Coke Smith Photography & Travelogue

Expedition to Fjordland, Norway

  My first Musk Ox seen in the tundra wilderness of Dovrefjell National Park.

Norway's Spectacular Fjordland

I have always wanted to travel the fjordland region of Norway.  In 2006, we participated in what most people would call a trip of a lifetime.  We spent over three full months traveling to France, Russia, Scandinavia and Svalbard in the far arctic north.  This travelgue shows part of our adventure to the fjordlands region of Norway. 

This was a two week journey that started and ended in Oslo, but involved some amazing road-tripping and trekking in the fjords and tundra areas of this spectacular region.  Our road trips took us to Oppdal, Dovrefjell National Park (for a phenomenal Muskox Safari)and Alesund.  We cruised many fjords including the amazing Geirangerfjord, Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord.  I could never have imagined how spectacular these places actually were.  Until you spend quality time in this part of Earth, you cannot appreciate just how amazing the fjords of Norway are.  We also spent time visiting many of the Stave Churches in the Norwegian countryside.

We also had some interesting mammal sightings.  We encountered a large female Moose near Oslo and some Common Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and Atlantic Common Seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina) in Geirangerfjord and Sognefjord.  European Red Squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) were common as well.  We also had the opportunity to spend an entire day trekking spectacular Dovrefjeld National Park near Oppsdal.  Here we had close encounters with two past-prime, elderly, re-introduced but now wild, Musk Ox bulls.  We did see two other separate herds of musk ox on the surrounding ridges.  We were unable to spot the wild native herds of reindeer there but we did chase down a Norwegian Lemming (Lemmus norwegicus) and even got some images of it.


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Here are some images that will give you a glimpse of what we experienced: 




This part of Norway almost too much to comprehend.  Here we are at the amazing Gudvangen Fjord.  We cruised several fjords by using the impressive car ferry system there.  This was a pretty reasonable way to see these impressive formations.




We spent one full day trekking the expansive Dovrefjell National Park, searching for the wild Musk Ox herds that now populate the region.  We had great luck finding the Musk Ox but equally enjoyed the amazing trek through the tundra of the park.


While cruising through Fjordland one day, we came across a lovely town named Ardal.  There we found a museum that specialized in Salmon ecology and they had a viewing portal that allowed close-up views of actual wild Atlantic Salmon working their way upstream!  We lucked out and caught a migration in progress!  Wow!




A Tundra Toad seen in the tundra of Dovrefjell National Park.



One of the 20+ Musk Ox we sighted in Dovrefjell National Park.  This is a reintroduced herd that is doing very well now in the wilds of this immense tundra ecosystem.



While traveling the Fjordland region of Norway, we found many places to trek and enjoy the stunning scenery.  Here was one of our many spectacular lunch spots on this road trip.



Cokie doing some rock climbing in Fjordland Norway.



One of the highpoints of our stay in Oslo was the visit to the Viking Museum which houses impressive examples of Viking artifacts.



Quaint Ardal Town, one of the many lovely Norwegian towns we experienced.



A spectacular view of Aurlandfjord.



The midieval Borgund Stave Church was something right out of Lords of the Rings!  We stopped at many Stave Churches while driving this section of Norway.

Click here for our complete species lists for Scandinavia

Click here for more amazing images of Scandinavia