onsdag 18 juli 2018

Reaching for the sky

Day 6, June 29th Another try to climb a mountain
Oskar wanted so badly to climb one of the tops so I bought a hiking map, hoping that it would be easier to find a way up a mountain. I decided a short car ride to Högfjellet and the top Durmålstuva 711 m above the ocean. Thought that it would be not a too hard climb. Johan and his son decided to go and visit a space center instead, so it was me and my kids only who took this challenge.
It was already in the afternoon when we started our hike. First and foremost, we didnt find a path. Maybe the red dotted line was only a suggestion for the best way?

We took many pauses, one reason because I was slow comparing to the young ones and one because the terrain was difficult.

Half way up and we are soaking wet. Mind you that the temperature is 9 degrees, but higher up the temperature drops to only a few degrees above freezing point.
The forests on the hills are so beautiful, there are lots of flowers  in the grass. We also stumbled upon several heaps of bear poo. I know how it looks but Alfons repeatedly said it wasnt a bear, like he was scared to meet one. Not likely because we were noisy. 
We discussed the best way up several times, the sight wasn't the best and with no path it wasn't easy.
When we finally reached above the tree line and only had 50 m of climbing to the first top, we took a rest and ate our sandwich. We had climbed for 3 hours, we were soaking wet and Johanna admitted that she had a fever.
While we sat there, a thick fog swept in and hid the view (the photo below is before that). We only had 30 meters of sight. We knew that we could find our way up and down anyway, but since Johanna was tired and the fog put us in risk, we decided after some afterthought to walk downwards. 
So, instead of reaching Durmålstuva at 711 m we almost reached Småtindan (little top) at 600 m. The higher top was completely covered by clouds, and to climb all the way, would be too dangerous.

Me and my sons on the photo below. Forgive me my stupid face, I was cold, soaking wet and had a adrenaline rush.
As you can see the land that we had to pass was water soaked, no shoes can stop this except rubber boots and they are not fit for this kind of hiking. Wool socks is the only way to keep you a little warm.

Another photo that gives you a hint of how hard this hike was. I became so proud of my sons, they showed me how good they are in team working, caring for each other and me and Johanna. We came toghether really well this day and I'm thankful for sharing this challenging experience with my children. I can be sure that they will handle any obstacles well.
Almost back on the gravel road. Can you see were the mountain dips a bit on the horizon? This is were we turned and walked back. Of course everything on a photo looks flat and like a walk in the park, I can tell you that it was steep, rocky, swamping wet and quite cold.
Alfons had so much energy left, he's hyper active. At 22 o clock in the evening Alfons wanted to take a dip in the sea. With a wet suit and clothes on, he manage to dip twice before rushing up from the cold water. 

lördag 14 juli 2018

A blue sky and Whales

Day 5 June 28th A day on the Atlantic ocean
Finnaly, we had a day with a little blue sky. The view from our windows is amazing. The eyes are continuosly drawn to the view and one just sits there and try to grasp the fact that places like this really exist. I don't have a photo of it, but when eating breakfast we saw a sea otter diving for clams.

We packed our car with rainboots and warm clothes and headed towards Andöya, but we didn't get far. Just after a couple of minutes driving, we urgently needed to stop to take photos.
The view over our neighbour-fjord, Hognfjorden is stunning. Simanestinden, Mortendalstinden, Middagstinden stands in a row. Every little mountain-top has a name here, and there are thousands of them.

Hognfjorden and Sörfjorden. The mountains are Durmålstinden, Middagstinden, Meraftatinden and Trolldalstinden. 

 So as the header says, our goal for the day was a whale safari. Andenes at Andöya is a sleepy little town that seems to live by whales and fishing.

