Escaping

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A visual story through the hairpin turns, rocky paths and steep mountain slopes of Norwegian National Parks Hardangervidda and Jotunheimen.

Stopping the car. Stepping out. Inhaling the smell of fresh mountain air. It´s always such a satisfying feeling; driving away from the dense smell of concrete, of fast-food and exhaust that surrounds the city. Listening to the silence; the wind blowing, birds chirping and, in our case, a 4-month-old baby screaming for food. It was our first road trip as a family. Since it was the warmest and driest summer in Norway for well over 60 years, we decided to head up to the mountains for some cooler air. It turned out the temperature didn’t actually drop that much, even all the way up here. The little one told us, in his own way, that although we had done our best to satisfy him, he would rather sleep in a place with air-conditioning. So we returned to the car and drove through Hardangervidda, a mountain plateau and National Park in central southern Norway. It is a place you can usually rely upon to have a cold alpine climate, whatever the month or season. The thermometer in the dashboard proved that wrong.

We were also visiting Jotunheimen, a mountainous area with 29 of the highest peaks in Norway. The name Jotunheimen was given to the area by the famous Norwegian poet, Aasmund Olavsson Vinje, inspired by the wild landscape and the myths of the north. Safe to say, not very suitable for the 4-month-old. So this part of the journey went forward in the company of my father. A weekend in the home of the Jotnar, the ‘Trolls’ in Norse mythology. Wherever you turn there are high peaks, deep valleys, snow and glaciers. And stones. A lot of stones. This is a landscape which suits dramatic weather; it needs more than a blue sky and weak glimmer of sunlight. Luck was on our side, and the skies darkened as the sun tried to break through the low hanging clouds, rain bursting through in an inconsistent drizzle. From a photographer’s point of view, it was perfection. From a hiker’s point of view, it needed fewer stones.

Words & Photography: Tor Arne Hotvedt

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