Glacier walk + videoJuly 6, 2017 in Norway
Will had invested a bit of time scouring Maps.Me and had found a glacier that wasn't far out of our way. Neither of us had ever seen a glacier before and were excited at the prospect. We drove towards it and when we saw the exposed face, poised high up on the mountain, there was no confusing it with an ordinary covering of snow, its hard ice darker and more angular, like the rocks that surrounded it.
We drove to the end of a single track road arriving at a small parking area with a compost loo and a few large, colourful wooden houses. From here there was the option of a boat trip to the foot of the glacier or an 8km walk along the side of the fjord. Liking to travel under our own steam when we can, we opted for the later. The going was tough right from the start, with rocks and roots poking up out of the grassy track through the woods. We crossed many streams and a few rivers, a couple with unstable wood and metal bridges layed between the two banks, but most via natural stepping stones or a single wooden plank. Our adrenaline was running high with the prospect of actually being able to reach the foot of the glacier, where the snow reached down to the water. As we carried on the track became rougher and less defined, to the extent that we found ourselves hopping between boulders on the ragged shore, without any path.
As we slowly inched closer and closer to the compacted ice, more details revealed themselves. We could see the running water emerging from the glacier bed, cascading over the slick dark cliff face and plunging underneath the snow drift at the base, before spurting out into the fjord. We could hear the roaring of many waterfalls and fast flowing rivers but as we progressed towards the head of the fjord, the noise they made faded out and we were able to focus more on the incessant pounding of the glacial meltwater. Very occasionally a short thunderous rumble filled the valley a noise we are pretty sure was made by the glacier creaking forwards. From a distance the mass of ice had a dull blue hue amidst the grey shadows but drawing nearer, the blue intensified to the point where it was almost a neon blue in the right light. A distinctive looking triangular archway drew our attention, its angles enhancing the colours.
After some time we arrived at an open grassed area where we saw two reindeer cows with their calves, one of which was suckling! There was a picnic bench and signpost with a little green postbox on it. Inside was a visitors' book which we signed. Beyond this point, the path was marked by small cairns and the occasional weathered red plastic snow pole. It took us up the steep mountainside and became so narrow and difficult that we concluded it was used mainly by the reindeer. Altough the glacier seemed so close, a rigid inflatable boat had driven to the base of it and the people inside seemed very, very small. We couldn't see any sign of a track over the scree slopes between us and our destination and so as the mountainside we were traversing became precipitous and the gravel slippery, we decided we had come as far as we could. The increasing danger of continuing wasn't worth risking.
The return journey seemed to take forever and being tired, we needed to stop and rest more frequently. At one of these pauses Vicky decided to scramble up the rocks to a river covered in snow that wound its way down the mountain. It too, was further away than anticipated but it was worth the hike to have reached a bit of snow.
7 hours and nearly 10 miles after setting off, we celebrated at the sight of the van. We think the 8km on the information board had been as the crow flies and so were very glad we'd turned back when we had. We hadn't expected the route to be so rough and difficult and the going to be so slow. We were exhausted and sore but glad we'd tried. We felt we'd tasted a bit of Norwegian wilderness, not least in the mountain spring water we'd scooped up from the streams. We'd watched the details emerge on the glacier as we drew closer to it and heard its thunderous creak echoing off the walls of the fjord.
We'd planned to move on after the walk but decided that eating and sleeping now came higher up our list of priorities, so we stayed put for the night alongside some French and a German van that had arrived.
We took a few video clips along the walk, so if you'd like to see glimpses from our journey, go to VnW Travels' YouTube Channel here: https://youtu.be/wGoIth9qWUYRead more