The Norwegian poet and hiker Aasmund Olavsson Vinje built the first cabin at Eidsbugarden in 1868. This cabin was also the start of Eidsbugarden Hotel. In 1968, a monument made by sculptor Ståle Kyllingstad was raised at Eidsbugarden in memory of Aasmund O. Vinje. Eidsbugarden was reopened the summer of 2006 after extensive renovations.
Boeck and Keilhau discover Jotunfjelde
During the summer of 1820, Christian Peter Bianco Boeck and Baltazar Mathias Keilhau "discover" Jotunheimen.
After their journey through this unknown mountain range, Boeck and Keilhau named this area Jotunfjelde. It was with Aasmund Olavsson Vinje that the name Jotunheimen occurred. Before this the area was only well known and widely used by local hunters, trappers and fishermen. The area around lake Bygdin has for example numerous old stone huts such as Eidsbue, Brandbue, Tolormbue, Nybue, Hestevøllen and Synsbekk. At Tyin you may also find numerous old huts.
From Bygdin, Boeck and Keilhau travelled further over to Tyin, where they with great effort ascended the Falketind mountain. The journey carried on further west towards Hurrungane and Jostedalen.
Aasmund Olavsson Vinje and Eidsbugarden
Aasmund O. Vinje was born April 6th 1818 in Vinje in Telemark, and died July 31st 1870 at Gran, Hadeland. Although he only experienced two summers at Eidsbugarden, his name end reputation is strongly connected to this place.
In the 1860s a circle of friends formed around Vinje - Døleringen it was called - and from 1863 several of them went to the mountains for three to six weeks each summer. They crawled into the miserable hunting shacks, and were well satisfied with this.
"Men ettersom eg meir på Alder steig og Foten mindre lett frametter seg, so laut eg sveiva meg og snu at eg i Jotunheimen fekk ei bu, der eg ein Maanads tid kan leva vel og styrkja millom Fjellom Skrott og Sjel"
(From the mortgage letter, Aasmund O. Vinje)
Aasmund Olavsson Vinje’s ”Eidsbugard” was finished in 1868. It was built by Engebret Beito from Beito. The logs were transported by boat across Bygdin from the eastern side of the lake, this was also the most common way to get to Bygdins western end.
The mortgage letter is a mortgage to Consul Thomas Heftye - on rhyme. Vinje was not a rich man and had to borrow money from the Consul Heftye to build his “Eidsbugard”. By this, Heftye took over Vinje’s cabin after his death in 1870. On his deathbed he dreams about Eidsbugarden:
"Kann du minnast utsynet fraa Skineggi (Utsikten) den morgonen, du, daa den kvite skodda dreiv burt imillom Skagastølstindane, og Koldedalsbreane lyste som gull i solglansen. Aajei, aajei, at eg inkje skal koma dit i sumar!"
”Men naar eg no er lagd i kista, so vil mi aand slaa upp sin heim deruppe milliom fjelli. Og so vil eg sitja der paa Falketind og sjaa ut yver Noreg, og Fjellradirne skal stiga fram.."
He spent two summers at Eidsbugarden, the first with his three good friends Berner, Boll and Sars - they wandered happily around in the nearby mountains of Eidsbugarden. Skineggen was Vinje’s favourite place. The following summer he went on his honeymoon to Eidsbugarden with his newly married wife, Rosa Constance Sophien Kjeldseth. It was his last summer, as it was for her. She died when she gave birth to their child on April 5th 1870 - the day before Vinje’s 52nd birthday. The 31st of July the same year, Vinje died due to stomach cancer - he never got closer to Jotunheimen than to the Sister Churches at Gran in Hadeland, where he was buried.
The tourists come.
From 1870 and onwards, the tourist traffic increased. After Vinjes death, Eidsbugarden started up as a guesthouse. This is the origin of Eidsbugarden Hotel. Eidsbugarden Hotel was one of the most prestigious mountain-hotels in the country. In the great heydays of the hotel the gentlemen wore tuxedos, or at least a dark suit, while the ladies wore evening gowns and ostrich feathers. “Den glade vandrer" was built to house "pøsafanten" or backpackers. Today, this cabin is called Fondsbu and has been operated by DNT since 1993. Vinjebua is separated from the hotel and is today located on the shore a little west of Eidsbugarden. The mountain tourists keep coming as they have done since the late 1800s.