Monday, October 5, 2009

The End of the Road

Karianne Steen, one of the kayak paddlers, offered to take me on a tour around Longyearbyen today. She picked me up in the morning and we drove past UNIS, the polar institute university, heading out of town. We visited two sledge dog kennels which were about 100 meters apart. Most of these dogs were owned by local residents. Eider ducks chose the area between the kennels to breed, since the Arctic foxes stay away from the dogs.

We stopped at an old airstrip and research station and found reindeer grazing through the snow. Along the road, we drove by old coal mines and headed up a mountain. Half way up was another sledge dog kennel (owned by the hotel in town called Base Camp). There was also a hunters cabin with dead seals hanging outside (dinner for the dogs).

We reached the top of the mountain (the literal end of the road) and looked back down all of Advent Valley and out over the fjord. The view and light were just incredible.

We head back into town and Karianne suggested that we continue on past town out towards Bear Valley (I'm using the English translations as there's no way I'm going to be able to spell the Norwegian names). There were some small houses scattered along the valley. These houses are for Longyearbyen residents who find town too hectic and like to get away for the weekends! We arrived at yet another end of the road and took a walk down into the valley to look at one of the houses up close (with Karianne packing a flare gun to scare off any polar bears).

It was a fantastic day and I'm really thankful for Karianne's generosity. I finished up the day buying more warm clothes and sampling whale and seal meat at a local restaurant.

I have lots of great shots, but my web connection isn't letting me upload the pictures. I promise lots of great images when I return!

The whole Arctic Circle Program gang is all here now and tomorrow we board the sailboat and head north! Once we're on the boat, no web, no phone, basically, we'll all be in 1910.

No comments:

Post a Comment