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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → In Mar­tin Conway’s foot­s­teps in Bol­terd­a­len

In Mar­tin Conway’s foot­s­teps in Bol­terd­a­len

The Arc­tic! Spits­ber­gen! Natu­re! Being out the­re! Fan­ta­stic …

That the sum­ma­ry 🙂 and that is what it is all about here the­se days, in and around Lon­gye­ar­by­en. I have spent alre­a­dy far too much time on the com­pu­ter this year, that has to wait now. Other­wi­se I could alre­a­dy have writ­ten a lot here on my arc­tic tra­vel blog.

But today is a day of rest, time to catch up a bit.

The pre­sen­ta­ti­on series “Arc­tic Wed­nes­day” was a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to dig deeper in sto­ries and sub­jects that are important to me, and the best thing is, of cour­se, to do that in situ. Who remem­bers my pre­sen­ta­ti­on about Mar­tin Conway’s first crossing of Spits­ber­gen in 1896? (That was online last April, in Ger­man).

Now we were fol­lo­wing Conway’s foot­prints at least for a short bit of is path. Con­way and his com­pa­n­ion Gar­wood wan­ted to find a way from Advent­da­len to Van Mijenfjord in the south. Due to a lack of geo­gra­phic infor­ma­ti­on (this lack of know­ledge was their reason to get out in the first place, obvious­ly), they star­ted on a rou­te that appears rather absurd today. The who­le thing ended up as an impres­si­ve forced march until they had found what they were loo­king for and made it back to their camp in Advent­da­len.

Tverrdalen, Conway

Con­way and Gar­wood fol­lo­wed this val­ley in 1896 to the end, whe­re we can see Reind­a­len. Hence, they had found a rou­te from Advent­da­len to Van Mijenfjord.

We didn’t do a forced march of 40 kilo­me­t­res, but nevert­hel­ess, Bol­terd­a­len has all the plea­su­res of arc­tic ter­rain that one needs for a day of fun: wet tun­dra for kilo­me­t­res on end, river crossings and wide, rocky morai­ne land­scape. That’s the Arc­tic!

The reward comes in shape of a lot of arc­tic natu­re, with a colourful flo­ra, curious reinde­er – many of them with cal­ves – and petri­fied wood from the Ter­tia­ry.

After our hike, we got back into the car and dro­ve back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Con­way, in con­trast, got back to his camp in pou­ring rain. One of his two ponies had run away from the­re and all the way back to Advent Point (today: Advent­pyn­ten, near the air­port). The poor bear was alre­a­dy tired of the end­less snow bogs. One of Conway’s men had to walk all the way back to get the poor ani­mal. Sin­ce then, the val­ley has got its name: Bol­ter Val­ley, today Bol­terd­a­len.

Gal­lery – Bol­terd­a­len

Here a cou­ple of impres­si­ons of our day in Bol­terd­a­len, actual­ly start­ing near Lon­gye­ar­by­en:

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

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last modification: 2021-07-28 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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