Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mountain vacation 2008. August 17th

Yay, Sunday ... and warm and sunny! :-D Exactly as we'd hoped. So we packed our bags - that is, my Hitachi backpack that I got from a supplier at work ;-) - and set off on my favorite hike. This is a hike through varied and uneven terrain; it takes between three and four hours, depending on the pace you set. Its goal is a valley on the other side of lake Bergetjønn ... a valley that has two names, one official and one that's generally used. ;-) The official name is Skjerdalen (dal is the Norwegian word for valley) which I can't tell you the meaning of, and the name that you will more often hear is Villmanndalen - Wild Man Valley. :-) I'm not entirely sure where this name originated. But it's to do with the spectacular scenery in the valley which is bizarrely different from everything else in the area. The valley is narrow and its sides vertical cliffs; there is a great deal of water on the valley floor and cascading down the cliff walls. All of this combines to form a kind of natural greenhouse. The valley is enormously fertile compared with the surrounding area, and a number of plants grow there that aren't found anywhere else in Rondane. It is so weird being there ... you descend a short distance and suddenly it is as if you were in some other world. The plant life grows so wildly down there ... so many different plants and such abundant growth. At the far end of the valley, you ascend a few meters and you're back on the mountain plateau with nothing growing but moss and some stunted birch and juniper bushes. And the temperature may drop noticeably as you move from the protected valley and up onto the plateau. A very strange feeling.

Part of the path along the further side (to us) of lake Bergetjønn.

The far side of lake Bergetjønn. Mount Svulten in the background to the left.

A view of lake Bergetjønn from the far side. Bjørnhollia just visible. Taken from the cliffside on our way up to higher ground on the far side.

A view of mount Musvollkampen from the top of the cliff on the far side of lake Bergetjønn.

My mother on the top of the cliff, with lake Bergetjønn in the background. It's great for fishing, btw. :-)

A view towards Bjørnhollia from the top of the cliff.

We never bring anything to drink, because there are lots of brooks and streams along the way with wonderfully clean and cold water in them. We just bring little wooden cups to drink from. This is mine. It's ridiculously small ... but that's for a reason. We all had these cups made for us by my grandfather, my mother's father. He was a very talented woodcarver and he made (among many other things) these cups for everyone in the family. But then he died when I was only six years old. So my cup is made for the size my hand was when he knew me ... he never had the chance to make a bigger cup for an older and bigger me. There are lots of other wooden cups I could use, if I wanted to ... but I always use this one, because this is the one that he made for me. :-(

This is an old shieling, built entirely of stone, that is at about the halfway point on the way to the valley. We normally take a little break there. Fun story: this place was built as a shieling by some farmers from the Atna Valley (where Solvang is), but it isn't in the East Valley (which the Atna Valley is part of), it is in the Gudbrand Valley (the borders are tricky up there), and when people from the latter heard about this shieling they immediately set out to make sure it wasn't used by those pesky East Valley fellows. And it never was. It was never used by anyone from the Gudbrand Valley either - they didn't want it for themselves, they just didn't want anyone else to have it. (Typical!!! ;-) So it was just left to fall down for now almost a century. Oy vey ...

Finally, down in the valley.

My mother on the opposite side of the valley. She thought it seemed safer, but ...

... ended up having to cross the little river on the valley floor. She made it across OK, but wasn't entirely convinced of that when she set out. ;-)

Some views of the valley.

The waterfall at the halfway point of the valley. A lot of people turn back here, thinking they've seen it all. More fools they.

Me climbing the waterfall.

A view of the first part of the valley, seen from the waterfall.

A view of the second part of the valley.

A view across the mountain plateau just after we got back up there from the valley. Mount Musvollkampen in the center of the image.

A view of mount Musvollkampen from the nearer side (to us) of lake Bergetjønn.


Paz said...

Great photos, worth geting the new camera, very impressed. The 14th was lovely(the waterfall wasn't bad in this either) ;)

Leisha Camden said...

Actually, these pictures were taken with my mother's camera, which is an older version of my new one. I wish I had had the new one back in August - imagine how beautifully I could have portrayed the eclipse ... !! :-o

Thanks for the compliments! ;-)

Paz said...

The pictures were well taken

Leisha Camden said...

Yes, I am a marvellously talented photographer! ;-)

No, I'm not really ... but with scenery like that it's easy to take good pictures. It is a lot of fun photographing nature, though - as you know! - trying to compose an image, so to speak, using the elements that are just already there. :-)

Paz said...

Damn you take the compliment, you framed them well, even though the scenery is beautifull you have gotten good shots.

Paz said...

also want to see more knobly knees haha

Leisha Camden said...


I have lots more pictures from this place that I took in the summer of 2006 ... I may post those at some point too. Some of them anyway. But if you want to you can see them in one of my albums over at photobucket ('Summer in the mountains 2006' under Holiday pictures). If I may say so, I have some really good pictures in that album. :-)

Paz said...

only 2 in 2006 but they are beautiful had a nose around and there are some lovely shots in the other ones

Leisha Camden said...

Oops, looks like I meant 2005 ... :-)