Archive for August, 2008

Nordtinden (640 m)

Last Sunday was a stunning day, and we decided to climb Nordtinden (640 m – half a “beast” ). We drove to Kvaløyvågen, to the north of Tromsø and started following a dirt road (leading to Skulsfjorden) from there. Halfway we turned right and up the mountain. There wasn’t really a path, though we kept finding bits of a path every now and then. This is the first part – me trying to read the map and Paul walking up…

The higher we got, the better the views got (do I get bonus points for the logic?), and we also found this nice seat to enjoy the view from!

After a few hours we reached the top! The second photo shows Paul with the logbook that can be found in the cairn. To me this is so Norwegian… they like signing logbooks everywhere! Not only at the top of a mountain, sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find one full of long stories written by hikers/skiers. This one was started in 1987!!

It lives in a beautifully decorated metal box, which fits into a slot in the cairn…

The views from the top were stunning, as you can see the open ocean and a lot of islands and fjords. We were so lucky with the weather too!

We decided it was boring to go back the same way we came… but the route we chose instead does not deserve the name “unmarked path” (as was indicated on our map) at all!! It was quite a steep slope full of mossy (slippery!) rocks where you often needed your hands to safely climb down. Quite hard work! We kept looking longingly at the flat bit at the bottom… only to find it was a swamp…

I did find out that swamps are actually quite comfy to walk through, as long as you don’t sink in too deep (and you don’t care about muddy boots). It was getting dark and the sunset was pretty:

The last part of our route took us through a forest, but the floor was covered with big rocks overgrown with moss. You never knew when you would step into another hole between the rocks. It was pretty but tough going so we were very relieved when we finally hit the tractor road which led us back to the car.

The weather is still very nice, but unfortunately we are busy packing boxes, finding furniture and moving house. Almost everything is in boxes at the moment, and tonight we’re going to move everything to our new flat. I don’t think we’ll have internet there for a while, so I thought I’d upload this blog while I still can! I’m back in England from Saturday, but it might take a while before this blog is updated again. Paul will be at sea for 3 weeks and does not have an internet connection, so there’ll be no news from him either. Hopefully he’ll be able to share some pictures when he gets back :)

Colours

I took my parents to the botanical garden in Tromsø last Monday. We were lucky, it was a very sunny day! The garden is beautiful, and very large. So many plants and flowers from all corners of the world. We spent several hours there and took many photos of all the colourful flowers…

The little house in the photo above is a small cafe which also serves waffles – yummy!!! A very nice end to our visit. We walked back over the “ski” trails on top of Tromsø island. It’s only August, but the signs of autumn are already there – mushrooms and blueberries.

We spent the next day in the centre of Tromsø. There was a market on the main square and we just wandered around and visited lots of shops. These two photos are taken from the main square…

My mum had to visit this wool-shop of course! :-)

Suddenly we were surrounded by police cars and ambulances – the hot dog seller in the square had been stabbed! We were very close by and saw the stabber being arrested and the victim being picked up by an ambulance. Luckily, we later read in the papers that he survived and was already home the next day. Apparently they had some argument about selling mobile phone sim cards -the other guy also runs a similar kiosk in the city centre! It was quite a bizarre experience, especially in a town like Tromsø where normally not much happens. In the photo below you can see “exhibit nr 4” – a ketchup bottle…

My parents stayed another day, and then took the Hurtigruten south on Wednesday night (taking their camper van onboard). They are arriving in Bergen tomorrow, from where they will drive back to the Netherlands. Must be quite a nice trip, if they manage to ignore the many crazy cruise-ship passengers, hehe.

Time is flying, I only have one week left here before coming back to Norwich. We’re moving house in a few days. We’re not really looking forward to it, as we’re really going to miss our current flat and its view! We won’t have much time to get used to our new place, as Paul flies to Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) on Friday to join another research cruise for 3 weeks, and I’m flying back to London on Saturday morning. We’re planning to go for a nice walk tomorrow, I hope I can find some time to post some more photos!

