An incomparable pleasure, after a long day of hiking in open high mountain terrain, is to descend into a sheltered forest valley and explore the secrets that might be hidden behind large tree trunks.
The transition from bare mountain to primeval forest happens quickly as you hike down into Strompdalen. The contrast is especially dramatic if you have hiked from Tosbotn by way of the Breivatnan lakes: it may well seem as though the lush valley has been cut out of the rocky landscape itself.
The valley actually consists of two valleys, Strompdalen and Sæterdalen, which extend eastward from the fjord arm Storbørja. The valleys are characterised by knolls and an ancient spruce forest – it’s a landscape you never get tired of exploring. Here are marshes, deep gorges, steep slopes and low moss-covered peaks. It makes for an inexhaustibly fascinating and varied landscape.
Sæterdalen is a valley that is especially suitable for exploring on foot, and the trail through it is one of the national park’s most frequented. Strompdalen is wilder, steeper, and more challenging – defined by the Lomsdalvassdraget watercourse flowing through on its way to the sea.
At the head of the valley there was once an old farm, Strompdal gård. Today only the foundations remain. The natural flora is gradually reclaiming the fields and old farmscape created through many generations’ effort. But there is a log-built hut that can offer shelter while you eat your lunch, or shelter for the night. By the timber walls you can still see remnants of the garden tended by Knut Strompdal, the last owner of Strompdal farm, who lived here until his death in 1954. Strompdal was, among other things, a botanist and folklorist. His garden contains a number of plants that he collected that are rarely seen on the Helgeland coast.
For many, Sæterdalen and Strompdalen are their gateway to the Lomsdal-Visten National Park. These valleys provide a great starting point for hikes eastward into the national park, but they alone are also well worth the journey.
How to get here
Perhaps the easiest way to get to Strompdalen is to arrange a boat shuttle into the Storbørja fjord arm to Børjeøra, and from there take the trail through Sæterdalen. This trail is signposted and one of the easiest in the national park to follow, but parts of it are rather steep. For boat shuttle services, please contact Robert Storvik at mob. +47 909 29 374, or Guide AS at mob. +47 9918 11 448.
From Tosbotn, there is a partly cairn-marked route via the Bjønnstokkvatnan and Breivatnan lakes. If you set a course between the lower and middle Breivatnet lakes, then you must either cross the river where it flows out of Nedre (lower) Breivatnet or, if the water level is too high, follow the eastern shore of this lake.
It is also possible to hike to Strompdalen from Tettingsdalen, via Lappskardet pass or across the north side of Strompdalsfjellet.
From Strompdal it isn’t far to Lomsdalen, which is a real jewel – and from there you have the option of continuing to destinations such as Grunnvassdalen and Henriksdalen. Most people who hike from Strompdal to Lomsdalen choose to follow the trail that climbs through a boulder field. However, in rainy weather you might be better off choosing the winter route; the signposted turnoff is just after the bridge over Breidvasselva. This is also the quickest route to the Breivatnan lakes.
At Strompdal there is an unlocked hut owned by the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT), equipped with mattresses, propane hot plates, firewood, plates and cutlery. The old farmhouse at Børjeøra has been refurbished and may be rented from Robert Storvik, mob. +47 909 29 374.
In addition there are many excellent spots to pitch a tent, especially on the top of the knolls with a view.