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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Walk in the forest near Pyramiden

Walk in the forest near Pyramiden

Back to Spitsbergen’s beautiful aspects, which seem even remoter this year. It took several attempts to get to Pyramiden this time. In Spitsbergen, everything – well, almost – depends on the weather. The trip to Pyramiden by boat is more than 50 kilometres, and our boat wasn’t exactly Antigua or anything bigger. So, the weather should be ok. But we got our chance and arrived in Billefjord after a lunch break in Skansbukta.


In Pyramiden, we could rely on a friendly welcome at Hotel Tulipan. A lot has happened there in recent years, the standard is improved – the bar is lovely and the food is good. The old, Soviet-style rooms are not available anymore, to my personal regret, but I guess that’s the walk of time. Some life has also returned to the Culture House. And they keep working here and there.

Pyramiden: Canteen

Things are happening in Pyramiden. Here, the old canteen is being renovated.

The devonian forest in Munindalen

But we wanted a walk in the forest. Well, in the Pyramiden area, you can not walk in a forest, but you can actually walk to a forest. In Munindalen, to be more accurate. This forest grew in the Devonian, more than 350 million years ago, probably in a river plain. Then, the trees were buried by sand and mud during a flood … and they became fossilised. Just as they were, in a vertical position, or “in situ”, as geologists say. One of the oldest forests in the world.

Tree fossil, Devonian, Munindalen

Imprint of a fossilised tree in Devonian rocks, Munindalen.

There were no trees before the Devonian. (And if you happen to find similar fossils in Pyramiden itself: they date to the Carboniferous, just as the coal, so they are a good bit younger than the Devonian trees in Munindalen). So it is worth getting wet and very cold feet as you have to step into the icy meltwater river because the outcrop is a little rockwall right next to it (or just bring your rubber boots, which we forgot …).

Pyramiden: Mimerdalen, horses

Even the reindeer were bigger than elsewhere in Pyramiden back then 😉
Seriously: they had horses.

Then, the fog came and settled in for several days, cutting Spitsbergen physicall off from the outside world (planes don’t land in Longyearbyen in dense fog). I spent most of the time on the return trip to Longyearbyen holding on to the GPS 🙂

If you would like to take a virtual trip to Pyramiden while it is hard to get there in real life – check the Pyramiden panorama pages, there is plenty of stuff there!

Gallery: Pyramiden and Munindalen

Some impressions from the trip from Longyearbyen via Skansbukta to Pyramiden and Munindalen.

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

last modification: 2020-09-22 · copyright: Rolf Stange