A hike through Aurlandsdalen (the Aurland Valley)

Submitted by Hoy on Sat, 07/28/2012 - 02:29

This 40 km long valley once had 10 farms! No there are none although some of the houses still are used as cabins and lodges. The valley is from old the shortest road from east to west Norway and used in thousands of years. Even livestock was brought on their own legs down the valley - before 1930 though they had to take another route at the ridges due to the vertical cliffs with only ladders of rope and wood for people. Highest up (1200m) it is a rather flat valley but farther down it is formed by ice and running water to a canyon. The valley was probably inhabited already in the Middle Ages. Before that hunters and fishermen used the valley, and traders from east to west and vice verse. The last farmer of Sinjarheim died in 1935.

Pictures from the valley and the path. It is a lot of huge rocks and holes filled with water from springs.


Submitted by Hoy on Sat, 07/28/2012 - 02:51

The farms Sinjarheim and Almen. Not easy to farm here! Notice the wire to fasten the house to the bedrock and the house build under a "heller" as a safeguard for rolling stones and avalanches.

The road up to the farm is cut out of the steep rock. Some places bridges made it possible to cross the river.

Highest up the forest consists of birch and a few mountain ashes. Farther down aspen, alder and elm is common. Elm was an important tree and used for fodder and food.

Submitted by RickR on Sat, 07/28/2012 - 19:21

Wow, is that scenic!  Where I come from, that wouldn't be a valley... it would be a gorge!  Every turn in the trail would present a new, breathtaking view.  Quite spectacular, although it doesn't take much for me to be impressed. ;D  I assume the farmers were raising animals, and not growing crops. 

Submitted by Hoy on Sun, 07/29/2012 - 05:31

It's a typical valley from the west coast. They continue as fjords. The fjords are actually similar deep valleys often 1000m lower than the sea level.
The farmers relied on livestock and fishing and hunting. The crops were grass and maybe some potatoes, kale and cereals on small plots.

Submitted by Tim Ingram on Tue, 08/07/2012 - 01:35

What a fantastic place Trond! So interesting to know the history that goes with a landscape like that. Life must have been hard but the compensations of living in an environment like that... Brings back memories of a great visit to Norway many years ago.

Submitted by cohan on Tue, 08/14/2012 - 16:33

Great landscape and the farms are especially fascinating! Visible human occupation just doesn't have anything like that kind of age here- the farms in this area were just getting started when the last farmer there died, and many started much later than that... Of course earlier we had native peoples, but they had low population density around here and left no buildings!