It's a rare occurrence these days to have the entire family together in one spot - then it happened to be one of the most glorious days this winter. The Camels Hump Challenge had happened the day before, so we set out on old waxless skis knowing the trail would be well tracked and somewhat packed for most of the 13 mile loop around Camels Hump. We have, combined, or maybe even individually, hike this peak at least 100 times, but circumnavigating on skis through high birch groves, across small ponds, and under typically unseen cliffs was a completely new lens to experience the area.
The first day consisted of a rollerski just north of Lillehammer, as we followed the river Gudbrandsdalslågen through small clusters of houses, then traveling along the west shores of Mjøsa to return by way of a long bridge designated for pedestrians. We brought out the skis again the following day at the rollerski track built on the hill above the ski jumps. We saw two members of the Norwegian national ski team training in the stadium, as well as kids half my height on rollerskis for the first time. The entire time I was in my head beaming with excitement - how special to see some of the best, beginners, and all levels in between all on one track.
Time after training sessions turned into small photo adventures, including a mesmerizing walk up the several hundred steps to the top of the ski jumps, a short hike up Balbergkampen to look over the entire valley, and a few visits downtown to take in the colorful streets and architecture. One of my favorite features of the summer here so far are the beautiful wildflowers, and in particular, the lupines, that seem to be blooming everywhere. So many patches of pinks, blues, and purples, like fireworks bursting in the tall grass!