Immersed On The Glacier
I have always loved traveling. I went abroad for the first time at only eight weeks old and grew up traveling a lot with my family. So it has been frustrating to be stuck at home this past year. But luckily this summer we could travel freely within Norway. My family and I decided to try something completely new this summer. So we stayed in the village Stryn near the fjord and mountains. This is the perfect place to go when you want to try a glacier hike.
Up the winding road
We start the day by driving up the mountains. The road winds as we climb higher and higher. Around every corner is another breathtaking view. There are tall mountains, green valleys, and still blue lakes. Anywhere you look could be a postcard. How lucky are we to be going on this adventure on the most beautiful summer day?
Ski lift to the glacier
We pass 1000 meters of elevation before we reach our starting point: The Stryn summer ski center. It’s immediately evident that there won’t be much skiing this summer. There are just small patches of snow dotted on the hill. The ski center was only open one month this summer before the snow had already melted too much.
Our guides meet and greet us outside the center. They present the plan for the day and show us how to put on the safety gear. Then we go two and two in the ski lift up several more hundred meters. Finally, we walk a short distance to the edge of the ice. Crampons and helmet on. Now we are ready for a real adventure!
On the ice
Being on the ice is at first strange and a little scary. We are all tied together with rope, so if someone falls they will be secured by the rest of the team. But the sight of the blue ice like a big water slide below still makes me feel very small in comparison.
Our guide shows us a little ice cave, and we get a chance to step inside one by one. All nervousness that may have been lingering is replaced by a feeling of awe. It’s incredible to see all the shapes and formations the ice makes. You could almost believe this was some kind of man-made theme park. But instead, this was all made by the power of nature.
Last chance to see?
We cross a few deep crevasses on our walk across the ice. With guidance from our guide, we all make it across safe and sound – though my heart is beating a little faster! The crevasses are like big waves across the glacier. They are made when the ice moves, which it does a little bit all the time. So while our guide has been here before, he tells us that the ice never looks the same from year to year.
Though it is natural for the glacier to change, our guide points out that he has noticed the glacier getting smaller. Research shows that the world’s glaciers are melting faster than before. It’s hard to ignore the thoughts about climate change, especially on a sunny day like this. We are on top of a huge piece of ice over 1000 meters above sea level and we are still feeling hot and sweaty.
Nature and us
Before we go back downhill, we stop for a drink of water. Looking around us and the view in every direction is incredible. High above the valley and surrounded by ice, we feel like we are so far from the rest of the world. However, there are some things that spoil the illusion of being in untouched nature. Even up here we find bits of trash left by previous visitors, anything from a candy bar wrapper to a broken glass bottle. We pick up what we can to take with us back down. But it’s a sober reminder of how we humans can use and abuse nature.
Just as we’re about to leave the ice someone notices some movement on the other side of the ice. We all turn to look and realize that it’s a herd of wild reindeer. They are a rare sight, as there are not many left in Norway. Highly evolved to survive biting cold winters, the glacier is where reindeer come to cool down in the summer. We feel very lucky to have seen them. But the reindeer are also another reminder of what’s at stake for our planet and all of us who live here.
Immersed in the glacier
We return to the ski lift and ride it back down the hill. By this point it’s boiling hot and all we can think of is how we can cool down. The perfect opportunity is not far away. From the ski lift we can see all the water from the melting glacier pools down in the valley below. The water is bright blue from all the minerals the ice scrapes from the rocks and mountain. It looks so refreshing!
We say goodbye to our excellent guide and head straight to the nearest little lake. As our toes touch the water we all yelp – It’s so cold! But there’s no turning back now. We have been on the glacier, now let’s go in the glacier (at least its melted remains). “One… Two… Three!” We all scream and laugh as we plunge in and dunk our heads into the icy cold water.
Once we’re back on the shore and wrapped in our towels we feel rejuvenated. A feeling of gratefulness is also present – that we get to experience all this incredible nature. Hopefully we can save all this so future generations can enjoy it like us.