Norway - Time for surprises! (2023.06.24-25)

We crossed the Norwegian border around midnight and spotted a suitable place for the tent at the shore of a lake right after the border. 

This was the first time Sisu had to sleep in a tent outdoors. Previously, she slept in a tent with us in the apartment to make her used to it, but she did not like the concept at all! Same here, it was very confusing for her to be in this weird space, but eventually, she fell asleep quite easily since she was pretty tired after the first day of hiking.

We woke up around 10 a.m. The place was really nice. We enjoyed the shallow lake with clear water and the promising landscape of snowy mountains – adventures awaiting in the distance! It was especially exciting today since I had no idea what was going to happen! Ilze planned this day as a surprise for me!

It happened to be a slow morning so it took some five hours for us to get finally going again. 

Everything we needed was packed in our Volkswagen Golf. 

From time to time I got out of the car to take some photos of absolutely beautiful landscapes that I was enjoying for the first time in my life. We were falling behind our planned schedule, but we had plenty of time reserved for this adventure, so the main aim was to enjoy the trip! 

And soon we got to the first surprise place – Rovijokfossen – a massive waterfall! An enormous amount of water gushing from a 28m high cliff sent droplets of water far away so everything and everyone around it became soaking wet very quickly! I looked up the waterfall in Google Maps – it is much smaller usually, so the meltwater is to blame. 

We continued our journey and the views became more and more beautiful and impressive. We entered the road on the shore of a Lyngen fjord surrounded by imposing massive mountains, apparently chiseled by the glaciers during the ice age. Involuntarily a theme from Vikings or Hobbit’s Misty Mountains played in my head despite Ilze’s badass-hip hop playlist playing in the background.

The next stop was the second surprise. I tried to figure out what it could be. A valley with thousands of waterfalls? Some awesome cliffs? Viking stuff? We stopped at the beginning of a valley on the shore of the fjord and were supposed to hike up the valley and spend a night somewhere there. 

This time I did not take any extra stuff with me, not even a gorilla pod to make my backpack as light as possible. The trail was quite steep with a lot of boulders and after half an hour of walking, I understood that I physically could not continue walking. So I gave the tent to Ilze and that basically allowed me to keep walking.

This was at that moment the northernmost place I had ever been (the very northernmost place will come in the next posts 🙂 ) and did not imagine so much lush greenery so far North.

The water of the river running through the valley was strangely white. Ilze made sure I did not read any signs that could give away the destination of our hike, but when she said something like ”the water might be this white because of melting ice”, it struck me – we were probably going to a GLACIER! A real glacier! I never imagined there would be one in Norway, let alone the chance to witness it in the near future! Now all the strange piles of rocks made more sense!

But I still could not see if I was right. And with these challenging (at least for me) paths, it looked like we would not have time to reach a hypothetical glacier today.

So after just a 1,5h walk, I felt exhausted and since we reached a nice place suitable for camping we decided to stay for the night there and continue the next day. We found the perfect spot for the tent.

Sisu was slowly accepting the new reality of sleeping in a tent. After all, she had no reason to complain – we got her own, sleeping bag! 

The next morning the hike continued and soon we finally saw it in the distance – the blue ice of the cracks in Steindalen glacier surface lit by sunlight between mountain peaks!

But we still had to walk at least for couple of kilometers through the sheep pasture. Turned out, the sheep terrified Sisu! Our “hunting dog” was so scared that it had to be carried in our hands to pass by the resting or grazing sheep. 

It was still hard to put together the lushness of these idyllic landscapes and the warm air of the valley with the glacier at the end of it and the fact that this valley in many ways was formed by the ice during the last glaciation period!

We crossed a couple of moraines left by the retreating ice thousands of years ago and finally saw the very edge of this “ice river” descending into a small (as it looked from the distance) lake of meltwater. And then we felt the chilly “breath of the glacier”. I had to put on my sweater hat and jacket and the patches of snow dotted the surrounding landscape were making Sisu crazy at moments because she wanted to roll in all of them! 😀

Incredible feeling to be next to this huge mass of ice between 1200+ m high mountain peaks. Knowing that it has been here for thousands of years in more or less this shape, but in the next 100 years or so, it could be gone!

Meanwhile, Sisu enjoyed investigating the mud with her snoot as you can see.

I felt like looking into the Earth’s past. Into the times before civilization when glaciers covered all of northern Europe. I know it did not look like this in the current territories of Finland or Latvia, but these are my subjective emotions and imagination and I was just happy to see something that I could extrapolate and speculate from. 

In this photo is a little bit easier to understand the actual scale of the glacier, with all those small people in the distance. It was around 500 m wide.

We were happy and already tired when we started to head back. We still had to reach the car by walking more than 6 km and drive to the next place where we put up the tent…

But first, we had to carry Sisu across the grazing sheep…

By the time we reached the car, I was so freaking tired I literally did not feel anything anymore emotionally, total emptiness and just general dissatisfaction with everything that ever existed… despite just witnessing a real glacier 😀 I never felt that way before or since, probably because we did not have to walk so far with so much stuff on our backs anymore.

Anyway, this was just one time, an interesting note about how exhaustion can affect you and I wanted to share it since it was the first time I felt this.

And we had some mindblowing hikes still ahead! So come back and check the rest of our adventure later!

…oh yes, the white water. We figured out it was white not because of the glacier meltwater, it was clear near the glacier (makes sense actually). It became white later, so we guess the dissolved minerals were making it white.

That’s it for now.

To be continued.