Top image: The patrol “Seal” from 15. Haugesund is leading the way from the hike area to attend the long hike of 18 kilometers. From the left: Amund Mortveit, Terje Ruset Alne (patrol leader), Neeta Rai and Eystein Tønnesen (at the back)

Text and photo: Gøril Huse

- Can we go now? asks the first patrol and rushes up the trail from “Håmmåren”.

The patrol “Seal” from 15. Haugesund is in front, with the patrol banner raised. Terje (14), Amund (11), Neeta (11) and Eystein (11) pick up the map and compass at the first intersection.

- Where are we going now? asks Eystein.

- I’ll go up to check while you take the compass course, Neeta says, disappearing up the hill.

- The compass says we’re making a right turn here, says Amund.

The patrol has found a new path into the forest, but where to head off from here? Amund Mortveit is studying the map together with Terje Ruset Alne (patrol leader), Neeta Rai (in the middle) and Eystein Tønnesen (to the right). 

Still unsure, another patrol comes back from the path to the left.

- Let’s make a right turn here, says patrol leader Terje.

Three of them have never been on a hike before. Terje has been on many.

- We actually signed up for one of the shorter hikes, but something went wrong. We’ve been given the long hike, so we’ll try it anyway.

They quickly enter the forest area. Against the sky they see the first power line they can use as a map reference. But the trail they follow disappears into the marsh ahead.

- Do you know where to go? the Swedish patrol leader asks Terje. They are uncertain. Together they find a path to try.

One more kilometre.

- Is everyone well? Have a little drink everyone, says Terje.

Then they encounter a new problem.

The tractor road crossing the path – where is it?

- But we’ll find a path that crosses the river, says Amund

Neeta checks the woods right by.

- Here is a path.

They elevate another 50 meters, crossing pine forest, marshes and paths crossing the terrain, and decide to take a lunch break.

- It is a good thing to get lost on a hike, Amund says, after stuffing himself with a slice of bread. Terje is studying the map while eating his lunch.

- I brought 14 slices of bread, I’m always really hungry on a hike, he says. - Should we perhaps turn back and take the same route as the Swedes? Amund suggests.

HUNGRY: Patrol leader Terje Ruset Alne is always hungry on a hike, so he prepared 14 slices of bread. These will be good to have when the patrol gets lost and need to get more energy.

- Yes, let’s do that, Terje says.

20 minutes later, Neeta shouted that she found the bridge they were looking for. Terje whistles as they speed up the pace walking on the tractor road. They have spent almost three hours, and there are many kilometres left to the top “Strætasfjellet” and the check point.

Walking up the road to the mountain, they take a break at an old toilet. They share raisins and apples. Amund forgets the pole for the tarpaulin for the fifth time, but the others remind him.

- Look, there is a hare, Neeta says, and only the white bottom of the hare is visible between the trees.

After another break, they keep moving at a slow pace. The patrol meets someone who has been at the top, someone with music. Eystein wipes his brow and Terje helps him tighten his backpack. Amund has a blister from his lap strap. Neeta’s water bottle is almost empty.

- Do you want me to take something from your backpack, Amund? Terje asks. At first, he says yes, but changes his mind as there are only a few curves left.

Five hours later they reach the peak, relieved, tired and happy. Backpacks are taken off, and they get to enjoy the view.

- Now we need to eat, then we’ll walk parts of the way back down. That way we know we’ll be in time for the bus tomorrow, says Terje. He still has some slices of bread left in the back pack.

GOING UP: The patrol «Seal» found their own trail in the forest. After two hours of orienteering in the forest, they found the right trail and they finally reached the peak of “Strætasfjellet”.