ice lake, Norway

You may now have come to realise that I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone, and giving myself new challenges. I didn’t know if my suggestion of going camping one Saturday in February, in mid-Norway, would go down well with my Norwegian friend, but luckily for me he’s still a big kid at heart, always up for a little adventure – and really not “too old” yet (his words)! Here he is – say hi to Rolf 🙂

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Samsung S6, Snapseed filter & edit

He is native to the area and has been sleeping out, whenever he felt like it, for most of his life – in summers, he kayaks the fjords alone, with his hammock and gear on board. You bet I’m coming back!

He drove us to a place called Jonsvannet in his yellow pick up truck – the last trip he’ll make in it before selling it the following week. I’m pretty sure he is going to miss his baby.

Did I mention that it was -9°C during the day when we got there?

We had brought sleeping mats, self-inflating air mats, sleeping bags for temperatures down to -40°C, and a simple pop up tent. Sorted.

The sun was just starting to set, it’s rays stretching across the sky behind the silhouetted mountains in the distance. Rolf had brought his big drill – I just had to throw that in – and his fishing rods. He got all set up.

Canon, Snapseed filter & edit

Standing on that ice lake the first time was a bit freaky. Although you can see that it’s strong enough to keep you from falling through, it’s the sound of the water shifting and moving beneath the 10cm thick ice that actually gets to you. If you have never heard it before, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a sign of danger… it’s a kind of echoing ping that screams out at a high pitch. That’s the best way I can think to describe it… and it comes and goes. As the sun sets and it becomes much quieter, the sound of the ice lake invades your senses regularly.

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Samsung S6, no filter & no edit

We are both snap-happy, so of course, the lighting being what it was, we enjoyed capturing small moments – wolf’s paw prints in the snow that sprinkled the ice-topped lake, the drill and rods, each other’s silhouettes, the skies in all the shades of a setting winter sun… I on a Canon and Samsung S6, and he on his GoPro and iPhone 6.

Canon, no filter & no edit

Before it got too dark, we gathered wood from the surrounding area. It was quite easy to find plenty of dead pine and birch trees, and I scraped off some bark for tinder to build our fire. Rolf, ever the pragmatic, had brought sausages and soup. He boiled water, chucked the packet and the sausages in, so we could enjoy our dinner while watching the light dwindle to different shades of darkness before us.

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Canon, Snapseed filter & edit

By the time the sun had fully set, we had eaten and drunk our full, and it had reached -15°C… time to crawl into our little abode for the night. Of course, I did have a lovely bottle of sipping rum with me to have a wee tipple before hunkering down for the night – but damn, that sleeping bag is thankfully super warm!

Samsung S6, no filter & no edit

The only time I truly felt the cold that night was when I had to nip out in just my thermal underwear to relieve myself – what a cold ass! The silver lining was the beautiful dark night sky, unspoiled by light pollution, the thousands of pin pricks of stars twinkling back at me.

Another little piece of my kind of heaven.

The next morning, while beautiful, and sleep had been warm, we felt we didn’t need to stick around and rebuild a fire to make breakfast so packed up and hiked back up to where the truck was parked. On the way back through the mountains and forests, we stopped at a small stand of birch trees – quite magical with the early morning winter sun striking through the branches!

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Canon, no filter & no edit

You should try sleeping out in winter sometime – apart from giving you a sense of freedom, and just “being”, after a while, and in extreme conditions, I am sure it would remind one how fortunate we are to have beds, houses, warmth, water and food…

Jojo x

All written and photographic content is ©. All rights reserved. February 2018.

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