The hills and forests around Oslo are now sporting 50 new posts of interest, waiting to be found by eager skiers and hikers. Hundreds lined up again on Sunday to punch their first post in the latest edition of the local ski association’s book containing them all, called the Kjentmannmerket’s handbook.
The book and program behind it takes its name from a kjentmann, someone who’s familiar with a local area. Those who find enough of the posts featured in the new handbook win a merke, an award of sorts for their familiarity. Those who find 15 of the posts qualify for a bronze pin, 25 wins silver and a gold pin goes to those who find at least 40 of the 50 posts.
The program that combines outdoor activity with a treasure hunt of sorts is mainly aimed at simply encouraging the use of Oslo’s surrounding forests (collectively called marka), by providing 50 new trekking destinations either on foot, on bicycles or skis. Skiforeningen, the local ski association, has hosted the program for years as an extra incentive for local residents to explore and enjoy their local hills and forests that are full of hiking and skiing trails. Similar programs are available in other areas around Norway, often through the local trekking association DNT.
The opening post was in an unusually urban location at Ekebergsletta, the large plateau on Oslo’s east side that’s perhaps best known for hosting the annual Norway Cup football tournament every summer. The site was chosen for its historical significance, panoramic views and to highlight a little-known granite marker that was part of geographic surveying in the area.
All the posts are chosen on the basis of cultural history, scenic beauty or both, and they’re spread over a large geographic area from Hurum and Kjekstadmarka in the southwest, to Nordmarka in the north and Østmarka in the east. All are described in detail in the handbook, with a photo of the post and an excerpt from the trail map for the area. Winter and summer trail maps for Nordmarka plus the trail maps for Østmarka and Vestmarka are needed along with the handbook to find the posts, and are available at the offices of trekking association DNT in downtown Oslo, and at most sporting goods stores and book stores. The book is available only in Norwegian, but for newcomers to the Oslo area who can read the language, it’s a great way to get to know the local great outdoors.
The Kjentmannsmerket’s handbook itself sold briskly on Sunday and is also available for sale from Skiforeningen, either online or at Skiforeningen’s offices at Kongeveien 5, Holmenkollen. Price: NOK 250 for members, and NOK 370 for non-members. The posts will remain standing until September 1, 2017.