Friday 16th February Day One
Started from my house at midday towards Heathrow, the usual traffic problems surfaced around Birmingham with cars coming to a standstill. At Heathrow I waited by the SAS desks for Ian, Joe and Ben, all the chairs were taken, so I just lay my bag on the floor and sat on that. After about 20 minutes they arrive and we check our bags and skies in.
After dawdling around the airport for a while we go to the gate, an announcement is made that the flight is overbooked and if anyone was willing to ride in the cockpit and be paid $300 for the privilege (I would have given money to ride in the cockpit). A large number of hands raise, unfortunately mine was not the first. We don't take off until 9:00 an hour later than the schedule.
When we arrive at Oslo we are greeted by Jim and Jo who are not looking very pleased, their skies and Jims bag are still at Heathrow, BA did not put them on their connecting flight and will not be here until 10:00 tomorrow morning, that means that our plan for getting the train tonight will have to be changed, we decide to find a quite area of the airport and try to get some sleep, Me, Joe and Ben could not sleep because of a cleaner on a glorified hover with brushes on the front continuously driving past us, so we decide to explore.
The one thing that we notice is how deserted the terminal is, only a handful of people around, compared to a packed Heathrow 24 hours a day. One of the first things we find is a giant sculpture of a nob, which we find hilarious.
We decide to go for a walk outside to see if we could find another terminal, as there is only so many times you can explore the same two floors. Outside we discover that the place we where at was the only terminal so we spend another 30 minutes walking up and down the roads.
Back at the terminal we find a load of wheelchairs just begging to be played with. We start ridding them up and down the floors and begin to panic when we spot an employee coming towards us, we imagine that he is going to throw us out but he just tells us not to go over the wet spots he has just mopped. Now that we know that we can razz around in the chairs we go all over the airport in them including the steep down hill section leading to the car park.
Saturday 17th February Day Two
After a whole night of just wondering around the airport, the rest get up at around 5:30 as people start to come in to go on their holidays. For breakfast I buy the most expensive baguette on the planet, £5.50 for one about six inches long with some scrapings of beef and chopped onions, and a glass of Coke, which if it had been any smaller would have disappeared into thin air.
It is decided that Jim and Jo would wait in the airport for their things and the rest of us would get the train to Geilo to find some reasonable priced accommodation. We board the train from the station directly underneath the airport (another place we explored last night) and travel to Oslo main train station. After waiting for a couple of hours we board the train to Geilo, which is a journey of 3:30 hours, I manage to get about an hours sleep, the first in a long while.
When we arrive there we get a taxi to the cheapest place we can find (if you call £28 each per night cheap). At the chalet we have a shower and then go for a quick ski to get ourselves familiar using them again. I had dinner in the cafe, steak and chips which cost a fortune, and the steak was just hamburger meat.
I then went to bed very early because I was knackered from having no sleep the night before. I hear Jim and Jo arrive later.
Sunday 18th February Day Three
I went down for breakfast at about 7:30 and made myself a Termat, Ian was the only other person to be up and then Jim soon emerged. After we had all eaten I made my way to reception to enquire if the road to Halne was open, and if it was to order a taxi to get us there, the lady phoned the weather centre and found out the road was closed, she also said that I should not be going up into the mountains. She gave me the impression that she thought that I was inexperienced with no proper equipment, just like the tourist families she normally has.
After breaking the bad news to the rest of the group we all went back to reception and sat in the cafe working out an alternative route if we couldn't get to Halne. After Ian talked to the lady and assured her we were experienced, were were able to get a taxi to Haugostol before the road came to an end and was fenced off because of the snow. Along the way Joe filled our fuel bottles at the petrol station, which is very difficult to do and quite a lot sprayed over his hands.
When we reached the barrier that closed the road we proceeded to walk along the road for about 4 km, which was quite tiring on the feet because of the heavy weight on our backs. We then skied parallel to the road for another 4 km before breaking off to head for the camp another 8km ahead. This was quite easy going as it was mostly flat and marked by a row of sticks. Along the way we passed a few private huts and a river where we filled any empty bottles to save the fuel later by melting less snow.
When we arrived at the woodshed on the shore of lake Hein we started to build a snow wall to shield us from the wind and then put up two sheets which would be our shelter above us for the night. Me, Ben and Joe all had a Turmat each trying to be as efficient as possible with the fuel whie boiling water.
After we got into the shelter the wind changed direction and became very fierce, this meant building a large snow wall the other side, because the wind was so strong I couldn't see because of all the snow blowing into my face. Back in the shelter me and Joe had to share a therm-a-rest and that was half over onto Ben's as there was absolutely no space in there, I was using a pair of boots as a pillow, very comfy. The shelter was resting against my face as my head was at the lower end because of a gap the other side letting snow in. This was very claustrophobic especially with the lack of oxygen and buildup of co2. Also because it was not very cold the condensation was dripping back into my face, which wasn't very pleasant.
In the end I got so fed up I switched around lengthways so I had room to breath, and a nice cool breeze blew past my face supplying me with lovely oxygen. I didn't get hardly any sleep throughout the night and was unable to move because of the cramped conditions.