There were quite a lot of houses for sale. For example this one. If  you are a fan of Hitchcock movies and loves the sea, this house is perfect. It is very picturesque with a  lot of patina and bird song, literally. :-D
We jumped in our winter wardrobe, rain boots and borrowed some kind of overall suit that made me feel like a stuffed snowman. It was only me and my sons on this event. The others were a bit worried over sea sicknes, deep water and so on. We travelled fast with RIB-boats out on the ocean. During the bumpy ride we saw flocks of puffin birds, diving in the sea. It was impossible to take photos of the birds so heres a photo from wikipedia.
Isn't it cute? I have always wanted to see one in real life, ever since I was a little child.
We waited for a wery long time, almost two hours before we found one. My boys are very impatient and it is hard to sit still and just wait.
Suddenly a small fountain is visible in the waves.
A sperm whale is sighted.

This whale is 16 meters long and the weight is 40 000 kg, a heavy dude. The sperm whale dives relatively deep and can stay under water for 2 hours, before it needs to reach the surface to breathe. After about 15 minutes of breathing it dives again.

I think it was wonderful to see the whale in it's natural habitat, and share this experience with my sons. 
We came home late that evening, again. But as you can see, it's never dark here. The photo of the bog, mountains and the sky is taken 22:41.
Let me offer you a fitting soundtrack of my photos.

torsdag 12 juli 2018

Trying to climb the mountain

Day 4 June 27th. A day at home in Vesterålen
After another day, travelling by car, we needed a "day off" at home. We slept, took it easy. We had looked at the mountain behind our house for a long time. I wanted to se the lake so much. The lake Nordheivatnet is at 386 meters above the ocean and lays between the bowl shaped mountains.
We started in a good mood. The subarctic forest is very beautiful with dwarf cornel in bloom and gnarly birch trees.

It had rained for 5 weeks and our feet got wet very fast.

We obviously took the wrong way. With a steep almost impossible to climb and heaps of rocks surrounding us, we had to turn back. Since it was late, we headed back home.

It's not easy to see how steep it was, but we seriously wouldn't get this high up if we didn't have the trees to hold on to.
The evening ended with more resting. 
I sneaked away and took a bath. I can tell you it was unbelievable cold, even though I had a wet suit. It was a quick dip and no one saw me, so they didn't beleive that I did dip myself.

This is a typical photo of bored brothers, it has always ended in a wrestling match.

tisdag 10 juli 2018

Lofoten - land of Vikings and Surfers

Day 3 June 26th Daytrip to Lofoten
One of the things we learned about this nook of the world is that the weather change fast here, as you will see in the photos of this post. Actually, dangerously fast, if you are somewhere were you need to dress for the weather. More on that later.
We found out that we have our own herd of reindeers in the neighbourhood, that is cute.
This day was aimed for Lofoten, a short daytrip we thought. The distance might look short on a map, but with windling roads, the time to travel from one spot to another is quite a bit longer. Hinnöya, one of the islands in this area has massive mountains. Even though they have built lots of tunnels (Mines of Moria, we call them), the roads takes us around, along the shoreline. At Hinnöya there is a National park called Möysalen, the same name as the highest point 1265 m above sea level. It hides behind the fog and rain. Oskar would love to climb this mountain and I looked for information about it. It was not safe to go alone without a mountain guide, so we opted for another top.

Svolvaer at Austvågöya (east wave island) is the largest town in Lofoten. A landmark in the town is the nearby mountain with a chimney like cliff called Svolvaer Geita. I googled the name and got quite annoyed of adrenaline seeking people who use to jump between the two rocks. 
We found a restaurant with a surfers theme, were I had a fish soup and the others ate hamburgers. 
Our main goal for this day trip was Lofotr Viking museum at Vestvågöya (west wave island). Part of the museum is a HUUGE long house (83 meters) built by hand in accordance with old methods. I didn't knew that long houses were this big, the lenght is in size of a large mansion.

Lots of good craftmanship and beautiful details in all the wood work. Look at the roof tiles, hand carved piece by piece. This is built to last. 

I was lucky enough to get photos without people swarming around. There were a large group of elderly people who had bright red jackets with lots of badges and large white letters "polar expedition" or something on their backs. They didn't look very adventurous, more comfortable I would say. Johan looked it up and found out that they had paide a huge amount of money for this trip. Maybe I'm a snob, but I dislike charter and all inclusive travelling.

