I don’t know what exactly got into us this morning, but we didn’t even get up until 9:15. Without the predictable rising and setting of the sun at bedtime and again at morning, our bodies just can’t seem to figure out a normal sleeping schedule. The bitingly cold night, followed by an intensely sunny morning left our tent drenched in condensation. We took our leisurely time packing things up and drying things out in our wild camp before heading the rest of the way down the canyon.
The riding was sunny, downhill and easy, a needed change after an intense couple of weeks. After forty minutes, we spotted a big local grocery store and headed inside for a much needed restock of our food supply. Happily, we seem to have left the masses of tourists behind and the grocery store was stocked with normal food items at normal prices.
Once we were thoroughly stuffed with pastries and chocolate milk and Ben’s food bags were stuffed to overflowing, we hit the road again. We wound around the east side of the Lusterfjord, soaking up the glacial blue ocean views under brilliant sunny skies. The road was largely flat, the temperature perfect, the scenery simply stunning.
Luckily, we had a super short day on tap because we stopped essentially every ten minutes to check out what was around each bend. People sunbathed on the beaches and a handful of brave souls were even swimming.
Soon, we reached the tiny town of Luster where a cute rock church stood overlooking the fjord. We stopped to take some photos and noted that the church was open. Built in 1250 the church was a beautiful collection of items and paintings from the 1200’s to the 1600’s. We wandered slowly around taking in faded frescoes and a medieval baptismal font, the whole place all to ourselves. I silently wondered how many wedding, funerals, and baptisms had been held here over the last seven hundred years.
The last stretch to Skjolden disappeared too fast and soon, we were rolling into town, unsure of what we wanted to do next. We stopped at the tourist information center where Ben charged up his laptop battery and got some work done and we topped off our water supply. With everything we needed to survive another night, we headed out to the beachfront park to sit in the shade and enjoy the Saturday afternoon with locals and tourists alike.
We whiled away a few hours and then headed back to the edge of town near the ferry terminal where we identified a vaguely secure place to camp. We wanted to spend our last night in fjord country down by th water, and this seemed like the best way to do it. Technically, it met all the specifications to be “legal” but it wasn’t particularly out of the way or well hidden. Instead of setting up at dinnertime, we found a nearby picnic table where we cooked and ate dinner and worked well into the evening, watching the sun sink behind the fjord cliffs. We even spotted a seal!
Then, once the night had quieted, we pitched our tent only ten feet from the water and crawled inside, listening to a sea creature splash nearby as we fell asleep (Ben’s note: Based on the volume and how close the splashes were, we can only figure that it was the seal we saw earlier – this time mere feet away from our campsite).