Skiftessjøen LakeAugust 9, 2017 in Norway
Our travels took us to the head of Hardangerfjord and up through the increasingly tight valley, following the white river that fed the huge fjord, the river itself being fed by many glorious waterfalls. The terrain became more and more rugged and we passed boulders bigger than houses. Eventually the landscape turned too precipitous to forge a path over it, so our course continued through it, in a series of tunnels that looped over themselves, allowing us to spiral our way up the steep mountain.
Emerging at the top, we pulled over in a car park signed 'Vøringsfossen' and walked to a viewpoint where iron railings had been bracketed directly on to a natural stone platform. Peering over we found ourselves looking down what must have been several hundred metres of a sheer sided canyon. Several powerful waterfalls plunged down into a dark blue pool where the force of their impact caused a dense cloud of spray. We don't believe we've ever seen anything that compares to the scale of this before!
From our viewpoint that looked out accross the canyon, we could see another that looked out over the drop at the head of the valley. We drove a few kilometres and finding the correct turning, parked up at the end of the road. There were works going on and viewing platforms, walkways and benches had recently been installed. We didn't think it was possible but the views from here were even more stupendous. The position we were viewing from allowed us to see the waterfalls more fully and get up close to two out of the three major ones. Beyond the plunge pool the white river snaked away along the flat but narrow floor of this incredibly deep valley.
Leaving awestruck, we found ourselves on a plateau of sorts. While the terrain couldn't be described as flat, there were no longer dark towering mountains. We were over 1000m above sea level now and bright snow patches remained in protected lees and hollows. The land became boggy and meadows of white Cotton Grass began to crop up here and there beside small lakes, where the soft land had allowed a river to swell and bow out. We stayed in a restplace by one of these lakes. Amazingly it was still not raining when we arrived and there was somebody out rowing one of the tubby little boats we've frequently seen hauled on shore. There was a bitter wind so even before the heavy rain began to pelt the van we weren't tempted to launch our canoe.
It was only once the low clouds rose later that evening that we realised we had parked facing the Harangerjøkulen glacier. Its gleaming white surface of snow had merged into the white of the cloud. It continued to play hide and seek with us as the variable weather closed in and cleared repeatedly during our stay.Read more