It is morning. It is early. It is 50 shades of gray outside. At our anchorage, insanely steep cliffs lead up, up, up to the snowy mountaintops surrounding us. We are deep within the Norwegian fjords. It is easy to become lost here and it is beautiful. With a simple ruler and a map, ignoring the fjords, Norway’s coast would be about 1,650 miles long. When you include the fjords, it’s ten times longer! And did I mention that it is beautiful? It is no wonder that Slartibartfast won an award for the design of Norway (see the novel: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).
There are three outings offered this morning, all involving explororation with different degrees of walking. My group is going to Briksdalsbreen, or Briksdal Glacier. Briksdalsbreen is part of the Jostedalsbreen Ice Sheet, the single largest ancient ice mass on the European continent…and it is melting. From the lodge, gift shop, and restaurant area it’s about a 45 minute walk up to the glacier front. The entire walk is uphill—a somewhat gentle, but constant, uphill walk. For those who are less ambitious, there are the Troll Cars! I choose to walk with no intention of getting to the glacier itself. I often prefer the journey to the destination; there are so many little things to look out for and admire along the way.
Spring has just begun here and there are many flowers, but only of a few varieties. The most numerous flower is the wood anemone. These bright plant faces are white and sometimes pinkish, and about the size of a half dollar. The wood anemone is the first sign of spring; it is a symbol of both hope and loss. The word anemone is from the Greek, meaning “daughter of the wind.” While there is no wind today there is on and off again rain and sun, which only seems to confuse the flowers, as some are opened and many others are closed.
After the hike there is coffee and a huge assortment of pastries at the restaurant. It has been at least a couple of hours since breakfast so we enjoy it! Back at the dock there is the opportunity to ride the Loen Skylift, which is said to be the steepest cable car ride in the world. There are spectacular views along the way, including that of National Geographic Resolution far, far below.
Photo caption: Waterfall near Briksdalbreen. Photo by Dennis Cornejo