No sun screen today! We elected to do the “high route” after much discussion with hikers. There is a very steep section where metal wires are put on both sides to aid in the descent. But I wasn’t scared, even though many places were reminiscent of the Himalayas—narrow trails next to crevasses, where a misstep could have been disastrous. One beautiful stretch was next to a river, where the path was so cramped that at times you had to duck under huge black rocky overhangs. Then the wind came up. It was ferocious…blowing straight down the river and nearly toppling us. I literally ran, trying to beat the rain and glad for my pack as ballast. My pants billowed and I was bent forward. The wind made waves on the wide river. Waterfalls were streaming down from the mountains at every turn. It was amazing!
By the time we’d passed five more summer bridges, one of which was at the bottom of a six-tired waterfall, it was raining steadily. The force of tons of water crashing from hundreds of feet above gave off a spray reminiscent of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I was entranced, but the weather prodded me on. We had to watch our feet at all times, but would have loved to spend more time gaping at the rock walls and the spectacular views.
The last two hours were interesting, since we passed several very old farms and one goat farm, Sinjarheim, which had not been opened all year because of a disease among the goats.
As we climbed lower there were meadows of flowers, birches, and ferns. We finished the 15 miles trek by 5 PM and reached a dirt road lined with ripe raspberries. But there was little time to pick them if we were to catch the bus to our next stop, Flam.
Before leaving Vossbygdi we talked with the man who runs the small kiosk (barn-red like most of the houses) at the tiny bus station. He told us that 12,000 people go over the mountains and through the valley each summer. I kidded him for not having soft ice cream and he said that the government regulations for cleanliness and inspection make it too difficult, because the season is so short. Just as we were leaving we got into politics, as usual. His parting words to us were, “How on earth did Bush win again?” The word gets around.
What a wonderful, jolly ride we had to Flam. The bus driver gave us a special rate, the bus was luxurious as they all seem to be in Norway, and the scenery was glorious. We found a hotel, The Heimly Pensjonat, just as dusk was settling in. Flam is on a branch of the main fjord, (the Sognefjord), named the Aurland. Our room had a balcony that looked out at the fjord and the mountains beyond, which formed a V-shaped notch. Large boats were dotting the harbor and we watched as they laboriously turned around and sailed off into the mist. How great to sleep in a bed with real sheets and take a shower in a bathroom with a warmed floor. And have breakfast included in the price!