Who «discovered» the Aurland valley? A fur-clad figure hunting raindeer? An outlaw escaping punishment in the village? A young man who didn’t want to work for his elder brother that inherited the farm? All of them «discovered» the Aurland valley. You can see traces of hunting in the mountains, and in the steep mountain sides the remains of old houses bear witness to the harsh life here. Word has it that to some, bountiful hunting and fishing was more attractive than a stony farm in the village.
Who «discovered» the Aurland valley? A team of men who bought horses and cattle from the fjord villages and drove the herds across the mountains to the east and sold them with substatial profit on the markets in Drammen, Christiania or in Kongsberg. These herds stayed through the summer in Stemberdalen, (the valley of stallions), reveling the fertile grass here. The path leading here was short but steep, and from Stemberdalen the crossing to Hol in Hallingdal was a good day’s hike.
Who «discovered» the Aurland valley? Around 1880 the Editor in Chief of Aftenposten wrote about this wild and spectacular valley. This brought well-to-do hikers from Kristiania, Drammen og Bergen, who payed for food and shelter.
All of them discovered Aurlandsdalen in their own way. Even the hydro engineer, the navvies, tunnell workers, cable fitters and cooks have left their imprint. Not since the ice age did the Aurland valley go through greater changes than after 1970. When the Aurland valley was subjected to hydro power development, Stemmerdalen got connected by road both to the east and the west. And the landscape changed. Earlier there were four smaller lakes below the Steinbergdalshytta, whereas now there is one big lake.
Steinbergdalshytta was built in 1895. This location was picked because many people passed here, and high quality food like meat and dairy products were abundant. The timber for Steinbergdalshytta came from Hol by horse. In spring the snow crust would be strong enough to carry 5 horses that managed 10-15 logs at a time.
In the begining there were only 17 beds at Steinbergdalshytta, and it happened quite often that there were more guests than beds. Today there are 5 structures at Steinbergdalshytta: the main building, the annex, the barn and two smaller cabins. There are approximately 50 beds.
John and Signe Fimreite bought Steinbergdalshytta from DNT in 1961, and hosted the lodge for a generation. They were passionate about old handicraft, as a result Steinbergdalshytta has many interesting old artifacts.
Food has always been excellent at Steinbergdalshytta. The surrounding nature offers fish, game and berries. Until several years after WWII supplies were brought here through the Aurland valley on horse back. Before the road, flour, salt, sugar and other provisions were brought here on weasel. Because of the difficult terrain, the weasel could not drive all the way to the door, and they used an «elevator» to transport the goods down from the plateau. Tasty, home made food is still served at Steinbergdalshytta.
Solveig has worked for several years teaching Mathematics and Physics, but all along she has dreamed of trying something else as well; to combine her two passions for tasty food and the outdoors. A mountain lodge seemed to be the obvious answer to that dream, but we all know how it is. To dream is one thing, to actually get around to doing it is another. In February 2016 she fell on the ice, hit her back head and incured a concussion. We’ll skip the details, but she ended on sick leave with no idea of when she would be able to return to work. That was a totally frustrating and unbearable situation, but turned out to be the incentive she needed to re-orient her self. She applied for work at Vatnahalsen hotel. The plan was to get back to work quickly, as this was a very different kind of work compared to teaching, to put her dream to the test, and not least to get vital experience. Regularily she would check the real estate market.
In August 2017 Steinbergdalshytta came for sale. Solveig went to look with no other plan than to dream, as the asked price was way more than she could afford. But time passed, the place was not sold, and her dreams grew bolder and more substantial. In May 2018 she placed a bid that was within her financial capacity, -and the bid was accepted! September 1st. 2018 she got the keys, by the end of November she moved in, and fall and winter was spent upgrading and remodeling the buildings and starting up business again after 9 years of «slumber». If everything works according to plan the first overnight guests can be welcomed Easter 2019!