In Troms, there is a peninsula called Malangen.
Malangen is so close, and yet so far away. You can see many of the majestic mountains from Tromsø, but if you drive over land, it takes hours and hours to get there. Under water, it takes less than an hour, but you then have to pay 100 NOK to get across the fjord. With a Norwegian salary, 100 NOK is almost literally a cormorant turd in the fjord, but with the relative abundance of other mountains to climb, those 100 NOK is still enough to keep most two-wheelers on the other side of the water.
I have been dreaming of Malangen for a long time. I dream about skiing down the bowl of Bentjordstinden, and I have been dreaming about going down the ridge and steep switchbacks of Bakaromtinden on my bike.
Malangen is dreamy.
I spent all of my vacation in Tromsø, so one might expect that I would have explored every last rock in the vicinity. But with Roland’s engine threatening to blow up any given second, going under the fjord just didn’t seem like an alternative.
On the last day of my vacation (or rather, on the day that I was supposed to return to work but yr.no promised clear skies and summerish temperatures, and I therefore just could NOT go to work), Gustav offered the services of his silver Subaru to make my dream come true.
At first it appeared as yr.no was wrong concerning the weather. We came up from the fjord, and drove straight into a wet blanket of fog. We didn’t see much but the shadows of trees.
At tree line, we were still in the mist, but we could feel that there was gold in the air.
Holy camoley, Malangen!
It really kind of felt as if we had stepped into a dream.
The last 150 (or something) vertical meters of the mountain is not really made for bikes. It is as if a giant has torn the mountain apart up there. But it is breath taking. Dizziness-making. Eye-popping. Fantastic.
Below the fractured summit, the trail is something of a patchwork, but the big flat rocks, that the giants threw around back in the days, offer a splendid playground. And where the trail is actually is a trail, it will fill your eyes with tears.
The switchbacks in the trees are just as steep and tight as their reputation claims. According to my friend Sofia, they are the driving test for mountain biking. I fell, and so I have to go back and reclaim my pride. That doesn’t make me all too sad. I don’t mind reliving the Bakaromtind dream.