Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Adventures in dog owning

After my friends AP and Synne (of the mountain biking fame) tied the knot - congratulations! - Audun and I came into the temporary possession of their tiny dog, Presta. Here’s a picture from the wedding, just for fun (look, they don’t always wear bike helmets!):

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We are watching Presta for a month while they are on honeymoon. Presta is a real charmer:

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She’s a year and a half old, and just as mischievous as you would expect. She’s also a wide range of things from extremely hyperactive to soft and cuddly, basically a really great dog. She can be really neurotic at times, like she’ll all of a sudden decide she’s scared of some inanimate object, like a backpack, but she’s really well-trained in general. The only thing we’ve had trouble with is mountain biking with her on a leash.

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Presta on her first ferry ride 

Our first weekend with Presta, we decided to go to Audun’s family cabin in Sunnmøre, a region of Norway filled with the dramatic fjords you’ve probably seen in pictures. We met up with friends Vibeke and David, and new friends Lina and Sigurd, and headed out for a ride in the legendary Fjørå region.

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David and Vibeke on the dirt road up Mefjellet

The ride went up Mefjellet, a peak above spectacular fjords, that involved first a long climb on steep dirt roads and then an unrideable push up a ridge to the top of the mountain. With the view of snow-topped mountain peaks dropping steeply into deep blue fjords, stopping to catch one’s breath wasn’t so bad.

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Just chilling out and enjoying the view!

The weather forecast was originally for afternoon showers, and we looked nervously at the gathering clouds as we reached the summit. Presta didn’t seem to notice.

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Presta thoroughly enjoying the top of Mefjellet.

The descent was difficult and exposed to begin with, and I was on and off the bike a bit. The wind started to blow ominously but the true rainstorm we were expecting never came.

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David on the descent down the ridge.

Lower down, Audun and I dropped Presta off at the car before heading into the forest for a final descent to the fjord, where the others had parked a shuttle car.

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The views lower down weren’t too shabby either!

The descent lower down was of completely different character than the top of the mountain. Smooth singletrack with soft pine needles, occasionally dropping into a hard switchback or passing over steep sections.

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Me zooming through the forest in Fjørå

The next day, Vibeke, David, Audun and I (of course accompanied by Presta!) got in a spectacular hike up Kallskaregga. I was hiking in stiff mountaineering boots in order to support my (still not OK) right foot. However, I was able to make it through the 5 hour hike without foot pain, even though running 500 meters hurts. Strange injury!

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Vibeke, David and Audun descending Kallskaregga, with the spectacular Heregga mountain poking up like a dinosaur in the background.

As is the case with most trails in Norway, there basically is no trail, just red splotches through the jumble of rocks and bog that tell you you are still going the right way. Oh, and someone was kind enough to put up a rope for the really steep section!

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Vibeke and David descend the ‘trail'

Our last day in Sunnmøre, Audun and I had a short hike up Storåsnakken before getting in the car for the long drive home.

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Just looking straight down at the fjord!

The next weekend, we headed out for a day trip up Storskarven, about an hours drive from Trondheim. Once again we were blessed with the best weather a Norwegian summer offers, meaning you could wear shorts without getting goosebumps.

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The hike to Storskarven involved walking on a lot of wet, marshy terrain. Pretty typical of this region of Norway.

Presta went kind of crazy on the hike. We let her off the leash and she would sprint back and forth as hard as she could, panting and wagging her tail. I kept thinking she would realize that this was going to be a long day and start conserving energy, but I don’t think conserving energy is something she knows about. Yet.

Near the top of the mountain we encountered several tame reindeer. Luckily we had Presta on the leash, because she was raring to go sniff them, and that would not have ended well!

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Presta pulls hard on the leash at the reindeer (tiny speck on the snow in the distance).

One of the reindeer, a large buck, was clearly skeptical of this tiny canine. He started to stalk us, walking in smaller and smaller circles around us. I was glad when Audun started waving his hands and yelling at the reindeer. I wouldn’t have thought to do that if it charged - I would have just run!

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Parting shot of the reindeer buck that stalked us.

At the top we met some locals who took our picture. Then we took their picture, and they proceeded to take a selfie of themselves in the exact same position that we had just photographed them. Which to me makes absolutely no sense. WHY?! What could possibly be better about a selfie?!

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Family photo. Presta is incapable of looking at the camera.

We spent last weekend in Trondheim, packing, because this weekend we are moving back to Oslo! I hate the moving part of moving, but a change of scene is always fun.

Oh, and an update on my foot for the curious. It’s getting better, very slowly. I’ve been running every other day and gradually building up distance. Just yesterday, Presta and I ran 12 km up Geitfjellet! Although my foot hurt a bit afterward, the pain grows less every time, so it seems like I’m doing something right. Unfortunately, I’ve decided that I’m not well enough prepared to run Ultravasan 90. Next year, though...

Here’s a parting shot of Presta on Geitfjellet, gazing at the morning light over the city.

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- The Wild Bazilchuk

4 comments:

  1. I really have to get over there someday. Maybe I can tempt the husband with mountain biking as well.

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    1. Anyone who loves mountains should come to Norway! The mountain biking is a bit wet at times but can be insanely gorgeous.

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  2. Congrats on your new addition! :) PS- Your photos of Norway always remind me of Alaska.

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    1. Unfortunately the addition was temporary, we just gave her back :( Maybe I'll get a permanent one at some point!

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