The trip from Oslo to Bergen was the first time ever that I’ve felt shuffled around in a prototypical “tour” group. Thirteen hours from point to point with five changes of transport (train to train to boat to bus and back to train)—a recipe for exhaustion and annoyance. Both of which it was but what saved it were the two hours on the fjord boat. I look at the route we took on the map and am surprised to see that it was a relatively short V-shaped course from Flam to Gudvangen, a mere arm of what’s known as the longest (a couple hundred km) and deepest (1,300 meters at one point) fjord in Norway, the Sognefjord. Seeing the complex of arms on the map it doesn’t seem possible to identify a starting place; presumably the ice sheet and glaciers that carved these regions did their work starting from various places that eventually merged. What I saw yesterday was the prototypical fjord of my fantasy (that I didn’t see in Greenland), and it was a pleasure to suddenly realize that I’d seen it before and it’s Yosemite Valley. I think the Norwegian version is also carved into granite and it clearly had similar results on the fjord walls: steep with occasional waterfalls and green with trees (and here grass that Yosemite lacks for being in a dryer climate). If Yosemite extended to the Pacific, it too would be a fjord, and long ago when it contained a lake it would have looked much like the one here. I was oddly touched to see how similarly glaciers can do their work where the geological conditions resemble each other. But it’s a lonelier “fjord” existence in the Sierra than here where they’re everywhere. There are others, Hetch Hetchy and Kings Canyon, for example, but here they grew in rampant abundance, or so it seems from the map. I’ll know more after my time sailing along the west coast from Bergen to Kirkines at the far northern extreme of Norway. Although I have no competitive feel about these things, I am glad to know that Yosemite is as lovely as what I saw yesterday. Will I see any along the way that are superior? Hard to imagine, but if so I’ll acknowledge it and maintain my loyalty. Yosemite helped make me who I am.


Photo by Mark Twisselmann on Unsplash

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