain top as I had initially planned.


From the ascent towards the top of Dalsnuten.

The mountain largely obscured the sunset during my hike in, but the landscape was still bathed in a magical light, perhaps even enhanced by the snow covering the ground. This created a stunning and serene atmosphere that was a joy to walk through. Additionally, the moon finally made its appearance in the sky, a sight I had been missing on my earlier trips this year. Its presence added a special touch to the evening, making the whole experience even more memorable. Despite not witnessing the sunset from the peak as intended, the journey itself was filled with its own unique and beautiful moments.


While hiking across the moor, my mind wandered through various thoughts, ranging from trivial matters to profound reflections. I noticed a significant shift from the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life, especially when compared to my normal evening routine. The worries and tasks related to my job seemed to fade away, allowing a sense of calm and detachment that's hard to find in regular life.


This disconnection, I believe, is immensely beneficial, and perhaps something more people should consider in today's fast-paced society. I'm not suggesting that everyone should spend a night outdoors every week, but breaking away from the usual daily pattern could be advantageous. An evening hike in the woods or to the mountains after work, for instance, could offer a refreshing change. Even something as simple as having dinner outdoors in nature could be a pleasant break from the norm.


In summary, there's something profoundly rejuvenating about stepping out of our regular schedules and immersing ourselves in nature, even if it's just for a few hours. It offers a chance to recharge and gain a fresh perspective, which is increasingly valuable in our busy lives.


From the ascent towards the top of Dalsnuten.
From the ascent towards the top of Dalsnuten. Some clouds where passing as i reached the summit.

Once I reached the mountain top and set up my tent, I realized it had been quite a while since my lunch break at work, and I was eagerly looking forward to some chicken noodles. I took out my multifuel stove, which was new and unused, and prepared to boil water in my kettle. However, I encountered a problem: I couldn't get the burner to light. As many might know, these stoves require preheating so that the gas from the fuel can ignite, but this just wasn't happening. Normally, lighting this stove in cold conditions shouldn't be an issue, so I suspected the problem might be with the fuel quality I had brought along. In a rush, I had grabbed an old fuel bottle, thinking it contained clean, refined gasoline (which is recommended), but I later recalled that it might have been filled with regular gas station fuel from a long trip years ago.


From the ascent towards the top of Dalsnuten. Some clouds where passing as i reached the summit.

Fortunately, having watched MacGyver in my younger days, I knew the value of thinking creatively. My solution involved using two firestarter pouches (which I always carry in my backpack to ensure I can quickly start a fire if needed) placed under the burner. This generated enough heat to get the stove going and ignite the gas. The downside was that the burner ended up completely covered in soot, but this was easily cleaned off with wet wipes on my kitchen counter back home. So, in the end, I enjoyed my warm and tasty chicken noodles, sitting on my camping mat at the tent entrance, savoring the beautiful view.


Without a fire and in sub-zero temperatures, I must admit that I greatly appreciated technological advancements, even though this reliance on modern conveniences might not entirely align with the project's values of embracing the rawness of nature.


Nonetheless, it was incredibly comforting to simply press a few buttons and receive warmth in my heated socks, pants, and vest. While there's something uniquely satisfying about enduring the elements in their pure form, the use of heated clothing provided a welcome relief from the cold, making the experience more enjoyable and sustainable, especially in harsh weather conditions.


Dog barking at a tent

After enjoying my meal and taking an extra evening stroll around the mountain top under the moonlight, I was ready for some sleep. I had just dozed off when I was abruptly awakened by a large dog barking loudly outside my tent. I was initially startled, but quickly realized what it was. It wasn’t long before someone called for the dog from a distance, and it disappeared.


Choosing to pitch my tent right next to the trail on one of the area’s most popular routes, I couldn't really expect complete solitude, even late on a weekday evening. Nonetheless, the night was peaceful; I slept well and didn’t notice any more people or animals passing by, at least to my knowledge.


I had set my alarm for 5:30 AM and had thankfully allocated plenty of time for everything I needed to do to get to work at the usual hour. Inside my sleeping bag, it was cozy and warm, but outside, there were definitely a few chilly degrees below zero, accompanied by a cold and biting wind. It took a good amount of mental strength to leave the comfort of my sleeping bag, get dressed, pack up my backpack, and then step out into the dark to take down a frost-covered tent.


Tent in the dakr at a mountain

Once that was accomplished, my next task was to descend the mountain and find my car. However, this didn't go exactly as planned, as the trail down from the mountain was completely obscured by drifting snow. Navigating down from Dalsnuten without a visible path is quite a challenge, given the uneven terrain, steep and slippery sections, and few reference points to indicate where the actual trail lies. Fortunately, I had hiked this route a few times before, which helped significantly, but the descent still took twice as long as I had anticipated.


As I mentioned earlier, I had fortunately allocated enough time in my morning schedule, so I arrived at work at my usual time. This gave me the opportunity to change from my preferred hiking attire into more appropriate "work clothes." Settling down with my day's first cup of coffee, I was ready to reconnect with the day-to-day routine and hop back onto the work carousel.


From the brief evening stroll I took around the summit before settling down to sleep for the night. The city of Sandnes in the background.
From the brief evening stroll I took around the summit before settling down to sleep for the night. The city of Sandnes in the background.

Learnings and Adjustments: 

Firstly, I was reminded yet again that weather forecasts are not always reliable. Normally, I find them to be fairly accurate, especially a day or two in advance, but during this time of year, it seems that the entire forecast should be taken with a grain of salt.


Secondly, I noted that 10-year-old gasoline from a car fuel pump does not work optimally in a multifuel burner. It would probably be wise for me to purchase refined gasoline for future trips to simplify usage and reduce soot and smoke.


Thirdly, it seems prudent to continue allowing ample time in my morning routine and for the commute to work, especially when I plan trips on weekdays. While I do have flexible working hours and can largely control my work schedule, I really appreciate the quiet time in the morning when the office is less crowded. It provides a peaceful environment to tackle urgent tasks and plan the day's activities.


hiking towards Dalsnuten in sunset
hiking towards Dalsnuten in sunset

Summary

I've noticed that my overnight trips never quite turn out as I envision them. There are always unforeseen circumstances and events that make each journey unique and memorable. I'm apprehensively excited about continuing these adventures, especially considering next week's weather outlook. It seems all the snow might melt away due to rain, leading to a very damp landscape. However, the upside of this change is the expected rise in temperatures.


This constant element of surprise adds to the charm and challenge of outdoor excursions. While I might plan and prepare meticulously, nature always has its own agenda, teaching me to adapt and embrace the unexpected. These trips are not just about the destination or the conditions; they're about the journey and the experiences along the way.


Overall, these trips are an ongoing adventure, a balance between enjoying the serenity of nature and facing its unpredictability head-on. Each excursion is a learning experience, an opportunity to grow as an outdoor enthusiast and appreciate the ever-changing beauty of the natural world.


See you on the trail!!

Espen


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