The craftmanship continued inside the long house, everything hand made and genuine. I think the loom looks unpractical ( have been weaving) to tighten the weave, they used swords in whale bone.

Johan and Gustav, and Oskar tries helmets and shields.
In one end of the long house, there was a wood working shop were a couple of guys made ornamental things like the plank on the right.
the museum had it's own harbour with a few boats. Johannas father who is a wood worker, has built a viking ship once with the old methods, larger than these, he told me that it takes long time and it's difficult.
The nature around Borg as the place is called has softer hills and not much wind. A good place to build a long house. The long house is an almost exact replica of the long house that once stood there in the viking era, it is the largest long house that ever been found. Archeological examinations has revealed many treasures and traces for the people who once lived here. Olaf Tvennumbruni was one of the last chiefs of Borg he was said to be a great "hamram" kind of priest who held rites for the old gods. He and his family left Borg for Island, maybe because of a time of political and religious upheavals.

The surfer restaurant in Svolvaer has a locigal meaning. Unstad beach, not long from Borg has the northliest surfing school (Unstad Arctic surf) in the world. If you google arctic surf you can se cool photos of the winter surfers. 
Unstad is a tiny village, surrounded by high mountains. The only way here is through a small tunnel, that was on a renovating status when we came here. The lights was out and the tunnel very small. I was scared to drive through.
The photos from Borg shows a blue sky but on the other side of the mountain, the clouds cover the sky and the wind is heavy. Alfons and I removed our shoes to wade in the water.

I understand why there is no one in the water. The under streams is strong and the sand blaster our bones. Alfons didn't pull upp his trousers enough and he waded further out. Until a big wave came and flushed him up to the waist. Did he brought some extra clothes? No, sigh. But fortunately he's eleder brother did. 

Back through the tunnel and on the other side of the mountain, the weather is much calmer. Himmeltindan, the mountain in the background rises 930 meter above sea.

I really wanted to go all the way out on the tail end of Lofoten ( the name means lynx foot btw), but by this time the clock was half past eight and we had several hours of driving ahead. So we called it a night.
Writing these post with the soundtrack from lots in my ears...

söndag 8 juli 2018

Vesterålen - where the sky meets the ocean

Day 2 June 25th
Once across the border, the landscape suddenly change. The mountains are higher and more rocky and the nature gives a dramatic impression, comparing to the Swedish side. The photos below shows Junkerdal.

A serpentine road windling along the mountain side with a steep cliff. You can see how small the road is. These meeting spots (were I parked) are a bit sunken, scary.

The photo above was taken in Fauske were I had to fill up gas.
The trip also included a ride with a ferry, from Bognes to Lödingen
Into the fog...

Driving through this dramatic landscape, frequently the thought comes to me, why didn't they shoot the lotr in Norway?
Finally we reach our destination, 6 o'clock in the evening. The red house with large windows is ours. The house is clean and fresh and well equipped. Behind the house is a bowl shaped mountain (Reinstadtinden) reaching 835 meters above the sea. I can see a lake in the bottom of the "bowl", on a map, and I wish to take a climb. I'm on the beach right now, so when I turn around...
White sand, turqoise water and a 900 m high mountain, called Nontind. This is our amazing view, everytime we look out the window. It's a bit sad that a photo doesn't make the real thing justice. The mountain looks actually much higher in reality, you feel pretty small in this place.

 Sitting on a stone and ingesting the view, I become overwhelmed by the beauty. If I could, I would cry, but I'm overwhelmed and filled with to many emotions. You do agree with me, that this is the place for fairytales, don't you?

The photos are taken half past 10 in the evening, it's not particularly dark. At one o clock in the night it is only a wee bit darker.
I pick seashells and sea glass. The salty water is ice cold.

Johan gives me a hug and says that I've planned this trip very well.