(Norwegian for “The Lake”)
I spent around thirty summer vacations on a farm in the west of Norway. There was a valley going from that farm approx five miles (8 km) up to a lake just under a couple of glaciers. Vatnet was around three quarters of a mile long and quarter of a mile wide. It was surrounded by high, vertical mountains in both south, west and north. I still think it is one of the most beautiful place in Norway. But then again; don't believe me because my views is coloured by the memories I have from those summers up there. It was a sacred place for our family because only we knew about all the fish that lake had. Big brown trouts. I was told from an early age not to tell a soul about this lake. I have kept that promise and I will still keep that promise. Hence; the location of Vatnet will remain a secret.
Vatnet had no fish until my grandfather and someone else carried some young trouts from their good life down in a big lake next to some farms to a rather harsh life up in Vatnet approx sixty years ago. The end result was a sacred spot for our family.
It took around 2 hours to walk up the valley to Vatnet.... with a total height difference of 1000 feet. I remember my first ever journey up there, visiting my father and my uncle who had spent a night under some boulders in a small cabin they built. It is still there, to my knowledge. Later, we started to carry with us a small tent. The same tent I used for my cycling tours. We only did this tour once each year and we spent 1-2 days at Vatnet. Sometimes, we started to walk in the morning around 0600 in the morning and were up there at around 0800. Then we started to fish. Then we walked home again in the evening.
From left to right: myself, my uncle and my father at Vatnet
My father and my uncle had their favorite places there. We mostly used lures like 12 grammes big Solvkroken. Although the fish was pretty much starving to death in Vatnet, it was very difficult too catch. My father was an excellent angler (still is, btw) and took most fish. My uncle also caugth a lot of fish there. It took me five years to get anything. After each failure, I spent the next 360 days to daydream and plan my comeback. I finally cracked it with the biggest fish ever taken there after spending four hours on throwing everything at it while it was hiding behind a rock and just making itself visible if there was anything tasty coming it's way. It was taunting me, but I never gave up.
It finally took a small Solvkroken lure with small red dots on silver. I still regard this as one of the best moments in my life and I will die a happy man because of this.
The next summer when my father and my uncle stayed at their favorite places and got nothing, I silently outfoxed them by walking around Vatnet to a couple of other spots. I got three big trouts by breaking the mould. My father and my uncle returned empty handed. That teached me to trust my instincts and never to blindly follow the others.
I think I got around 7-8 fishes in total in Vatnet until I moved on in life and abandoned most places I once regarded as sacred places. It was first the army and then some cycling. Then some other things and I never returned again to Vatnet.
My uncle died two years ago after a ten years long fight with cancer. My grandfather died last year of old health. For me, both was integral parts of the walk up the valley to Vatnet. I suggested to his children that we should trek up to Vatnet to honour my uncle's memory. But to no reply.
Returning to Vatnet without my uncle and my grandfather will just feel wrong. Every stone and every bush in that valley is a reminder of my grandfather and my uncle. Something is missing. So I have decided to never visit Vatnet again or even that area. Everything has changed. Everything. It is better to remember all the good things as they were. And those memories gives me a lot of strenght and a lot of joy.