Norway

A magical moment in my backyard

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A day off. Lousy weather. I spent it indoor with a good book. Three hours before midnight, I became restless. Then the weather changed and I went for a short road trip.

Why should we care about short trips in our own backyard? There is one thing I have to repeat over and over again – it’s way too easy to postpone the short road trips, since you can do these trips any day. But keep in mind that weather conditions can make the journey unique every time you go. It does not matter if you already been there 10 or 15 times already. At least you will get some fresh air. 

About 30 kilometers later I arrived at the abandoned power station. At the same moment the sun disappeared behind the clouds and I got really mad. Now I wouldn’t get the effect I wanted with the sunbeams going through the broken windows.

But I got to shoot some pictures. After all, it was the first time I was there. And I got a chance to get to known the location. Because I’ll be back for the right light and sun conditions.

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ME: I was able to get my self in the picture.

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On my way back I decided to take a trip to Kvaløyvågen even if there was snow in the air. Snow in the end of may… I guess there is no reason to be surprise when you live above the Arctic Circle.

I wanted to look at a location which could be perfect to shoot the northern lights next winter. At first I just wanted to go home, but I knew as long as I had started to think about going there, then I had to do it. There’s a lot of times I’ve regretted that I didn’t go because I might have gotten a good photo. 

I looked at the house which was 400 yard away, but I dropped to go down when I saw a lavvu (sami tent) in the reflection of a small lake on the other side of the road.

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I started walking towards the car, but I quickly changed my mind. I decided to walk around the lake and take some close-ups of the lavvu since it would only take me two-three minutes to get there. 

Suddenly the sun appeared between the clouds and I had a magical moment that last for a couple of minutes.

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I couldn’t stop smiling. A few minutes earlier it snowed a little bit. It just shows what kind of reward you can get when you travel in your own backyard. I was delighted that I left the couch behind and got some magic from above.

A few more pictures:

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Categories: Norway, Troms | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The beauty of your neighbourhood

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It’s easy to take it for granted. And thus ignore the beauty that is right in front of you.

I’m talking about your own neighbourhood. No matter how beautiful it is, many of us to decide to postpone our trips. I’ve done it. Way too many times. I say to my self: I’ll go tomorrow, next weekend and so on…

Ørnfløya and Sommerøya are only an hour’s drive away from Tromsø. An incredibly beautiful area, which I should have visited a lot more often.

But now I have a couple of friends coming over from USA, so I had to check how it was to hike up to Ørnfløya since winter still was around.

And of course, I brought my camera, since there is always something to take pictures of. The weather was amazing, only a few clouds were missing to make it perfect condition for some photos.

Ørnfløya is just 15 minutes fast walk from the car to the top and then you get this view:

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Here is one more photo, taken last year.

Each trip is different.

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Then I went to the beach Kvitnesvika. A place I have never photographed before, but I thought would be a great place to go to this evening since the sun would set an hour later.

No wind, no one else on the beach. Just me and my camera.

I stayed there for 90 minutes. And of course, I ended up with a lot of pictures of the same subject. Some of them you can see here, and it shows that you can capture a subject from multiple angles. All the images are taken with wine angle (using a Sigma 8-16mm and Canon 7D).

Here are the results:

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Categories: Norway, Troms | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Headed for the mountains in my PJs

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I just had a small errand to run. So I kept my pajamas pants on. I parked my car but my eyes wandered towards the mountains in the southwest before I move my head to the northwest. Three seconds later I left the parking lot.

At 9pm Friday night, about ten minutes later, I drove through Finnvikdalen while the fogFullSizeRender-16 surrounded the car. I only had about 30 meters of visibility. I drove by a parking lot with four cars but kept on driving to the next one. It was empty.

I guess no one would care if I had used my pajamas pants but I took them off since I had some hiking clothes and shoes in the car. Its always a good idea to have some hiking gear in the car at all times because you never know when you will need them.

After a fast walk for about 20 minutes I reached my first goal. I was above the fog. And it only took me ten more minutes to get to the top of Sørtinden. I’ve lived in Tromsø for 13 years, but it was the first time I was on the summit of Sørtinden. The truth is that I had no clue what the top was called before the next day. Thank you google 🙂

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It was a very short hike since Sørtinden is only 471 meters above sea level. But who cares how long the hike is or how tall the mountain is. To be almost alone on a mountain late at night during the summer in Northern Norway is an amazing experience no matter what.

