Day 3: hiking through rocks and ice

Today was the day of one of our most exciting tours: a hike through the Foxfonna glacier, a few km East of Longyearbyen.

The morning was cool but sunny, the perfect day for a walk like the one we planned!

Our guide picked us up at 10 AM, and then we drove up the hill to begin the ascent to the glacier. Just before that, we stopped to pick up our second guide, a beautiful white husky, with a gentle heart and a shy personality.

The view in the morning was stunning. Finally we got a clear sky!

There was no trail to follow. The silence around us was deafening. No trees, no wildlife, no people. Just the rocks below our boots, and the sky above our heads.

We were truly immersed in our surroundings. Something I knew I had been longing for: it was nice to feel it again after some time.

One of the entrances of the only coal mine still in use on Svalbard.

When we finally arrived at the beginning of the Foxfonna glacier, we modded our boots with grippy spikes and up went.

It actually felt a lot better than walking on the loose and uneven rocks we had experienced so far. The scenery was also something else, and breathtaking.

On our way up

The most fascinating part was the Foxfonna river that originates here and then cuts through the glacier, bringing down the valley some very cold water.

Sculpted lines

We took the chance to replenish our canteens with that incredibly cool water, which also had a great “transparent” taste to it. No risk of real pollution or animal droppings up here. The best mountain water I’ve ever tasted.

Forbidden swimming pool

When we reached the top of the glacier, we went on to the rocks again. After a while, we then stopped for a welcome hot chocolate and some cookies. It was good to get some energy and heat in our bodies.

After that we started our long and somewhat perilous descent on those hated rocks. My back still hurt from Friday’s accident, and besides, I’ve never been the most surefooted person on the planet to begin with.

Nothing happened this time around, luckily, and we managed to reach a nice winter cabin. There we had some lunch and rest with our two guides.

A raised flag means that the cabin is occupied
Time for a nap maybe?

After lunch, we walked through the valley towards Longyearbyen, on soft muddy ground which was very pleasant to walk on.

We even managed to spot a few reindeers and some birds we hadn’t seen before (arctic skua, red-throated diver, etc.).

The weather was getting worse in the afternoon, but the difficult part of the hike was already behind us.

All in all, it’s been a great experience, and an amazing day in the nature. This is what we came here for: to relax, to challenge ourselves, to really disconnect from our daily lives.

This place is really growing on me, day after day.

It will difficult to leave.