Norway - the wild ravine of Seljestad
( Originally Published 1907 )
Direction—We know from the map that we are looking toward the sea, though still in the heart of the mountains. The farther side of that snow-covered wall drains off into the salt sea. Surroundings—Behind us and on both sides are nearly barren, craggy mountains like those walling in the valley ahead.
These tourists have come up from Odde to which we are bound. (By the way, now that we see one of those stolkjaerres from the rear we have a better chance to see how the post-boy rides. Sometimes he merely stands on the part of the floor which projects behind.) We notice that the rule of the road is to keep to the right when meeting another team—it is like the American custom rather than the English. Odde is half a day's ride farther on, beyond the height around which the gray ribbon of highway bends to the right.
The view from this point where we are now is a favorite with travelers—indeed, in its own way, it is one of the most striking in this part of the country, with these gray, rock-ribbed mountains near by streaked with green vegetation, the little green lake gleaming down there in its bed like a brilliant jewel, and that dazzling white fringe hanging over the lofty summit of the long, level mountain wall which rises against the sky before us. The summit of the Folgefond (fond means "snow field") is 5,425 feet—i. e., more than a mile—above the level of the sea beyond. The plateau of which we now see a part is over twenty miles long, covering an area of one hundred square miles without any distinct peak. There are many such fonds in Norway, and some plateaus somewhat similar in cut which lack the summer coat of snow and ice. It looks easy to believe what the topographers tell us, that about a third of the land area of the kingdom is 2,000 feet or more above sea-level.
As one proceeds down the valley, the mountain brooks along the way are too many to number ; every height has to send down its contributions somewhere, over the cliffs or through the ravines. There are two places between here and the village of Odde which are particularly well known to summer tourists and whose photographs are often used to illustrate books of travel. One we find presently on the left side of the road. The map marks at 37 the place where a waterfall comes down over a hillside. We are to go on a few rods past the fall and climb a steep bank at the opposite side of the road, from which a particularly good view can be had, looking back.