After finishing our day at Aurland, we drove through Molden to get to Jostedal. We missed the trail-head to Molden hike and ended up skipping this hike. It was cloudy and we weren't sure if we would get the best views. We did see some pretty reflections of the fjord and the mountains on the drive.
As we drove up north via National Tourist Route Aurlandsfjellet, I started seeing turquoise and green-colored water in the rivers, hinting that we were getting close to the glaciers. Yay!
I'd seen glaciers in Iceland and loved them, so I couldn't wait to see them again. Soon after, we arrived at Jostedal Camping, and after pitching our tent, we went down to nearby Breheimsenteret, which is one of the visitor centers for Jostedalsbreen National Park. After enquiring in there, we decided to hike up to see the Nigardsbreen glacier from up-close. This glacier is visible from the visitor center, and it's snake-like downhill turns were quite noticeable. Until then, all the glaciers I'd seen were massive slabs of ice, but from afar, this one's turns and twists over a mountain were unique.
The hike to Nigardsbreen Glacier is less than an hour long from the car-parking area. It is pretty beautiful walking next to the glacier lake, spotting bits and pieces of ice floating around. We took a piece of ice from the lake to examine it from close, and we could see air-bubbles trapped inside. These air-bubbles are from the atmosphere back when this piece of ice was created, so they're maybe millions of years old. Way to feel young, huh! :)
This hike itself is very family friendly and there's also a boat/ferry ride available (you need to pay) which will take you closer to the glacier. There's a thin stream of water flowing down from one of the mountains surrounding the glacier, making it look like a tiny waterfall from the top. This waterfall made me realize were that the mountains surrounding the area were super-tall.
As we came close to the glacier, I realized how huge it was and it's blue color was pristine. I couldn't believe that this was the same glacier we saw from the visitor center! There was a loud gush of water flowing out from the glacier taking pieces of ice with it reminding us that this was an evolving and changing landscape.
We chose to not take a glacier walk tour since we'd done that before in Iceland, but even without it -- I felt humbled looking at the huge creation in front of us. How many years must it have taken to form, and how did it impact the landscape around it? Even the very rocks we climbed to reach the glacier must've been carved by it. These are the moments when you realize the magnitude of the earth's creation, and wonder how insignificant a human lifespan is in comparison.
During the walk back to the car I kept wondering whether our future generations will be able to see this glacier in this form? Likely not, because of climate change. There's an exhibition on this glacier and the surrounding landscape at the Breheimsenteret visitor center, which we missed because we were running out of time, but you should consider checking it out if you want to know more about glaciers. There are kayak and motorboat glacier tours available at this location.
We returned back to Jostedal Camping for the night, and this campsite has some of the best facilities amongst others in Norway. It had a beautiful kitchen area overlooking the water and the surrounding mountains, with ample space for cooking and eating along with a refrigerator for stocking supplies. What more can you ask for? I couldn't :)
We wanted to explore more hikes in the area the next day -- the guide at the visitor center told us about the hikes nearby including Bakkedalen, Vassdalen, Bergset and Sporteggbu most of which are listed here. Unfortunately, we started the next day morning in pouring rain and missed the exit to the trail-head. Since we'd seen glaciers earlier, we decided to move on to better-weather places and headed down the R55 route to Geirangerfjord.
Related: Check out our day-to-day Norway Itinerary for 2 weeks
Have you seen glaciers? What was your glacier experience like?