We exited the tunnel today and headed to the base of the glacier where we will stay in a cabin while the ice oozes into the cavity. Ben and Pete will return to the tunnel to administer the pump tests while I will head back before then. The trip down the glacier was scenic and slow... I had too much in my pack but managed on wobbly knees. It is a remarkable feeling to get out of the tunnel, you suddenly are filled with the sights and sounds of living things. The glacier brings life to the valley below, from the flowers and the grass to the eagles above. The scenery is stunning. As we descend Ben and Pete tell me about the geology of the region, including the Boodinage or sausage link formations made of a band of quartz embedded in the schist. Ben finds a very interesting double recumbent fold in the fractured bed rock that once was covered by the Svartisen glacier. All around you see evidence of the glacier, the smooth boulders where it slid across, the deep gullies that likely hid a deep crevace, the wide moraine and of course the blue fractured tongue of what remains of the glacier. After a short two hour hike we reach the base and are surrounded by fields with sheep, seagulls, and other wildlife, there is moose poop everywhere. At the cabin I meet with Victor Jara a researcher from Kansas State who is preparing his instruments for a radar survey of the glacier. Later I settle in and go for a bike ride near the fjord. I have limited bandwidth here and will post pictures later....it is a paradise of scenic life and comfort.
It is morning and the shadows are strong on this side of the Ice Cap. I have emerged from 24 hours of darkness into 24 hours of light here on the Arctic circle. It is a short walk down some very steep rocks to the valley below. I am pretty happy to see the daylight for good!
It is a rare beautiful day again in Norway, no rain or clouds, a perfect day for hiking.
The glacier tongue once extended all the way out across the moraine you see in the last picture, now it has receded far up the hill. You can see the tongue out in the distance.
The glacier extends quite a bit further up the hill but you can't see it from this angle. I will have to wait until I hike the bottom of the glacier to see it all.
The folded terrain requires ropes along the steep cracks and it makes it a lot easier to come back up the hill when the ice makes the rocks slick!
Pete, Hallgeir and Ben waiting for me to catch up, I pretty much slid down the hill on my butt with a lopsided backpack, but it was fun!
These patterns are made of a band of quartz embedded in the schist.
Ben points out an interesting double fold, I am not clear on exactly how this formation is made.
It is a nice walk on the valley floor, finally a place where the ground is level! There are many sheep and animals hidden in the hills here and there is plenty of snow melt cascading from the mountains.
Yep, no better science word to describe it, just moose poop. It is nice to see life after living in a tunnel.
This area is a National Park, so there are tourist signs everywhere, we are heading to cabins located in the park.
A bit further down the road we come across a helicopter that has been chartered to take a researcher across the glacier and map it using radar.
Victor Jara has built a unique radar system and plans to test it here at Svartisen to see if he can map the bedrock and other features in high detail. Here Victor is reviewing flight details, he himself is a former pilot.
We catch up with Luke and Knut at the cabin and just enjoy the fresh air and comfortable living.
A really nice place to just kick back and enjoy the scenery. There are birds everywhere, something I have not heard from for a very long time.
The water from the melting glacier picks up at this time of year. Remember that much of the water is diverted to the power station from beneath the glacier, so this is just some of the water that makes it down to the fjord.
I am nearly on the Arctic circle, so there is almost total sunlight at all hours, it does get a bit dark at 2 in the morning, but not really very dark at all. Here I enjoy a late bike ride. There are many bikes for rent in this tourist area.
There is not a whole lot of places to ride a bike, you are stuck between the glacier, or by the fjord.
There is a small wooden troll carved out on the left side of the cabin, there are three bedrooms inside and a kitchen! Total luxury, no teacher can afford this kind of treatment! I am heartbroken to read that all my colleagues at home are losing their jobs while I am out here enjoying life.
Ben made a pretty cool cribbage board with different types of rocks as markers. Victor takes his first crack at the game and is a champ. The cabin is so big there is room to find your own place to read.