[YOUR ADVENTURE] NORWAY, EPISODE 3: HARDANGERVIDDA’S FLORA&FAUNA
For this third episode dedicated to Théo Giacometti and his friend Simon Faure-Vincent’s adventure in Norway, we will stay a bit longer in the national parc of the Hardangervidda, to study it’s fauna & flaura.
Remember in the last episode I described the very tought climatic conditions of the parc. In such conditions, it’s hard for life to take form let alone endure. On the sunny slopes, scraggy, stunted birch forests, bent under the weight of a thick layer of snow, offer attractive shelter for large, lone elks. CThese slender, unobtrusive creatures, with their nonchalant air, merge spectacularly with the twisted, entwined tree trunks on the valley floors. Early in the morning, when the icy wind blows, higher up, among the gloomy plateaus that extend into the distance, herds of reindeer, migrating west, can be seen crossing these vast, hostile marshlands. The Park is home to Europe’s largest herd of wild reindeer. These animals, endangered by hunting (their numbers fell sharply until 1930. Today, it’s estimated that there are around 10,000 in Norway) migrate in Springtime, leaving their winter pasture in the east to travel to their breeding grounds in the more fertile western part of the plateau.
Shrubs and lichen cover the ground, survivors pitched in a merciless struggle against the wind, cold and dark. A few ptarmigans flit furtively from one rock to another.
The Hardangervidda National Park is also the southernmost refuge of the Arctic fox, which is desperately trying to withstand the advances of its larger, more powerful cousin, the red fox, which is constantly expanding its territory. The dense conifer forests, at a lower altitude, are home to stags and deer, as well as a few elk who come in search of new, more welcoming territory.
Norway, a land of water, streaked by a web of streams and lakes, is obviously renowned for its trout and salmon that swim upstream in early spring. Vast, tempestuous waterfalls, wide powerful rivers, blocks of snow and ice: these Northern daredevils have to negotiate a whole host of obstacles!