Foto: Christine Butz

On the bear‘s track – Dividalen

Dividalen is home to a lot of predators: polarfoxes, wolferines, lynxes and even bears. Although a sign at the parking space encouraged us to collect bear dung for DNA analysis and take part in a lottery to win 5000Kr, we saw neither the bear nor it’s dung. But it still does something to your experience of being out in nature, when you know you share the place with bears. It gives it a touch of width and a feeling of inviolacy.

Written by Christine Butz 

Dividalen and Øvre Dividalen Nationalpark are located on the mainland roughly 2-3 hours by car from Tromsø. There are endless possibillities for hiking, we picked a spot in the valley to get up to the lake Indre Lappskardvatn. Following the road nr 87 you take a right, approximately 5 km after Øverbygd. After another 20km there is a small parking space to the right, shortly before a grass roofed house on the left and a bridge.

Photo: Christine Butz
Photo: Christine Butz

The tour starts through a birchforest with a clear tramped path. Since we started late we took our first night in the forest next to a trickling stream, amidst the colourful autumn berry bushes. The next day brought us up over the tree line to a typical plateau landscape. Besides us was enthroned the characteristic mountain Mannen (1323m) like a huge giant, sending good or bad weather as it pleases him. In our case we were granted a fine mixture of sun, clouds and rain.

‘Diewa‘ ( which means round and dry hill in sami) is the origin of the areas name, it also refers to some of the hills. But Mannen and some of the other spiky mountains got spared, when the inland ice was moving over Norway 10 000 years ago. After following the path we walked past Høgskardvatnet and chose to cross the river and move west over to lake Indre Lappskardvatn where we pitched the tent. The scenery around us gave a barren impression with old icefields looming in the distance and a grey weather front closing in. The fading colours of the autumn leaves made good camouflage for the estimated 5-10 bears that live in Dividalen, hiding them from our curious gazes.

Photo: Christine Butz
Photo: Christine Butz

Many of the birds had already left for the south and there were not many sounds in the air. The fish didn’t even show their tales and we decided it would be a veggie weekend for us. Gunshots from far away, reminded us that we still were not all alone out here.

The next day we turned around taking a route over the mountain Beagašanoalgi, which provided us with a magnificent view over Sandelvvatnet. There were reindeer antlers all over the place, brown and mossy green old ones, but also some new white ones shining like an elephant tusk as well. The map told us that just on the other shore of the lake was an old reindeer marking area. Spending a last night at Høgskardvatnet, Mannen sent us some strong winds and a lot of rain, advising us to leave for the last time.

Photo: Christine Butz
Photo: Christine Butz

Travelling back through the forest there were big red and blue berries waiting to be picked. After a couple of hours we harvested maybe 5 liters. Did you know that a bear eats 90 liters of berries a day? So our portion was not even equivalent to his lunch. When we walked through the last part of the forest, finishing the 25km round trip my dog scented something in the air. The question as to whether this could have been a bear or just an elklady, will forever remain a secret.

Photo: Christine Butz
Photo: Christine Butz
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