Jostedalsbreen GlacierJuly 27, 2017 in Norway
Leaving the wonderful lake on which we'd paddled the canoe, we completed the 100km diversion we'd had to take because of a road closure. This included a short ride accross a fjord on the Anda-Lote ferry. We are getting to actively look forward to these crossings now we've been on enough of them to know there is no need to worry about getting tickets beforehand. They have all been well organised, with the ticket sellers coming to the van when it is queuing or making themselves easily available on board if there isn't time. We like to climb up to the open deck and see as many views as we can before dashing back down to the van, ready to drive off.
We haven't seen any launderettes as yet in Norway so instead of trying to find a big campsite with a machine, we've chosen to handwash our clothes. One of the disadvantages of this is the strain it puts on our limited water supply. We were running low but near the end of the day's drive, spotted a filling and emptying point. It was 60NOK to use the services but free if we bought diesel from the adjacent petrol station, which we did.
Will is in charge of route planning and had been very keen to visit a particular overnight spot that would add about 40km to our journey. He'd shown it to Vicky on the digital map and having a lake nearby, she didn't think it was unusual that he wanted to go. However, Will hadn't been showing Vicky the whole picture and it was only as we drew closer and she spotted snow stacked up on top of a mountain that he told her it was the northern end of the largest glacier on the European continent! Wow! No biggie then!
Covering an area of 487 square kilometers the Jostedalsbreen glacier had a road leading to a restplace at its southern end. This had a viewpoint within a kilometre of Bøyabreen; one of the glacier's many 'tongues' or edges. It was difficult not to get our hopes up but when we saw it, we weren't disappointed. It was obviously a lot larger than the first glacier we'd seen and while still unreachable due to its position high up on a cliffside, the gradient was shallower and the glacier stretched down further towards us. White ribbons of water streamed down the bare rock and cut between the woodland on the surrounding slopes. The light permitted to enter the valley on this overcast day was limited, but reflected off the wet stone, making the scene look like a painting.
It was near impossible to get a grip of the scale of this immense ice flow. Only when you looked at the miniscule trees near it did you begin to get some idea. The surface was covered in varying degrees of grit but the body was a bright blue. From where we stood, the top appeared rough. The slow creep down the mountain had rucked and twisted the compacted ice so it spilt, meltwater had eroded channels and the overall result was sharp peaks and toughs, like millions of stacked sugarlumps. The edges revealed the depth of the splits, the giant crevasses looking like gills on a giant dogfish.
We were both overawed by the sight of this fascinating frozen formation. We'd be getting on with jobs or hobbies in the van then absentmindedly glance out of the window to be mesmerised by its presence so close to us. The Norwegian rain may have stopped us canoeing on the small lake or walking up the close by forest track but the country has brought us so many of these incredible natural sights that we didn't even think about bemoaning the weather!Read more