Tuesday, Oct 8
Our outing for today was an hour and a half drive to the Briksdal glacier. On the way, we drove past a lot of beautiful turquoise glacier water in lakes and rivers. The color reminded me of Great Bluedini Kool-aid or the turquoise waters at Rotorua thermal parks in New Zealand. I normally don’t like blue, but this was really amazing, probably just because it was so unusual to my experience. The nearest town to the glacier is Olden. As we neared Olden, we saw a small cruise ship at the dock. And several tour buses waiting just outside the ship to carry its passengers on to the glacier. So, we hurried along, skipping the souvenir shops in town to try to get to the glacier before the buses. We were happy to be successful. We pretty much avoided the cruisers the whole day.
You have a choice at Briksdal whether you want to take a 45 minute walk up from the parking lot to reach the glacier or take a troll car, which will cut off about ⅔ of the walk, leaving just 15 minutes walk up. A toll car is a kind of super all-terrain golf cart with a train of open-air seats pulled behind. Being young and fit (ha, ha) we opted for the walk. The path took us along the glacial river flowing over rocks and waterfalls. It was a pretty walk, but definitely got my heart rate up! There were a few informational plaques to read along the way. I was most interested to learn about the Little Ice Age that took place from about 1750 to the mid 1800s. I’ve always wondered how people of that time period could wear so many clothes all year round and not be ridiculously hot. But, if temperatures were significantly cooler than they are today, that could explain heavy coats, long, full-skirted dresses with long sleeves, wigs (on both men and women). The last 15 minutes, we passed most of the cruisers on their way back from the glacier. By their accents, it must be a British Cruise line. When we reached the small lake below the glacier, there were only about 5 other people there; great for taking pictures! We wandered around the lake a bit. The land around it was covered in very small rocks, almost sand-like. There was very little vegetation, mostly just some short, scrubby bushes. The water was, once again, a lovely turquoise color. The glacier, itself, hung down into a crevice of the mountains, not coming any where near to the flat part of the land that we were on. We saw a postcard later of the glacier spreading right down into the lake, but the men swimming in the lake in the picture were wearing very 80’s swim trunks. It looks like it’s been a long time since the glacier reached the lake. When we had finished taking our pictures, we sat on a rock to have a little snack and some water. I was only halfway through my Larabar when Rob felt sprinkles on his leg. I felt the possibility of rain looming over us the whole way up the mountain, so was not surprised to see sprinkles. We made quick work of the walk back down the mountain, just in case the skies opened up, but they never did more than sprinkle.