NB: Always keep your camera and some hiking gear in your car at all time. You never know when you need use it. And most important, be more impulsive.

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Categories: Norway, Troms | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Left stranded on the top of a mountain

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Fear is a strong opponent. And can be downright cruel to you. Sometimes fear takes control over your brain. Feeds it with the wrong thoughts. A power that can be impossible to beat there and then.

The fear got to me and kicked me so hard. I just wanted to lie down in a fetal position and forget that a world existed around me.

But how did get there?

20 minutes earlier, at 10pm, I stood three meters away from the mountain top Skamtind. A mountain furthest west of Ersfjordtraversen at Kvaløya in Tromsø. My body frooze and refused to move one more step towards the top. My brain completely agreed.

Fear of heights, which I was sure had left me for good after several trips on some tough mountains, was suddenly back as a fast as lightning strike. I looked at the last few meters to the top, on the slippery rock on one side and the several hundred meter drop to ocean on the opposite side. I turned around.

Walked two steps. But for some reason  I changed my mind just as quickly.

– Where should I go, I asked two French men who sat just below.

– Go left towards the edge and then to the right, and you will be on top, I got in response.

And just one minute later, I stood on the very spacious top, 884 meters above sea level and the farm Skamtind.

What a view. What a beautiful evening.

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But it was impossible to enjoy it. And I don’t remember much from the time at the top. Perhaps not surprising, because the only thing that my brain could focus on was the fact that I had to go down the same way. Everyone knows that it is worse to go down than up.

I tried. Same way as I came up. Gave up. Tried again. Gave up.

Tried a different way. Gave up. Back to where I came up. Gave up.

Distress. Despair. Anger.

What can I do now? Alone at the top. On a mountain I had never been to before. And where my fear of heights had taken control over my body and brain.

Common sense was suddenly completely gone …

Wait. Did I hear the voices of the French? I was sure one of them had climbing shoes on. He can help me.

– Hello?

– Hall0?, I repeated much higher.

Then came the answer. Further down the mountain. They turned around and help arrived.

– Just come down here. Put the right leg here and hold the left hand here. I’ll support you.

I tried. But my fear didn’t want me to win. It didn’t matter if I had help from a French climber. The fear was too strong.

I felt so incredibly stupid and foolish. Why didn’t I go back down when I turned around just before the top? I said to my tour mates just one hour earlier – who didn’t go all the way to the top – that it didn’t matter if I didn’t make it.

– We’ll try again. I’ll show you, said the Frenchman.

Then I placed the right leg in the same place as before and both hands in crevices at the rock surface. And I let the left leg move slowly down the rock face.

– Only five more centimetres. I protect you.

The only thing on my mind right there and then was that if I fell backwards, I’ll take him with me in the fall. And we would die.

There. Finally I had solid ground under my left foot.

I was rescued. A huge relief filled my entire body.

One thing is certain, to have respect for the mountain is important. Next time my body and brain says no, I’m going to listen. It is more important to feel safe than standing on top if you ask me.

I have no problem supporting all those who choose to turn around just before the top of Skamtind.

The fear of heights should be taken seriously. And I assume you understand why I do not have any pictures of the area that got me into trouble. It was never on my mind to take any pictures.

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The guy, second to left, was the one who helped me get down from the top. The difficult area is to the right of the girl who is on the way down. You can’t see it in this picture. 

Several sites on the web says that there is some scrambling on the top. Maybe a lot of hikers find it not to scary, but I felt doomed. Devoured by fear.

I admit it: Skamtind – you’re too tough for me …

This was the first time I visited you, but it will also be the last time.

At least the rest of the evening was magical. Northern Norway is so beautiful in the middle of summer when the midnight sun never sets.

PS! You should not say no to hike Skamtind based on my story. If you like to hike in the mountains, and like spectacular views, try Skamtind. Do you not have fear of heights, then you would love the view from the top.

Some more pictures:

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Categories: Norway, Troms | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two mountains in one day

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Reine, Lofoten

Facebook – a place you love and hate. Norwegians love to hike in the mountains. And post their pictures so they can brag about it.

Others who do not like to hike as much, often express that they are sick and tired of seeing their friends pose at the top of mountains.

