|Lysefjord, Forsand, Norway|
Launch from the ferry terminal at Lauvvik and paddle across the fjord toward Oanes being mindful of ferries and other traffic. Continue up the fjord for 8 kilometers to camp along the road to Fossmork on the south side of the fjord. This campsite can be very busy, but there is are tables, a small cooking shelter, fire pits a toilet and fresh water available from a stream. There are also blue berries scattered throughout the forest in late summer.
The small bay here offers a few opportunities for fishing. In late summer the seals do a pretty efective job at clearing out the fish stock, however.
On our trip in late july we had a wonderful tailwind and large swell that made this portion of the trip extremely fast. Surfing the waves up the fjord is not only great fun, but makes your forward progress remarkably fast.
The next day is long but a very rewarding paddle. In the first few kilometers you will pass under Preikestolen on the northern shore of the fjord. There are a multitude of waterfalls that begin in this portion of the fjord. The shore line gets increasingly steep and cliffy from here out. There are few places to camp or pull over. It's a good idea to plan out your lunch and bathroom breaks carefully with a topo map. There is a small scree pile below Preikestolen that is fairly easy to stop at.
Also beginning in this area are large numbers of blue muscles growing along the sheer cliff walls. It's easy to paddle slowly along and harvest the best looking muscles for a delicious dinner. Be sure to check out the Matportalen for shellfish safety information before eating any shellfish durring the summer months. Algae and bacteria blooms can contaminate the shellfish and make them unsafe to eat.
This stretch of the trip can be very long depending on the weather. A strong headwind can make this section slow going. Get and early start so you can enjoy this portion of the trip.
There are few flat spots available from this point on. The best places to camp are Flørli and an abandoned farm two kilometers further up the fjord. Flørli offers a DNT hytte. Be sure to have your DNT membership number handy if you plant to stay here. It is a good haul from the water to the hytte. It may be possible to camp near the beach, but you might be taking your chances. This is also a good place to bail out of the trip should you need to stop early. It is possible to make reservations with the Tide ferry and ensure that they will stop here. There is excellent cellphone coverage throughout the fjord.
At this stop you can also climb the famous Flørli Stairs, possibly the longest stairway in the world up to the plateau above. There is reported to be a cafe open at the base of the stairs, but in late July 2010, it did not appear to be open.
The old farm two kilometers from Flørli on the north shore offers a huge meadow, cherry trees and a stream for fresh water. The old farm house is in very bad shape and should probably not be considered for shelter in anything but the most dire situations. The meadow is maintained by a small flock of sheep and is perfect for camping. There is an abundance of blue muscles throughout this part of the fjord as well. Keep your eyes open for seals. In late summer they frequent this portion of the fjord.
From the farm camp, the paddle to Lysebotn is an easy 8 kilometers. Just before Lysebotn, below Kjerag, on the south side of the fjord, is a small beach. In the summer BASE jumpers frequent this beach; in good weather it promises to be a great show.
With a moderately early start it is quite possible to make the fast ferry (2 hours to Lauvvik) at 15:00. There is also a slower tourist ferry (4 hours to Lauvvik) that leaves Lysebotn at 12:00 and 18:00. It is a very good idea to book ahead for the fast ferry.
Lysebotn offers a staffed DNT hytte, a camp sight and a small restaurant and bar.
Trail: Lysefjord [google maps]
Launch: Luvvik Ferry Terminal
Length: 41 kilometers
Driving Directions: From Stavanger take the E39 toward Sandnes. Exit at Route 13 toward Røldal. Stay on R13 and follow signs for Lyvvik.
View Lysefjord in a larger map
I just got some great questions from folks who discovered our blag. They might be useful for others so here's a cleaned up version and some answers:
Q: Is there anywhere around where you can rent canoes that is convenient for the route (I have only found kayaks)?
A: Not that I know of. Contact Lysefjord Kayaks in Forsand for kayak rentals and to enquire about canoes.
Q: What is the best way to get to/from Forsand from Stavanger airport?
A: A combination of busses and ferries is the easiest way to get from Sola to Forsand. Google can help you navigate the bus service (http://kolumbus.no) and the ferry service (http://norled.no): http://goo.gl/maps/B113p
Q: Where can I get camping fuel, groceries, etc?
A: Stopping in the Sandnes or Stavanger Sentrum is a good idea. The grocery store in Forsand is pretty limited. If you take the bus from Sola you will pass through Sandnes on your way. Also remember that other than gas stations hardly anything is open on Sundays anywhere in Norway. Check this map for useful locations in the Stavanger Sentrum.
Q: What is the best way back from Lysebotn to Forsand?
A: Currently it looks like only the NorLed tourist ferry is the only option. It leaves from Lysebotn at 12:30 in the summer months.
Q: Where can I camp?
A: Check the map above. There are very few spots where you can actually get out of your kayak because the cliff walls are so steep. There are even fewer places where you can camp. You can get detailed topo maps from the DNT (touring society) and hunt for a spot if you are interested in an adventure. Also you can check the online topo maps at UT.no
Q: What's the bug situation?
A: The midges can be intense when the wind stops blowing. If there are sheep around look out for ticks. Scratch that. Constantly check for ticks. They're tiny, fecund, and carry lymes disease.
Q: What kind of weather can I expect?
A: Yes. You can expect weather. Check the forecast at yr.no but keep in mind anything beyond 36 hours is pure speculation and pretty much guess work: http://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Rogaland/Forsand/Forsand/