Back home in Vermont, the early morning light emerging from the darkness, the air clear after a long period of dense humidity, the garden a jungle of weeds and overgrown grasses, the air heavy with the scent of creeping thyme in bloom and the sound of busy bees. Strange to be wrapped in darkness on the ride home from the airport last week. A surprise after ten days in the Jotunheimen mountains of Norway, where the nights are light and bright at this time of the year. Our home for a week was Turtagrø Hotel, a hotel with deep roots in the region, set along the Sognefjellvegen tourist route, surrounded by mountains. Three levels of accommodations to meet all budgets, where travelers can choose from a room with a private bath in a new and modern hotel, a bunk-room with shared facilities in a historic building, or a tent site with access to facilities. With the option of including meals, or cooking your own out in nature. A full buffet at breakfast with just-baked breads and the makings of a picnic lunch and hot or cold drinks to fill the thermos for the day’s hike. And at the end of an active day, a freshly prepared 3-course dinner. A stopping point for travelers, for the night or as a base for hiking and mountain climbing. Or just a pit-stop for a meal or a cup of coffee with fresh home-baked cake. With common spaces for relaxing after a long day in the mountains, an extensive library of mountaineering books, historic photographs and modern art on the walls. The Hotel is tucked into a little bowl at 900 MOH (Meters Above Sea Level), along a curve in the road, facing the Hurrungane Mountains, the view spectacular in all weather and all times of the day, even past midnight, a place where the land touches the sky. And where the knowledgeable and competent staff at the Turtagrø Hotel welcome all travelers with kindness, comfortable beds, good food and a traditional spirit of generosity and hospitality.
Deep in the mountains, and close to the inner fjord region, a spectacular landscape. High peaks and deep valleys. A base for registered mountain guides and a destination for experienced mountain climbers, back-mountain skiers/boarders, x-c skiers and serious hikers. A wealth of rugged peaks and steep hikes, with trails for walkers of all levels of hardiness. Fields of snow between upland meadows of wildflowers and alpine berries in bloom. The weather a mix of rain, bright sunshine, gray and blue skies. Steady breezes lifting clouds in and out of the mountains, the forms of the landscape shifting throughout the day and night. As they say in the mountains of Norway – if it’s not snowing, it must be summer. Glorious, light-filled summer.