There are some awesome trails for hiking in North Norway. Trails from 10 to 20 km lead to most amazing locations; glaciers, mountain peaks and green valleys.
Last summer, when we moved back to north, we spend every weekend in a new location around our home. Hiking in North Norway – day trips and one night trips with our tent became a summer adventure I had never thought of. To be honest, I had never been too keen to spend a summer up here. Too many mosquitoes, I had said. Too cold. Nothing to do. Boy, was I wrong! We spent hot summer- well, warm anyway, days exploring our new neighborhood and ticking off one thing at a time from my bucket list.
See a glacier from close by. Touch it, smell it. Hear it creak. See it retreating in front of my eyes. Well, the last is not in my bucket list, but seeing it in real life, that is way more thought provoking than hearing the evening news.
We packed our gear for an overnight trip. The trail to Steindalsbreen is under 20km, so we could have done it in a day. Most people seem to just run there and back, but we like to take our time and take in the immensity of it all. The trail starts with a bit of an uphill, which on a sunny afternoon, does make you wonder what happened to those cold northern summers.
Walking though green meadows surrounded by steep and high mountain walls on both sides, Norway shows you a completely new side of its nature. These are the places you don’t see driving your car around in the dark winters night hunting the northern lights. A gentle breeze brings about a strong odor, unmistakably you are not alone – a small herd of sheep are gracing by the melt-water river running from the glacier.
As you approach the glacier, you can feel the ice cold air mixing to the summer warmth. The green becomes less and the rocks become more. Then you reach the sign which marks where the glacier was a hundred years ago. A few more rocky slopes down, you see the next sign. If the glacier wasn’t enough to leave you speechless, watching the rocky slopes revealed by the retrieving ice definitely is. I now understand why both geology and biology students come here for the glacier lessons. You can see the newly exposed land, land exposed a hundred years ago, or a thousand years ago – all in one valley.
On our way back, I spotted mountain avens, dryas octopetala, growing exactly where the ice had been a hundred years ago. These delicate shrubs can live up to 100 years. I took a photo and wondered how many hikers have passed them without stopping. This might be the same plant which a century ago grew its roots here once the ice was gone.
We walked back to green meadows of the valley in search of a camp site. The evening sun was not warming anymore when we brewed the last hot drinks of the day. It was time to crawl in to the sleeping bags and fall a sleep listening to the silence. And a very loud waterfall and some mama sheep calling for its lost lamb.
Want to know what happened in the morning? Read it from here.