But in the end, a friend came with an argument that beats all others regardless:

– Who cares? I believe more people hike now than before because Facebook give them a chance to show their friends what they can do.

Its so true! If Facebook and other social media gets people who do not like to hike in the mountains to hike, and others to do it more often, then it is wonderful. Then the rest should be able to handle the pictures. Normally they are not too bad to look at either…

I feel the same way. It is a really good motivation to be able to take pictures. Several times it has made me continue to the top when I rather wanted to give up.

But to pose with a grin – that will never happen…

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A small grin on my face…

Well, I got a small grin on after hiking Reinebringen. But who can blame me with the view I got on the top…

And its time to brag. I was out of shape, but still planned to hike two mountains in one day. At least it was my goal. One in the morning and one in the evening. I had to do it this way since I had to get on the ferry to Bodø from Moskenes the next day.

I was in Lofoten. Insanely beautiful Lofoten. No matter how you try to describe this landscape, there is no way to put into words. You just have to see it for yourself.

If you ask me to recommended one place in Norway to visit, then I would choose Lofoten 100 of 100 times. Absolutely nothing in our beautiful country can match Lofoten.

And that comes from someone who grew up with Sunnmørsalpene and Hjørundfjorden as their nearest neighbor.

After a bad night’s sleep in the car near Svolvær, I brushed my teeth and drove for an hour.

First stop was Haukland Beach. At the foot of the mountains Mannen and Veggen. It’s always a little extra special to start a hike at sea level. I began to walk uphill at a very comfortable pace, for I had, after all, two hikes that day ahead of me. I looked anxious at the mountain top several times on the way up because the fog covered the top.

– Go away. Find someone else to bother, I said aloud to myself.

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When I was 50 meters from the top the fog suddenly disappeared. What a view… My jaw dropped. I pulled myself together, and walked the last few meters to the top.

I was on top of my first mountain, Mannen. Well, its called a mountain. But it is no more than 400 meters above sea level.

But who cares about that when you get this view:

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Haukland Beach

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After a lot of photographs, I hiked down again. It was time to clean myself up a little bit at Haukland beach.

A smart thing to do, since I was going to to meet some friends for lunch in idyllic Nusfjord, before going further south towards Reine.

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Nusfjord

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The clock was 6pm when I startet to hike the next mountain. There was a warning sign at the bottom, which told you to not do the hike on days when the ground was wet. Obviously it was wet and slippery, but it didn’t stop a great conqueror of towering peaks… 😉

Up to the tree line the hike was a walk in the park. But then it got steep. Insanely steep. And I needed to stop. Many times.

But I made it to the top in the end.

The mountain Reinebringen is no higher than 442 meters above sea level. But it felt like it was 2000 meters above sea level since it was so steep in the second half of the hike.

And you got to be careful at the top. Because if you misstep and fall down towards Reine, you will end up in Reine.

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So how should I describe this view? I let you enjoy it instead.

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I made to the top of both mountains in two different locations. Many people would probably not even call them real mountain tops since you don’t get high above sea level, but who cares…

One thing is for sure, you do not need to be 2.000 or 5.000 meters above sea level to really enjoy a hike in the mountains.

If there is one place in Norway you have to put on your “Bucket List”, then it Lofoten. This is a true paradise if you love to spend time in nature.

GO, GO, GO!!!

Categories: Nordland, Norway, Ukategorisert | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Snowstorm in May…

The forecast said it would snow. And it snowed. Too much if you asked me. But sometimes its ok to have some luck…

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There were some patches of blue sky over Tromsø. It was 17th of May, Norwegian Independence Day, but I didn’t feel like celebrating. I was alone, and I wanted to stay away from the crowds.

So I decided to hike a mountain. My plan was to go to Smørstabben and Bruna. On the route to Kvaløya I look upon the sky over the mountains and it didn’t look promising.

But I have lived above the Arctic Circle for 13 years now and knew that the weather could turn fast to the better… or worse…

I had only hiked for about 20 minutes before it started to snow. But it wasn’t too bad.

But it got worse – way worse. Suddenly it snowed like crazy. In the middle of May…

The visibility was less than 30 meters and I had to find shelter behind a huge rock.

But first I just had to bulit a tiny snowman.

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Just 15 minutes later the weather cleared a little bit and I hiked out to the edge where I could look down at the small village of Grøtfjord. But the view was not good at all. After 20 minutes I just gave up and walk back to my snowman. And I was thinking about giving up.

