2017/07/25 (Tuesday; Vittangi -> Gullesfjordbotn Part 2)
(Continued from Part 1)
After this relaxing but energizing interlude I got back on the bike and soon found myself in Norway. The above shot sums it up. Is there any other place in the world that so dramatically combines land and sea?
I had previously decided I’d go down into the town of Narvik even though it wasn’t on the way to Lofoten. I thought it would be easier to get a decent lunch and also refuel the bike there.
Not exactly, as it turned out. I did manage to refuel the bike, but I probably could have done that somewhere else on the way. And lunch was a baguette sandwich at the gas station. At a stop that came after a painful out-and-back tour through the entire traffic-choked town. But there wasn’t much to be done about it but plan the next move. I decided that, thanks to my early start and extra mileage the day before, I still had the time to make it out into Lofoten itself. But not to the end. I found a campsite (using Google this time, not trusting my map) in a place called Gullesfjordbotn (the foot of Gullesfjord), which was close to the main junction between the roads leading to the north and west branches of Lofoten.
The ride out there was impressive. The Lofoten island chain was basically a mountain range jutting out to sea from the Norwegian coast. The road wound along the shore passing along fjords and over short bridges, tunneling into solid rock when there was no easier way to continue. The sun shone down on and through blue water that was as clear as any to be found in the Carribbean. It was beautiful.
At the end of the day I pulled smoothly in to the campground right at the foot of Gullesfjord as promised. I was fairly beat, but the campground had a little cafe that served beer and apple pie — a very positive development. I paid and went and set up my tent, pitched right in the middle of a postcard with breathtaking scenery. Not far away I found a nice place to sit by a stream that flowed into the fjord and cook my dinner. Then I went and availed myself of both the beer and the apple pie.
After all this it was still broad daylight out (this being summer well north of the arctic circle), so I decided to go for a hike afterwards to work off the pie. There was a hiking trail right across the road that went up into the mountains of the ajoining Møysalen National Park. I figured I wouldn’t be able to go that far but started heading up anyway. The trail followed an exuberantly rushing stream, which I assumed was the same one I’d seen in wider, flatter form when I’d eaten my dinner, up from the valley. After maybe 30 minutes or so I came to a small mountain lake, with a falls dropping down into it on the other side.
I kept going, picking my way through marshy areas along the short of the lake, and then climbed up on the far side to another, larger lake. The sound of the lower falls faded away as I climbed up and dropped down. I saw the smoke of a fire not far up ahead along the shoreline of this higher lake, and on investigation saw an athletic bald man of around my age there in a tee-shirt, alternately trying to reach someone on his cell phone, it looked like, and playing around with a fishing rod whose line was cast into the lake. I thought about going to talk with him, but somehow, despite the cell phone, he seemed lost on his he-man adventure and probably not interested in human company that he’d evidently just hiked up to get away from. I headed back down.
A shower and an early trip to bed rounded out the evening. The campground had been becoming more crowded since my arrival, tents in particular occupying numerous nooks and crannies that didn’t look particularly convenient, but surprisingly everyone else retired early as well and I had a peaceful sleep.