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7th September, 2013

Olden, Norway

The Briksdal Glacier

Our route overnight took us through many more miles of fjords and just a few hours of open sea, which was enough to make the folks realise we were on a ship. By twilight the following morning we were gliding through flat and calm glassy waters, which were reflecting the mountains and different layers of low cloud in such a manner that it was difficult to see where terra firma ended.

The Briksdal Glacier hike is one of our regular tours for those who are still nimble of foot. After passing through Olden village and several tranquil lakes we arrived at the Briksdal Inn, the starting point for a very pleasant trek up to what is now left of the long glacial arm that descends from the Jostedalsbreen Plateau above.

Having been there some years ago we put our best foot forward and strode up past great waterfalls, managing to arrive at the milky glacial lake just over thirty minutes later, ahead of the others and in good time to take a closer look.

It was quite a surprise because in those relatively few intervening years the arm has not only retreated at least a mile or so, it has broken in two. No longer does the ice protrude well into the waters below, but its craggy forward edge is several hundred feet above.

Water spray over the bridge

A strong katabatic wind descended over the ice from the plateau, causing the young self-seeded birch saplings surrounding the lake to bend right over, and making it difficult for us to stand upright, yet alone to take any photographs.

After half an hour or so, the others had caught up, so we headed down, stopping from time to time in order to take in the amazing scenery. The waters were in major glacial melt mode and were literally racing downhill on their way over numerous rocks of various sizes, sending spray over one of the bridges we needed to cross.

We received a good drenching despite our efforts to make haste, but were dry again by the time we reached the Inn, where coffee and homemade cakes awaited.

My advice if you travel to Olden in the future, go to Briksdal before there’s nothing left to see. The walk, however, will always be invigorating.

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.