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Canoeing in Vesthei Nature Reserve

Padle into the barren realm of the wild reindeer - from lake to lake in the Setesdal Vesthei Nature Reserve.
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 5.033 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Canoeing - fishing - mountain ecology - visit to wilderness camp

This canoetrip is offered by Brokkestøylen. Drop in to rent... more »

Tips:  This trip is suitable for families with children that can swim.

Canoes have to be carried/sledded a total of 300m each way. This is ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Fishing

These lakes are full of trout. Average weight is 250 grams - nice frying pan size!

They bite on worms, spinners, spoons and flies. You might want to try several baits and techniques and go looking for the fish trying in different places.

Good spots are usually where there is some depth or current. Don't move fast close to water, don't wear... More

2. Gunnarsheller

This "heller" is a creep-in under some big boulders used since time immemorable as a refuge by hunters, travellers and shepherds. The Vesthei is specked with hellers of this kind. So no need to bring a tent or find a hut if you like it primitive :-)

This is the favourite nesting site of the rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus), see... More

3. Acid rain

In the 70s and 80s, the fragile pH balance in these lakes got upset by acid rain from the European mainland and the UK causing fish stocks to go extinct.

It was not so much that the fish died, as that they were not able to reproduce, larvae needing calcium for their skeletons.

The lakes were chalked with shellsand and restocked with canadian... More

4. Do me a favour and don't use the rental canoes for rafting down this rapid

Please don't raft through these rapids. The canoes will wear down and you might capsize and lose your gear. Carry the canoes over the land instead. Thank you for your consideration.

5. Congratulations!

You are now in the last lake of this trip! Three km into the highlands. Look out for reindeer, arctic hares, mountain grouse and loads of berries!

You are now well into Norway's second largest nature reserve after the Hardangervidda highlands a 100km to the north. The Setesdalsheiane are home to Europe's southernmost wild reindeer population and ... More

6. Laptent

This laptent or lavvo is put up here every spring by Brokkestøylen. It is a lot of work getting all the gear in place. Feel free to use it for a break, but be sure to tidy up afterward. Staying here the night costs 140kr pp and needs to be reserved (you may send us an SMS from the mountain top: 902 65 133).

Please close the tent... More

7. Want this view? Get up here!

Why are there no trees here?

You might be enjoying a warm sunny summer day in the mountains. Lucky you! Did you know there are less then 30 days up here with average daytime temperatures over 15 degrees celcius? Average annual temperature is below 3 degrees celcius, which is the biological limit for treegrowth. In addition come fierce winds and... More

8. Boulders

The Setesdalsheiane are characterised by huge boulders littering the landscape - quite unlike most other mountain ranges in Norway.

They are a product of the latest ice age. Processes of thawing and freezing as well as the sheer force of the icesheats have blown these blocks out of the baserock. But as the highlands were pretty flat and the... More

9. Snow grouse and lemmings

Lemmings are a key species in the highland ecosystem.

They are important food for predators like rough-legged buzzards, golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), short eared owl (Asio flammeus), red foxes and the very rare arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus).

About every 7th year is a socalled lemming-year, when many... More

10. Berries

Unlike most places on earth, grasses are not always the prevailing plant species in these highlands. Rather, vegetations are characterised by "lyng" - berryplants.

They come in all sizes and types, none of them toxic, but not all of them equally well-tasting:

1) rypebær/Bearberries (Arctostaphylos alpinus), beautiful red... More