Sunday, 9 July 2017

Sunday 9 July - Storjord

Where’s Bertie? He's in a car park on a forest track not far away from the Nordland National Park Centre at Storjord (exact location: 66.81746, 15.39997)

Curiosity got the better of me this morning. I wanted to know what lay the other end of the 720m-long tunnel next to which we were parked, so through it I walked. Then I walked back again. Not a single car came whilst I was inside (as I hoped would be the case; it's a very quiet road), the tunnel was cold and mist-filled and there was nothing of great interest the other end.

Back at Bertie, Mick was dressed for a run. I let him get a minute or so down the road, then I drove off, which would have been alarming for Mick if I hadn't said that I would meet him in a few miles time, so as to give him the opportunity for a linear route.

Our rendezvous point was at a service station and, discovering free wifi there, the next two and a half hours were spent in their thoroughly unexciting car park.

I had pondered subscribing to the Park4Night App before we left home, so that we could use it offline. As I refer to it so often, both to see what is available in terms of places to stay, and to find service points, I must have been expending a lot of mobile data on it and there are inconvenient occasions when my data or their server doesn't respond. With the benefit of wifi, I finally did what I should have done long ago, subscribed and downloaded the database and maps for Northern Europe. With other bits of downloading and uploading, interspersed with elevenses and lunch (oh, and a bit more hand washing), the time slipped away.

Our next stop was only 20km down the road (and had we known there would be good wifi there too, and in a much more attractive location, we would have moved sooner).

"What's at this place?" asked Mick on our approach and I confessed that I knew little other than it was a National Park Centre with an art exhibition and some walking trails. I had no idea whether it was going to be a five minute quick-look-not-very-interesting place or a stay-for-a-few-hours place. The answer has transpired to be Option C: stay overnight to do more tomorrow.

Today we viewed the art exhibition, read about the artists (a local couple who have led interesting lives and whose campaigns to stop developments in this area, which would have affected the reindeer herding activities of the Sami, were instrumental in the establishment of the National Park), viewed the nature exhibition (there are bears, lynx and wolverine in Norway; I didn't know that!) and obtained a leaflet with a map and descriptions of four recommended walking routes.

Not wanting to spend the night in the car park of the Park Centre we took advantage of the information given in the walks leaflet and found somewhere more secluded, the approach to which was such that Mick stopped Bertie and had me check I wasn't directing him down someone's driveway.

It was late afternoon by the time we took a stroll along the Junkerdalsura Canyon, where in 1879 a cart track was constructed. With the coming of the motorcar it subsequently got widened, but within the canyon there was not enough width available to make it wide enough for two cars to pass. It was therefore opened on a one way basis, with the direction alternating by the hour. Blighted by rock falls and land slides, the final nail in its coffin as a road came in 1955 when a rock fall killed two people. Now only a short section is open, only to pedestrians, due to landslides further along (indeed, even on the open section there is evidence of substantial recent slides that have been cleared and signs warn not to walk the route in wet spells or winter).

There's a lot of tumbling and turbulent water in these parts, and this river alongside which we walked was a good example:

Some of it is very tumbling:

Mick asked me to pose in front of this fall, so I obliged:

There are lots of snowy peaks around too:

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will go and explore another of the trails.

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