Arctic Horizon
Part 2/2

Lofoten Part 3

This is the last post from the Lofoten Islands. 

Two weeks here is just not enough. Every time I visit the islands I have the impression I still missed so many great things.

Maybe this is the reason why I am out hiking every single day. Some hikes are really very exhausting...imagine 5 hours on snowshoes uphill and downhill while trying to keep up with 2 group members on ski. 

But every walking tour here is worth the effort...believe me!

 

But let's start with the obvious...the northern lights. I was not very lucky this time. They were not very strong or very active. The good thing was I got a little more sleep as there was no reason to go out at night.

Now let's talk about the weather.

People always ask me about the weather and the amount of daylight when I tell them about my trip.

When still in Sweden I was a little frustrated as there was no snow on the Lofoten. On top it rained since weeks and the temperature was around +5 degrees.

Sweden was wonderful and the weather more than perfect. Would my luck with the weather end here? On my way from Abisko to Narvik it started to rain and that's nothing you dream of travelling in February far above the polar circle.

But then, one day later, the weather changed. It started to snow on the Lofoten and the temperature dropped below 0 degrees. For the next 14 days the forecast was just wonderful. Sun, clouds, wind, snow...all these unbelievable weather changes that happen here within every single day.

Daylight... - it is not dark here in the north in February. When my trip started the days were not shorter than in Germany. But here the days get longer and longer very fast. Around 1 hour per week - and end of May you have 24 hours of light!

A photographers dream. 

One of my hikes was going up to Smoerdalskammen. Normally a very nice and easy path...but this time we started from another location. It got steeper and steeper and with all the snow, ice and wind it was not easy at all. In fact I really had some problems getting up as I did not put my spikes on. I felt really insecure and was quite happy reaching the top. I would say that little very steep part was the limit I could do that day ... I really should have used proper equipment ...

But the view from the top was worth it!

Natascha, Anne Gerd, Eva and Frank ... 

Of course we also visited some of the wonderful little villages and went to the beaches. 

 

And then there was that very special day...!

Natascha said YES! :-)

A Flower for Natascha

Lofoten once again were just fantastic - in every single way!


Dovrefjell

 

Leaving the Lofoten is always a very sad moment. But this time we have another 6 days of travelling to south Norway, and that makes it a bit better. 

We travel from Stamsund to Trondheim with the Hurtigruten. After all that hiking the 2 nights on a ship are a welcome and relaxing time. The sea is calm and the weather superb - I do not get seasick this time!

The drive from Trondheim to Dovrefjell is very easy, the roads are not very icy.

After some warmer temperatures and nearly no snow we get back into winter wonderland short before we arrive at our destination.

We rented a cabin at Furuhaugli from where we will hike into the mountains to find the musk ox. Photographing them in the snow...with wind and some bad weather to get these dramatic photos that are in my head since I visited Dovrefjell for the first time. 

Well - that's the plan...

Our first long hike brings us into the beautiful landscape of Dovrefjell. The weather is exactly as I wanted it...just one thing is missing...the musk ox. 

As we found the musk ox last time in September very easy and we now know where to look for them we thought it must be a quite easy task to find them in the snow. 

It's not easy at all - and the next 2 days we hike for hours without finding them.

So I got an idea...Furuhaugli offers day hikes to the musk ox. In summer you pay around 35 Euro's to join a group of maximum 10 people. But now in winter they want to charge more than 350 Euros - that's quite ridiculous...as there is no guarantee you see the animals from a short distance!

Instead we decide to stay 3 days longer...we just have to find them...

The next day starts again with fantastic weather. It is really getting warmer - only -10 degrees ;-),  sunny and not that much wind anymore.

There is nothing more stunning than hiking in such a beautiful landscape!

After hours of hiking we see some small spots on a mountain...and here they are.

Photo taken at 400mm + 1.4 TC x crop factor = 840mm equivalent

But they are still far away and we have no chance to get close to them as we have to go back in time. It is already 3 pm and we do not want to hike back in the dark. 

 

The next day we walk and walk until we find some footsteps in the snow. Musk ox! Finally...crossing our way.

We track the footsteps for around 2 hours until we find them. Two musk ox are lying on a small hill not far from the road...well that would have been easy...if only we knew ;-)

They seem to be very tired...don't move a lot, just sleeping and grazing for some minutes...

Well - at least we found them...and that was 90% of the fun. Searching them, tracking the footsteps - and finally finding them - fantastic!

I did not at all get the photos I wanted to shoot...but the experience will stay in our heads and hearts.

 

We had a lot of fun! And we will be back...soon hopefully!

Zum Abschied von dieser Reise noch ein kleines Video.