Norway - Hardanger glacier
( Originally Published 1907 )
Direction—We are facing northeast. Surroundings —Ledges of rock with occasional patches of moss, and off at our left a scanty growth of grass around a deserted saeter.
That is Lars again. The boat used to belong to the saeter before it was abandoned, and he has bailed it out to serve for a row across to the glacier. The greenish water is full of fine, powdery waste from the rocks over which the heavy ice-mass has been scraping and grinding, as it slowly settles toward this melting-point.
It looks like a frozen river emptying into the lake, and indeed it amounts to that, only it was never a liquid river—it was solid ice before ever it began its downward movement. Its depth can only be estimated; it may vary anywhere from fifteen or twenty feet at the edges to one or two hundred feet in other places—evidently this part facing us partially fills a deep valley between the cliffs. Those wave-like corrugations on the surface are much larger than they look from here, in many cases probably thirty or forty feet high ; some of those streaks of shadow mark deep, yawning cracks (crevasses), where the thick mass gave way under some extra pull or strain caused by unevenness in the bottom of the valley underneath.
The falls which we saw from Position 46 are now a short distance away at our right, where this lake spills its outlet down over the edge of the mountain-shelf on which we now stand. The water then descends through the long, steep, rocky valley and joins the salt depths at the head of the fjord.
Leaving now Map 5 to which we have been so often referring, let us go back for a moment to Map 2, which shows the whole of southern Norway. The red oblong between 60° and 61° latitude shows the region around the Sorfjord which we have lately been exploring. Now we shall go to Bergen, the chief town of western Norway, on the seacoast in latitude between 60° and 61°. Be sure to find it on this map, for our outlook over the town will be much more significant if we understand how the harbor lies with relation to the open ocean.
Now turn to Map 6, which shows Bergen by itself. Our forty-eighth standpoint is marked on a hill at the east of the town, and the branching red lines indicate a far outlook across a portion of the town itself, across the harbor and an outer bay, and farther still, beyond the limits of this special map. Notice that a zigzag road leads out of the town proper and goes some distance up the hill at the east—the Floifjeld. Zigzags like those on any Norwegian map are sure to imply a very steep grade.