Thursday, 15 April 2010

Followed by the rain, but following the ice

Well, nature is so beautiful, it needs to be cleaned up every now and then…
Apparently this is just what's happening, rain pouring down on the ship and the harbour of Olden as we make port in the morning. This doesn't keep a large group of school kids (among them three of Expedition leader Karin's nieces) to enter FRAM with outbursts of laughter and joy, paying a visit. Also in spite of the weather, a pretty big group of brave ones gets ready for the longest hike of this voyage, the walk to the Briksdals Glacier. The group is even bigger than expected, because the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland has made most of the European airspace inaccessible, so the helicopter excursion cannot take place. What an interesting relation between volcanism and tourism!

The light of the day is changing rapidly giving the lake of the Oldedalen a emerald green colour that is so intense as if lit from underneath. Beautiful!
After a 20 minutes ride we set off for the hike into the Briksdal Valley, that climbs rather steep in the beginning but levels off a good twenty minutes later. Everybody can go at his own pace, so no one feels pushed towards a heart condition.  The weather seems to favour the brave, so the rain ceases and even a few glimpses of sun are to be seen. As we get higher, the valley widens and after a while we reach the hanging glacier of Briksdal. White and shiny, with cracks and joints of deep blue, the Briksdalsbreen beams in the afternoon light, the lake at the valleys foot covered with the most delicate ice crystals. Nobody raises his voice, we all listen to the nature around us, breathe the cold air and marvel at the scenery.
Later on, cheeks red, big smiles in the faces, we have coffee and cake outside the valley before we head back to FRAM. Now, that was really something!