But I gave it ten more minutes.

Suddenly there were less snow. I could see Grøtfjord. I ran towards the edge because the sun was shining over the little village.

I made it, and it looked like this for about two minutes:

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It started to snow again while I was headed down from the mountain, but I could only smile even if I was cold and wet.

I got lucky. I got more luck than I could ever dream of with weather like this.

My independence day was perfect. Alone. On a mountain. So beautiful. So wild. So upredictable.

Happy birthday, Norway 🙂

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Categories: Norway, Troms, Ukategorisert | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Go down memory lane

The swim hole is located in stunning surroundings.

The swim hole is located in stunning surroundings.

Sit down for a moment. Close your eyes. Go back to your childhood. If you go down memory lane you could rediscover a place of joy and happiness. To places where you haven’t been in 20 or 30 years. A lot of things have probably changed since you were a kid, but maybe the place and the journey to reach it could be a blast from the past. And of course it is a possiblitiy that you would have a totally different experience this time around.

We were enjoying the sun on the porch at the house which was my home from I was three years old to I moved out when I was 23. My village, Vartdal, has about 600 inhabitants. Its a perfect starting point for a lot of amazing and unique hikes in the Sunnmørsalpene, pretty much right on the door step of my parents house.

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It was 30 degrees celsius outside and I didn’t want to climb or hike a mountain. I wanted to go to a beach. One minor problem, it was 20 years ago since the last time I had been swimming in the ocean in this area and I had no idea where to go. By now, the places I used to go to probably didn’t excist anymore.

But then it hit me. A place where we went to over and over again as kids. In the end of the valley, and a few houndred meters up the mountain side. Six kilometers from our house was a place called Gopetjønna.

As kids we took our bikes there. But I knew it only would take 15 minutes by car. And a few minutes later I parked the car with cows as curious bystanders. Only ten more minutes by foot through a dense forrest and we would be there. We got to a small clearance and suddenly I was back after 25 years. I remembered it was fem meter in radius, but it was twice as big.

So beautiful. A place surrounded big peace and serentity. There was no body else. Just perfect.

It wasn’t so strange that we were all alone. To find this place you need local knowledge. Its a true hidden gem. If you follow the path straight up the mountain side you would walk a few meters by it without having any clue what you just passed.

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The water hardly moved at all down the mountain side. The snow was gone serveral weeks ago and there had not been any rain for weeks. So the river was no longer a river, just a little bit of water moved than the mountain side.

But it didn’t matter because there was a small pond just above Gopetjønna. And the water was so warm and nice. No surprise since it was only 30 centimeter deep.

Just a few meters further down it seem like Gopetjønna called out to me. Jump in, its been to long…

But the temperature was different story there. Of course I wanted to dive into the crystalclear water, but I was older and wiser. And my body does not like it when its cold. At the same time I knew there was no way I could leave without taking a swim in one of my favorite places from my childhood.

My friend said we had to leave in fem minutes. I had dreaded it too long. I walked to the edge and after one look at my friend, I dived in.

Wow, it was so nice and warm. NOT!

It was cold. It felt – believe it or – like it was 20 degrees difference between the little pond and Gopetjønna.

I know I can be a sissy. But for each year cold water just seems to get colder 🙂

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The memories came back as I was swimming. From a lovely and safe childhood without worries. Hours and hours with playtime in this lovely pond in beautiful surroundings.

A hidden gem.

And my friend fell head over heals in love with the place. She wanted to take off just a few minutes earlier, but now I almost had to force her to leave.

We found great happiness right there in my old backyard.

Not hard to understand.

We were back two weeks later. Even if I knew that the rain would hit us at any time. But we got 20 wonderful minutes before the the sky let its anger downpour on us. At least I got a few more minutes in paradise.

Sometimes thats more than enough.

One thing is for sure, after I rediscovered Gopetjønna, there is nothing holding me back when I visit Vartdal in summer time in the future. Nothing can hold me back from being a kid again.

Go back in time. To your childhood and do what you loved to do back then. To places where happiness was the only thing that excisted. And it will give you a inner peace, far away from a stressful life.

It can turn out to be one of the best choices you have done in a long time 🙂

 

 

Godt og varmt :)

A small pond with really warm water. Life is good!

Categories: Møre og Romsdal, Norway | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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