Some photos

We haven’t been on any adventures lately – unfortunately the weather hasn’t been very good. Here are some random photos, mostly taken today. My parents are visiting, so we’ve been going around Tromsø…

A Himalayan poppy (with Paul in the background) and the Hurtigruten ship “Trollfjord” – it had just cleared up after a rainy morning (this was last week) and the reflections in the puddles were very nice.

Below a photo of the docks in Tromsø. The camera was accidently set to black and white, but I’m quite happy with the result! The other photo is taken by Paul while we visited the Nord Norsk Kunst Museum – a free art museum in the city center. They have very cool white screens in front of the windows that work well as a background for photos ;)

After lots of rain, the skies suddenly cleared this evening. I went for a walk with Paul and my dad. We took the “lysløpe” track, last time we were there, we were on skis! My dad found a pair of walking poles that he’s getting quite attached to…

The views were beautiful! The days of the midnight sun are behind us now, the days are quickly getting shorter. A pity, but it does mean that sunsets are back!

We walked as far as this very red church. The other photo was taken when we got back to the flat, and we saw the moon rising from behind Tromsdalstinden – beautiful!

Tromsdalstinden (1238 m)

Last Sunday was a stunning day and we decided to finally conquer Tromsdalstinden (aka the Beast), the mountain we can see from our flat (see here for the winter view). It’s 1238 m high, the climb is not very technical but quite long.

The first part goes through the valley, and climbs up through a pretty forest. You come out on a plateau where there are still some patches of snow:

The start of the steep bit! Quite tiring but doable. Sometimes we had to climb over fields of rocks, like you can see behind Paul, but a lot of the rocks are flat on the top so it was quite easy!

After that comes the ridge, it’s fine on one side but on the other side there’s quite big drops! I didn’t want to come to close to the edge ;) On the right is the view from the top. We reached it after about 4.5 hours, we were a bit slow, mostly because of me hehe.

There were quite a lot of people relaxing on the top. There is a big cairn and you can sign a logbook. We met some nice people up there. The views are really amazing! It’s the highest mountain in the area so you can see very far in all directions. Very impressive! Paul brought his new binoculars, it was fun to use them up there. We were able to see our flat and lots of other places. We also saw a lemming!! That was really cool (though it didn’t have green hair haha), the other day we also saw an otter so we’ve been lucky with wildlife lately.

We went back the other way, which was supposed to be longer but less steep. I don’t really believe that claim though, it was still really steep and only slightly longer. The going was very tough as it was mostly one huge field of rocks and climbing down on them was a lot harder than going up. I often needed my hands. The views were still really good though, this is towards Ramsfjorden…

Before reaching the saddle, the path turns towards the valley with a steep climb down to the hanging valley below the mountain. It’s really pretty there, very green with many waterfalls and strange rock formations…

My muscles were getting really sore though and I was getting tired. The last bit was a bit of a nightmare for me as I was in a lot of pain by the end, and it was still a long way through the valley before reaching the car. We finally made it back at about 23:30, after over 11 hours of hiking! I now finally understand how coming down a mountain can be a lot harder than getting up… I was completely exhausted and now (3 days later) my muscles are still sore. According to Paul, I walk “like a cat with smartie tubes on his legs”… thanks!!

We took the gps with us and have been playing with the results, see below for our track on the map (it doesn’t match perfectly in all places but that’s mostly our lack of skills with importing gps tracks on maps!) Click to enlarge…

And here’s a profile of the mountain against distance. According to the gps we hiked 13 km so I am not sure why it says 20 km on this profile, but still a cool plot!

It feels good looking at the mountain now knowing we have been up there! We plan to do some more mountain climbing if the weather stays good. But first I need to recover from this one ;)

Everything is going well here, we’ve had very sunny weather. We’ve also found a new flat! It’s very different from the one we have now – it’s a loft flat in an old wooden house very close to the city centre. It still has quite a good view :) and a tiny balcony in the bedroom. We’re going there this evening to sign the contract. We’re not quite sure when we can move in yet, but we’re very happy to have found something! It wasn’t easy, as there were many people looking for flats at this time a year (students etc). Sometimes we called for an add that was only 2-3 hours old and it was already gone!

More news soon :)