Sunday, October 16, 2011

Me-time at Bjørndalen

Ooops: This blogpost contains a badly shot Svalbard rock ptarmigan

So. There was a big party at UNIS this weekend. A perfect oppertunity to get the cabin in Bjørndalen all for myself (with reference to last blogpost). I woke up at 6am saturday morning ready to go. However, outside, the wind was still hitting us hard with a 10m/s average (Strong breeze), but with 18-20m/s in the throws. Temperatures was okey thought ranging from 0 to -4 degrees celcius.

Photo from previous afternoon with strong winds
(Photo: Alexander Hovland)
After an hour it all calmed down a little and I took a chance and went for it. Originially I was planning on going up Platåfjellet, but poor visiblity and still strong winds. I followed the road along the coast towards Bjørndalen (about 15km/9.3miles). The visibility was for the most part quite okey, but it was quite slippery across the windblown landscape. I'd brought skies, but there wasn't really any snowcover worth skiing on.

Following the road to Bjørndalen.
So, I arrived at Bjørndalen without much problem. Crossing the river wasn't any problem either since it was all frozen up and there isn't really any melting going on in the mountains either due to the low temperatures.

Waves were hitting the coast hard
(Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Bjørndalen with Smutthullet in the far distance
(Photo: Alexander Hovland)

At Smutthullet ( 78° 13' 23" N, 15° 17' 47" E) I got some food, some coffe and a fire running. Then i did some repairs on the cabin, fixing one of the doors and a window that wouldn't shut. Then I treated myself with a trip up Bjørndalen. 

Smutthullet (from next morning) Photo: Alexander Hovland)
So, I started to walk up, following the valley side. The wind wasn't that strong now, but there were some amount of snow coming down. Then suddenly I spotted something white up in the mountain side and I immediately knew it had to be a svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperboreus). I started to climb up the scree slope towards the top. I'd almost given up when I saw something moving in the corner of my eye and is it flew past me I gave it a shot. It started to roll down the scree slope and I couldn't even see it when it stopped. I rushed down. It was still breathing and as I twisted the neck the..erhh... head fell off. Ooops.

Ooops. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
Getting dark (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Returning to the cabin I put the ptarmigan up on the wall and went out again, this time was for a short skiing trip up the valley.

The evening was spent in front of the fireplace reading A short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson, which as the title suggest, is a book about nearly everything.

Evening picture (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

Evening picture II (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
 As I woke up this morning I was hoping to ski most of the way back home. The wind however had turned and now almost all of the snow was gone again. It was a long and boring walk back home. My knee was still not up for walking across Platåfjellet.

A small herd of reindeer (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
Adventtoppen at 786msl (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

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