Mountain Farms Mantled in Mist

Mist did not make itself scarce on our Norwegian vacation in the August of 2016. Our plan to hike Trolltunga – and jump at the end of the troll’s tongue while aiming not to fall off it while doing so  – was interrupted by adverse weather. For as you know, it is not a good idea to set out on a hike in slippery conditions when you would in all probability need to be hoiked midway through the hike. Airlifts have indeed taken place a few times in Trolltunga. Let me assure you that the authorities do not shower you with kind looks and cupcakes when that happens. Expect thin-lipped looks, heavy with disapproval, at you being an utter git.

I am a git at the best of times. But I did have the experience of climbing boulders on the way to Pulpit Rock and that made me think twice. Despite all my hankering for Trolltunga, I did bow down to the wayward weather deities. There is no fighting nature for she will have her say.

I made plans instead for us to hike up to a mountain farm high above one of the fjords, Simadalsfjord.

That crazy man, Woody Allen, remarks that “if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” I did not tell the weather gods about our plans but they have powers of prescience I am told. My plans were foiled again.

It was drizzling and it had rained heavily all through the day before. Double drama. Which meant that we had to abandon all thoughts of the steep climb to Kjeåsen Mountain Farm.

The other way up was to drive up a winding road that was constructed in the 1970s (maybe to allow people like me a route into this mountain farm which has been declared the most inaccessible one in the world?). No you hike-loving twat (reference to the self), it was built keeping in mind the need for hydroelectricity development. 

The road up a one-way tunnel runs for just 3-odd miles, but what it lacks for in length, it makes up in steepness. The tunnel comes across as dark as a subterranean passage because of the lack of lighting. How do they avoid kissing vehicle mishaps here? The authorities have put out strict timings. You can go up at slots that start dot on the hour (such as 9am, 10am, 11am…). The journey down can begin at 9.30am, 10.30am…You get the drill.

The latest time till which you can drive up is 5pm. There are a handful of people who still live up there on Kjeåsen.

We passed through Hardangerbru, the suspension bridge that spans the length of Eidfjorden (a branch of Hardangerfjorden), and stopped at the hamlet of Eidfjord for a coffee break, before we carried on up to Kjeåsen. It was a quiet community – all of 950 people share it between themselves.

Mountains towered above us, lush beacons of goodness, slender waterfalls tracing their paths down the steep slopes, as we wandered around Eidfjord and paused at the port where cruise ships stop before entering Norway’s largest national park, Hardangervidda, which is also the largest high mountain plateau in Europe. I shall take you into its open barrenness in the next post. I will throw in some trolls too to make it good.

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The drive to Eidfjord paved by mists hanging low over the fjords.
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Mist was constant in her affections through the day.
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She rolled in and out.
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In the hamlet of Eidfjord.
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Mesmerised by the mountains that loom over Eidfjord.
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Winding roads in Eidfjord lead to the old mountain farm.
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The sparse population of Eidfjord makes it a wonderful hideaway if you crave solitude.
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Eidfjord residents. Be sure to say hello to his bearded contemplative personality and spare some tobacco.
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The hamlet sits by a branch of the Hardangerfjorden.
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Views from Eidfjord of the surrounding mountains and tiny communities.
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On the drive to the area around Simadal Power Plant in the valley below the farm.
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Gushing falls
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The mountains around Sima Power Plant

When we reached the foot of the road near Sima Power Plant, we were part of a queue of cars that had lined up to start the one-way journey on the hour. The cars have to maintain German-sharp timelines. After a tortuous drive (which is still less crazier than the Scafell Pike drive in the Lake District of England), we were walking through wild fields.

Veils of mist hung above us. As we kept walking up, the mountain tops appeared to let off steam which made it a stomping field for the imagination. Ancient and all-imposing.

For 400 years, the farm has had inhabitants who eked out their existence from the rich soil and forests through hunting and fishing. The story goes that the farms, which stand in solitary glory at the top of the mountains, were built during a lengthy period spanning three decades. The hardy people who lived there had to carry planks of wood, stone and building materials up the slopes. Their children had to attend school in Simadal below in summer. They lived with their relatives in the valley during the winter months when the paths leading up and down the mountains became too risky for them to chart. I could almost feel the sorrow that would have filled their tiny hearts as they pined away for their folks and the spectacular place they called home.

High above the fjord, shivering in the cold, we walked past the farm and stared at the surrounding mountains which plunged into the fjord. The waters were not smoky blue or steely grey. They were on the brink of turning a deep bluish-green.

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Fjords, mountains, mists, waterfalls and lonely farms. We were caught in the clutches of time.

 

 

 

 

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69 thoughts on “Mountain Farms Mantled in Mist

  1. Incredibly beautiful images, Dippy!! They are so moody and cooling. I feel like putting my front head on the monitor to feel the fresh air and cool down as I follow in your steps. Aaaaah, wonderful, it works. It’S boling hot in the Rhine Valley 38,5°, phew.
    Hugs coming your way from all four of us.
    Tomorrow we’re in Norway too! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Aw I have heard that it is steamy hot…well you get to cool yourselves tomorrow in the wonderful Norwegian air then, tomorrow. Something to be said for having multiple homes. You can time your escapes 🙂 Hugs sent right back!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Non non, a library please! Even though there be a personal cubbyhole at home. It is my place of refuge for when I feel low. Seeing that others find their solace in books too 🙂 I cannot pass up on coffee shops. Something about them gets me going. Maybe all those desserts and the sight of others tucking into them along with me. Sinning together is better 😛 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      1. My daughter and son-in-law went on a backpacking trip in Europe. Flew into Norway then went south all the way the Athens, then went back north to Ireland and London? before flying home! So I hope to go to Norway. Can the northern light be seen in Norway?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yes it can. The best place to see it is Oslo or you go to the Lofoten Islands which is a dream destination for me. Someday maybe I shall make my way there. Your daughter and son-in-law had quite the adventure I am sure. The stories they must have had…xx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh yes, she lost her wallet and called me in the middle of the night our time. My phone was downstairs. She got a hold of Will’s mom. Then in one country, they missed the train, too late to find a hotel and slept in the train station! They had quite an adventure!

        Like

  2. Wow! Now this is one of those adventurous hikes I’d love to take! The very last picture is my favorite, that’s a beautiful shot! Mist sure did help making these photos come out so nice🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no, exactly the opposite! It looks so perfect!
        I can’t stand warm sunny places with no scenery. Norway looks like the kind of place I would never want to leave. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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