We quickly found a place to set up camp, just across from Norway's largest glacier, the Jostedalsbreen Glacier. From here, we could explore the surrounding mountains on foot. Jotunheimen National Park has 24 mountain peaks of over 2,000 metres in height, and is one of the oldest traditional hiking areas in Norway. This rugged mountainscape we had landed in, probably hasn't changed very much since the last ice-age, and some of the surrounding glaciers still contain water and minerals from back then.
From the top of the Sognefjellet National Tourist Route, you have a great view over towards the Smørstabbreen Glacier with its surrounding mountain range. In some areas, this wild mountainous region seemed completly untouched by humanity, with undisturbed mosses covering the rocks, and mountain trails with no human footprints... until we came to a timber sign, pointing in all directions at once. That looked man-made.
After a few hours wandering around the hills above the lake, we made it back to the campsite, just in time to open a beer and catch a beautiful sunset, which seemed to resonate around the entire area.
We awoke the next morning, refreshed, and surrounded by glaciers and the beautiful nature of Jotunheimen. During the night, something (or a herd of somethings) had tripped over the tent lines, spreading the tent pegs over a wide radius. We managed to find them all, but couldn't figure out what had passed us in the night. Up here, you can find reindeer, foxes, mink, deer, wolverines, elk, lynx and some goats, but not too many types of people. So it must have been animal.
It's a special feeling, when a number of elements combine, to give you a unique and new experience - waking up slowly in this beautiful place, with a freshly brewed coffee in your hand, sitting on an outcrop above the lake, watching the sun's rays as they burn across this barren and windswept landscape, inhaling the fresh air, as you watch the sunlight reflecting off the glaciers, which in turn, are reflecting off the surface of the lake.
It's a strange contrast to all this tranquility, when the sound of engines from a group of other motorcyclists, slowly makes it's way along the Sognefjellet National Tourist Route. It took a long time for them to arrive, waving as they passed by, and an even longer time for them to disappear again. Even when they were out of sight, we could still hear them.
This great piece of road is closed during winter and re-opens around the start of May, when the snow melts. They close it again in late Autumn, depending on how early the Winter arrives. We'll definitely come back some other time, and stay a few extra days, for some climbing and glacier hiking in the Hurrungane mountains. As we rode off, we passed a series of red buildings, scattered around the mountainside - the Turtagrø Mountain Hotel - maybe we'll try that next time?
We took the afternoon ferry across Sognefjorden, on the way to Lærdalstunnelen, the world's longest tunnel at 24.5 kilometers, but that's another story...