I’ve always had that fear of frozen lakes – you know the one that you see on TV where people fall through the ice and can’t get out again. My ‘fear’ was odd to Moose as I had never been on a frozen lake before (nor even seen one in real life, for that matter) until I came to Norway.
In the winter here I would watch so many people having such fun on the ice lakes skiing, snow mobilling, ice fishing, skating and golfing (with these bright orange balls) while I was on the safety of the bank. After seeing so many beautiful white lakes during my travels I started to long to be out there on the ice.
Since we had kids with us this Easter, we decided to have dinner by campfire at our favourite lake, Prestvannet. The kids couldn’t resist the open playground and jumped onto the ice lake to have a snowball fight. I was a little nervous at first but could see whole families trekking across the ice as if on normal land – even toddlers were training on skis. That made me relax and pretty soon I found myself in the middle of the frozen lake too!
If there is one thing I have learnt in Norway it is to trust a Norwegian’s sense in the wild. Norwegians have grown up in the ice and snow, with mountains and rivers, moose and wildlife, glaciers and fjords. They know of the dangers – they have been taught from a young age by their families and schooling about their wilderness. The wilderness is ‘first nature’ to a Norwegian.
I watched Moose make a fire with just logs and a bit of paper in the snow. No kindle, no twigs! (I must admit, I was very impressed. I’ve seen many back home attempt to do this – even in the blazing sun with all the kindle and twigs in the bush, many still find it hard to get a fire going.) With a Norwegian favourite of Pølse med Brød (sausage with bread) in our tummies we were onto dessert – toasted marshmallows!
When the sun goes down behind the mountains it gets cold very quickly and it is time to go home. The fire is put out and only covered slightly with snow so walkers-by can see it and won’t trip over the logs. The rubbish is collected and the area is cleared. Norwegians take good care of their wilderness.
We headed back across the frozen lake one more time following the already-made tracks (just in case). We were looking forward to getting home – after a fun, frozen and energetic afternoon, nothing beats home-made Norwegian style hot chocolate!