Civilization at Last

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Our wild camp sat at roughly 3,100 feet last night, our first night in Norway at any sort of serious altitude. We decisively decided not to stay at the peak so that we wouldn’t freeze, but I didn’t realize how cold it still might be in our canyon. The middle of the night temperatures dropped well below what we’ve gotten used to and Ben and I crammed into one side of our conjoined sleeping bag trying to stay warm. Gratefully, dawn breaks painfully early around here, so things started warming up before we had a chance to get too miserable.

By late morning the sun poked up from behind the canyon wall, we finally crawled out of the tent and donned all our warm clothes for the descent down the canyon. This plan had a major hole in it however, because after a couple of downhill kilometers, we started going uphill again. After climbing absolutely all day yesterday, it seemed impossible there could be anywhere further to go uphill. I was annoyed, but resigned myself to more uphill pedaling.

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We pulled over and stripped off all our layers and began climbing once again, bemoaning that all roads in Norway go uphill. Thankfully, the climbing held out for less than an hour before the descent began in earnest. I layered back up again to begin our well earned coasting.

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As we dropped in elevation, the canyon filled with trees and then joined the ice blue glacial river. A powerful headwind blew in our faces, but it was no match for gravity, which for once was on our side. The going was easy and soon, we rolled into Lom, just as my stomach started growling.

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We cruised into the tourist information center to try to clear up some more details about our trip’s future (namely, what we’ll do tomorrow). and hung around for an hour or so using the free wifi. Then, we rolled across the street to camp where we set up quickly and took advantage of our first showers in four days. These showers were the first ones we’ve seen in Norway that weren’t operated using tokens that buy you five minutes of warm water. Instead of the usual military shower, we were treated to a long, warm, well needed scrub down. It took an embarrassingly long time to remove the dirt caked from my ankles. Then, once I got out, I took to our filthy clothes and scrubbed them clean, one by one, and set them out to dry. The intense northern heat had them dry in hours.

When I was done with the laundry, I headed up to reception to see how Ben’s workday was faring. When I got there, he simply held up the laptop’s power cord with a somber face. It was missing our EU power adapter. Without it, we are unable to charge any of our important gadgetry.

My mind raced back to the last campground we stayed at, three days ago and back over the huge pass we’d just climbed. If that’s where we’d left it, we’d never get it back. Finding a new adapter for a US style plug in Europe was likely to be an impossible task. Already feeling resigned to a panic (Ben absolutely has to have that thing if he’s going to work), Ben broke in and remembered that we’d had it at the tourist information center just hours ago.

I took off at a dead run across town, and bolted into tourist information. There, next to someone charging a video camera, sat our adapter. Crisis gratefully averted.

Later, we ventured out to see the Stave Church in town. The afternoon cast harsh dark shadows on the place, but it was gorgeous all the same. The grounds smelled richly of ancient wood, the intricate wooden details preserved for nearly a thousand years.

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Finally, we headed to the grocery store where we went crazy buying a huge stash of junk food. We carried two liters of ice cream back to camp and devoured it all in one sitting, spoiling our appetite for dinner. Later, when our ice cream frenzy had worn off, we followed it up with bread, cheese, and chips for a complete nutritional failure.

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2 Responses

  1. Kim says:

    In regards to your “nutritional failure”, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. That pole by the church reminds me of a totem pole with the carvings. What were the carvings on it?

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