Monday, 2 August 2010

Captions for Harald's Pictures

Morning in Rondane National Park, Norway

I had taken the Friday off work to drive down South to see a band that I know from Bradford. They were playing that same night and on Saturday I was to return northbound. The drive takes about six hours and goes through some of Norway’s most pristine inland mountain terrain. So it would be a waste not utilizing the opportunity!

On my way home I drove into the Rondane Mountains and pitched my tent. The next day I was aiming for a peak I had ascended 14 years earlier on my first high-mountain trek ever. It would take me from summer to winter to summer again in one day. The peak is some two thousand metres high (above sea level) and the climates in the valley and at the peak are on some days totally different.

This picture is what I saw when I crawled out of my tent that morning. Breakfast was spent staring right into the scenery while trying to wake up. By early afternoon I’d be up to my knees in newly fallen snow.

Snowy mountains in Jotunheimen National Park, Norway

We had just demounted our camp, had breakfast and were enjoying the early morning sun. A day earlier we had left our friends in the main camp. They were eating cake and playing party games till late, every night! -And since we had now parted from them we woke up surprisingly early.

We had the valley to ourselves this morning. Very few people come in here in the winter cause the avalanche danger is not usually rated, so you have to do the job yourself. We didn’t mind though and got a lot of valuable information from some local guides at a cabin.

The weather had changed overnight indeed! From the fury of snow and wind last night this is what we saw when we woke up. Twelve hours earlier we couldn’t see the mountains and had to trust the map for our location. As it turned out, we had gotten our location on the map down to almost the metre and had nailed the best possible spot in the valley to avoid any potential avalanche.

We had only been skiing for a few hundred metres when I pulled out my camera the first time and nailed some of my most loved winter pictures to date. The day was about to become totally awesome and ahead of us were many hours of skiing and crossing of frozen lakes. Before nightfall we had to locate our friends’ new camp in a nearby valley to re-join them.

Lake in Northern Norway

It’s one of my favourite lakes in the whole world. It’s tiny and no one thinks there are any fish in it because they think it freezes to the bottom in the winter. But it doesn’t. There is no inlet and just a tiny outlet so the fish can’t get up there from other lakes. So only a few know that there is fish in the lake. My grandfather and his friend carried fish up here in milk-tanks filled with water in the 70’s. It must have been heavy! But I’m reaping the harvest of that now, long after the chaps are gone.

It’s not a place where you’d catch any big fish. The lake is pretty much just what you see on the picture. But on the other hand it’s located on top of a mountain ridge with view to the sea on almost all sides. The sea you can see is many miles away and about 6-700 metres lower in altitude than where the photo was taken.

The year before I had been up at the lake and had forgotten my camera. It was one of the nicest days I’ve had here. I left with a load of pictures in my head, and was really keen on coming back to shoot some new frames. I also think I realized (again) that some things just can’t be caught on film. (For the visit a year earlier, see blog post:

Cabin in the middle of the mountains, Jotunheimen National Park, Norway

My friend and I had come skiing down from a side-valley. In the summer there is a big lake in the bottom of the main valley, but when it freezes in the winter it becomes the foundation for the ski-trail through the area.

When had skied across the first stretch of lake we found an island sticking up of the ice. We built a wall of snow and sat down to make lunch. It was Easter and the weather was great. With all the reflective surfaces of snow and the mid-day sun you can sometimes get summer temperatures in the middle of the mountains in the late winter. And this day it was like that. We took our time at the island: eating, sun-tanning and doing very little. I wrote a letter to grandma who had supplied me with brand new homemade wool-socks before the trip. They were now keeping my feet warm and comfy.

At the end of the first lake we found this cabin in the middle of nowhere. The night before the weather had been quite wild, but now we could see clouds and fog breaking up on all horizons. You’ll get to know most sorts of weather out here, but these are the days you replay in your head time and time again.

Bodø Harbour, Norway

The northern city of Bodø has for centuries been a main link between the sea and trade; fishing and shipping. The old way of fishing and the old way of life has changed, but it has left us a city in a great location between the sea and the mountains.

Where there would earlier be a multitude of small fishing vessels there is now a myriad of small recreational vessels. And in the summer the sun never sets.

Lake in Rondane National Park, Norway

I started off three days earlier. 25-30 kgs in my backpack, enough supplies for a week and the mountains all to myself. Well, almost anyway. The first day I spent 10 hours walking. But after some years living on East Coast Beach in Singapore that wore me out more than it once used to. The same night it started raining and the next day was wet, windy and cold. I arrived at a Norwegian Trekking Association cabin the second night and scrapped every plan of a night in a wet tent. A soft bed and a warm and dry cabin sounded way too tempting!

The next morning I decided to join a boat-shuttle that goes across the nearby lake and takes you further into the mountains. We were two passengers. The lake is long and the scenery is epic. This picture is the view you get through the window from besides the rudder.

We alighted on a floating jetty. The other passenger said goodbye and walked on but I stayed. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and hungry as an animal! Food was quickly prepared and for cold drinks you can just stretch out your hand and fill your cup from the crystal clear lake. I lay down on the jetty for a while feeling how the waves made it move around. There would be no one else there until the shuttle comes back to do the 5 pm pickup.

Winter in Trondheim, Norway

I woke up late that morning. I was just home for a short while from the UK to celebrate my father’s birthday. I walked up to the window and saw the sea-fog on the fjord behind the city. I simply love sea-fog and had to go and get my camera.

It’s February, the sun is low and the shadows are long even by midday. The sun never goes high up in the sky at this time of year and the colours are different from the rest of the year. It’s also nice and cold, but that’s just a good excuse for lighting up in the fire-place.

Panorama of Trondheim city, Norway

A couple of friends and I went up to a ridge in the woods one night. It was mid-summer and we’ve almost got midnight sun (if we were a little bit further North.)

A few years earlier my friends and I had been building a local team together for the youth branch of the Norwegian Trekking Association. We were really close friends and had spent lots of time together in the mountains, as guides and at the office as volunteers. But recent years had spread us across the globe.

It was a great night of catching up while seeing the sun go down over the city.

The Leiv Eriksson Centre, Trondheim, Norway

I had a short appointment quite early in the morning and was about to drive home when I called a friend of mine. She was about to go to work and I drove by her place to pick her up. I dropped her off at her work and parked the car somewhere near by. For some reason I had a camera in the car and ended up taking lots of pictures of the sea.

When I turned around I could see the sun rising above the office building. I like how the light make the buildings look almost Bauhaus-like, although they don’t really strike you as that when you see them in normal light.

The Leiv Eriksson Centre is named after a famous Norwegian Viking-age explorer who discovered America around 450 years before Columbus, but colonized nothing. The building-complex is dedicated to business growth and new business ventures. Hence it is a fitting name for explorer-souls who are to conquer new marked-territories.

Church Street Røros, Norway

It was a year since I left Norway for Singapore, and this summer I had been assigned to guide a three-day canoe trip. We had paddled down from a huge lake quite close to the Swedish border, and travelled down rivers and “timber-runs”

On the third day we paddled into the old mining-town of Røros. Røros is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and is a real one-of-a-kind city. Before taking the train back we were lucky to get to spend most of the evening here. The Church you can see the tower of was built in 1784.

(All of Harald’s pictures comes with printed and signed captions.)

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