Monday, November 14, 2011

I saw the light.

Four days of spelunking in Beiarn.
We stopped on the mountain so A.J. could see her first snow
The First Day

We hiked up into the mountains to the first cave. 
In general, I'm quite fond of spelunking. Except when spelunking in caves that are filled with raging rivers. 

We crawled on our bellies on the ledge above these rather turbulent waters. 
This was fine, until Øystein and Henning started scaling the wet cliffs on either side of the waterfall,
 in the dark. 

*Begin instant revaluation of placing trust in the crazy Norwegians*

I was not inclined to climb up after them, but Lars threw me an eyebrow that said I'd better follow him.
Once I was soaking wet it was delightful.

"If you don't grow, you won't be able to offer anything."
photo: Lydia Palsdottir
Caves are gorgeous. Marbled and starry wet ceilings.
We popped up between them in green mossy places full of bright sands, ferns, and waterfalls.  

I led us down a narrow passage back to the water. 
Underground bouldering. Dark silence soaking. River wading. Dew licking. Fear swallowing.
Back down the mountain, filthy and frozen, to find the coziest Norwegian cabin waiting for us.
Even the Northern Lights came out to play.
The Second Day

Clear mountain morning and a long run through farms and forests.
Snowy paths. Southern gospel singing. Kitchen dancing. 
Golden hour tromping back to the hills. 
Those stark, snowy mountains smiled down on us with their wide, rocky grins.

Lunch and fire in the snow in our classiest of caving clothes.
In the last 15 minutes we could feel the wind. We turned out our lights and followed it.

The light came in all green and gold. 
With colors so wet and warm they could quench your thirst.
Curry dinner. Sauna. Milky way. Story telling with Tegan.
The Third Day

Morning. Coffee. Isaiah. Heather Pink Sky. Hymn whistling. Gracious receiving.
Mirjam. Jon. Lars. Christophe. 

There should have been a rope leading to the exit but it was rotted away. I climbed into a tunnel in the ceiling that led us down a new passage. Then we came to a chasm that fell into the river. Lars was barely able to swing himself over. The rest of us had to drag ourselves over the ledge and drop down on the other side. 

It was deliciously terrifying.

Fortunately, there was an exit to our tunnel since we would no have been able to return that way. My excitement at finding it was suffocated by the discovery that my hips would not pass through. Even if they did, I had the smallest set of hips in our party. Magically, they managed to slide out of that unmovable granite birth canal as did everyone else's. 
Belly laughing. Bruised hips. Bruised shins. Bruised elbows. Chapped hands. Cracked lips. 

After, Mirjam wanted to see the top of the mountain. 

Papa sure loves us.

I truly didn't think the day could have been anymore perfect 

but that was before we found...
Unrestrained delight. 

Jon and I filled our helmets full.
 At breakfast, the next morning, we made the most beautiful potato chanterelle scramble.

Muddy, sandy head. Tired body. Peaceful spirit. Joyful heart.

We are oh so blessed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

rain or shine


As it happens.
Yesterday, our long traveling day, was perfect.

Today was...less so. 
Pouring rain and driving winds. We went hiking anyways. 
Endless mountains grow behind our house. Olga. Åge. Christophe. Lars.
It was wet and muddy. I fell over. Lots.

Lars-"Rachael, What are you doing? There are no herbs here to pick!"

The storm tried to blow us away, freeze our fingers, and swallow up the view.
But it was lovely.

And we weren't stuck indoors. Cabin fever strikes often and it strikes HARD.
The sun says goodnight before three.

We sloshed down the side of the mountain to find the cozy, mossy-roofed, Nordtun Cabin.

There we sat the rest of the afternoon, 
giggling in our wet woolens and sipping cocoa by firelight, 
till it got to dark to see each other's faces.

Then we went home.

Free time. 
Less blogging. More THIS.