Norwegian Dragonkin Gathering

NDG 2016

Norwegian Dragonkin Gathering 2016 became the largest of the gatherings so far and was held in a luxury cabin with a stunning view of Hemsedal in northern Buskerud. We were 18 participants (16 dragons, 1 elf, and 1 human) in a very well equipped cabin that had a home cinema, sauna, and an outdoor jacuzzi. On Sunday, the first day after arriving, we took it easy and just familiarized with one another. The volunteers were organized and the kitchen team started on making food plans for our gathering. We also had the last two participants arriving on Sunday. The evening was rounded off with a few social card games.

Despite the bad weather on Monday, we went ahead to visit Langedrag wildlife park. It started fine with moose feeding, but then the weather went very Norwegian and we had +3 degrees Celcius and light rain with heavy showers. We had lunch in the cafe at Langedrag and those of us who did not feel like fighting the weather stayed in there while the rest of us went out to watch the feeding of the wolves, lynxes, and arctic foxes. The reindeers did not at all want to come and meet us, however. Maybe because the weather was bad, or maybe because a half dozen of dragons were staring at them. :p Despite the weather a few decided to go in to meet the wolves in their own territory. We arrived wet and cold at the cabin and made good use of the hot jacuzzi to get some warmth back into our bones.

On Tuesday we went canoeing in Vannin, and fortunately the weather was on our side again. We settled out in 6 3-seater canoes to reach a small island in the middle of the lake. Only one canoe capsized on way there... but water was fairly warm, fortunately. Once on the island we set up our things and had a light lunch, then a few of us went out canoeing further. After much paddling some of us managed to find a shallow canal that led to another lake which we explored briefly. We could probably have spent a weekend paddling around and explored this lake, though, once we found the other lake it was time to head back and set up the camp fire and make some food. We settled down and talked and barbequed food until fairly late before we packed up and head back to the cabin for resting out.

The following day we just chilled out at the cabin and enjoying its facilities and each others company, and also prepared us for the big excursion the following day.

We were very lucky with the weather on our big excursion day, which was a big relief for us all. We departed early on Thursday to make it to our train in time. I was a bit nervous as I had actually forgot to refuel the minibus as we set off to cross the mountain pass, but fortunately the fueltank on it is quite big so we made it across with no stress on the reserve. On our way to Flåm we passed through Lærdaltunnelen, which is the world's longest trafficed tunnel. By now the NDG veterans had already been through it several times, but it still made the newcomers happy to experience it. Once arrived in Flåm we had an hour before our traintrip with Flåmsbana. We were lucky to be in the tourist group wagon and that the travel group we shared wagon with did not show up, so we had plenty of space while enjoying our trip. The trip lasted about two hours and it was a very touristy stop along the way for us to take photos of a water fall while some performers pretended to be seducing spirits of old lore. The last part of the trip the rail road went in circles inside the mountain and on each full round just barely breaking through the mountain wall to give us a stunning view of Aurlandsdalen. After the trip we had a nice lunch among all the other tourists before we headed towards Stegastein viewpoint. At some parts up to the view point the road was barely as wide as the minibus, cliff up on one side and cliff down on the other, and barely any safety. It was quite an exciting climb! We stopped for photos on the way up and at Stegastein, then we decided to cross over the mountain with the promise that there would be snow there. We did find snow, but it was way less that it should have been, though, enough to play around with. On the way down from the mountain we had to stop due to that we got smokey breaks on the bus while trying to keep up with another participant drivin a van, but we used the time to look a big waterfall instead, so no time was really wasted. Then it was the usual long trip back across the mountain pass to get to a restaurant in Gol to end our long, but eventful day.

The last day at the cabin was really rainy, and our usual tradition to barbeque the last day was not so easy to pull through. Though, we did get some barbeque in the end by making a makeshift roof over the fire. Despite the rain it was really nice to just soak in the jacuzzi and watch the low clouds flow along the lower mountain sides below us. We also did some cleaning and packing as we had to leave early the following day.

Saturday was mostly just spent on driving home and settling down in our home. Fortunately we had good weather again, so some of us had a walk in the forest. Otherwise we were quite lazy after a week full of excitement. Sunday was the big departure day where we had to say our good byes to most of the participants, but despite the sadness of splitting our ways again we had a really awesome week together.

Group photo on the ferry in Nærøyfjorden