NTA was founded in 1868 and aims to promote trekking and improve conditions for all who enjoy the country’s broad range of outdoor attractions. More than 220,000 Norwegians are members of the association, which lets people use its cabins throughout the mountains of Norway. “The scenery is magical from the sharp peaks to the mountain plateaus,” Neptune boasted.
One of the most popular NTA activities is skiing or hiking “cabin to cabin,” trekking during the day and sleeping in a different cabin each night. The routes were developed in part from older thoroughfares and local footpaths and in part in response to the needs of trekkers, as ensured by the public right of access. The trails are marked with red Ts.
There are 460 cabins to choose from, and they come in three different types: self-service cabins, no-service cabins, and staffed lodges. The self-service cabins are equipped with all the things that trekkers need for cooking and sleeping: firewood, gas, kitchen utensils, table linens, and bunks with sheets, blankets, and pillows. They are also stocked with canned food, soup packets, crisp bread, coffee, and tea. The no-service cabins usually have the same equipment as self-service cabins, but without food. The staffed lodges serve breakfast and dinner.
“The cabins couldn’t be nicer whether staffed or self-catered, and we love their rustic nature. There is nothing better than a warm fire in a comfortable room after a day out in the weather,” Neptune said.
Gary Neptune and his wife, Bibi Gottschall, have made a number of trips during the 10 years they have been members of the NTA. “We did a complete NTA trip called ‘Pearls of Rondane’ last spring. That was our best trip. We enjoyed meeting Norwegians and other nationalities on the trail. The weather was often poor during that trip, but with the very competent NTA guides we felt quite comfortable venturing out. If we had been on our own we would not have skied every day.”
Bibi Gottschall also did a Norwegian Trekking Association trip in the mountains of Jotunheimen in the summer of 2009, and the couple booked a “Top Touring” trip in Jotunheimen the winter of 2010. “When skiing in Norway my wife and I are constantly reminded of the rich ski history that is so much a part of Norway. The ski culture adds a great deal to our experience. There is no lack of inspiration,” Neptune said.