There is no bad weather…

September 5, 2013

in Alyx Knudson, Europe, Fall 2013, Norway

So I’ve finally settled in to the little town of Bø and this is the view from my house. Not bad.

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We officially started the semester on August 15th, which I was a little surprised about. Apparently nobody here knows that you can’t start class before Labor Day! So I’ve now had about 2 weeks of class, kind of.  Last week I had a field trip to the local mountain, Lifjell, from Monday to Friday and then another trip to a place called Haukelig a couple hours away from Saturday to Sunday.  That was a little much for those of us in the course because we still had to go to class at 8am the next day. Rough.

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Lifjell (pronounced like leaf-yell) was great! We drove about 45 minutes and then hiked up the mountain for a little under 2 hours to get to this wonderful, quaint cabin called Hollane (pictured above) that was to be our home for the next four nights.

Notice the very Norwegian-looking guy in the yellow shorts with no shoes on.  Yea, he didn’t wear shoes all week. He’s hardcore. But extremely nice! His name is Fredrik and I idolize him.

We (the 20-something of us in Alpine Ecology) spent the week collecting plants, temperature data, vegetation analyses, fishing with gill nets, and doing some rodent and grouse estimations.  I learned way too many latin names to possibly remember and ripped heads off of dead fish so we could cook them later over a campfire.  I could get used to this kind of life!

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So Lifjell was angelic and we started home on Friday with bellies full of oatmeal and peanut butter and content.

Well I guess the weather on Lifjell was unusually fantastic because we sure got a different experience at Haukelig! Silly me, I assumed the great weather would keep up, so I packed only my Keen hiking sandals for shoes and a couple warm layers just in case. HA!

Our first excursion on Haukelig started out with a light breeze and sunshine. Within 5 minutes it was hailing. No kidding.  Then it started snowing sideways and we had a full-out blizzard on our hands.  But, of course, my teacher has no off switch so we all were perched on a cliffside with our backs to the wind pretending to look at plants that were quickly being coated in a heavy, wet layer of snow.  It was highly amusing to a person in a warm car looking up at us poor wretched creatures.  And they say there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. I couldn’t feel my toes for hours afterwards. Sandals. What a rookie.

The next day wasn’t much better.  I put on every item of clothing I brought; it didn’t snow, but we were surrounded by snowbeds nonetheless and the wind was ruthless on our hike up the mountain. This time I had socks on, but it didn’t help very much.  By the time we got to the alpine lake I was more than ready to head home and I wasn’t alone.  Other international students from Spain had made the same mistake I did and were not taking it very well.  There was a lot of talk of going back to Madrid and laying on the beach.

But there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. And now I think I really know what that means…

So next time I’m packing my hiking boots and lots of wool, the magic fabric of the alpine climate.  I’ve got a lot to learn, but so far I’m having a great time doing it wrong! How could you not in a place like this??

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