Have you ever wondered why some mountains are spiky and others are flat? I haven’t, not until I came to Norway. I used to think flat mountains were dull and boring. They slowly rose in the distance making a boring outline and most often I would think they were a hill, not a mountain. However, the more I have climbed flat mountains, the more I’ve learnt to appreciate them.
Flat mountains are much older than other mountains, whereas sharp mountains, generally called Alps, are much newer. Flat mountains used to be as sharp as Alps but over the (millions of) years they have been filed down by wind and water. Flat mountains have earned their stripes and even though they are old they sustain more life. When you reach the top of a flat mountain in Alta you will first notice a lot of tracks, obviously made by the thousands of walkers before you. But you will also find trees, grass, moss, flowers and sometimes animals – birds, reindeer, squirrels, foxes and even lynx, if you’re lucky.
Particularly in Northern Norway, flat mountains mean you can get to see an extra day of sun either side of the dark season. They protect from the cold winds without casting a large shadow. Flat mountains are great as lookouts and for camp-fires and picnics. Quite often they have mini waterfalls for a refreshing drink or berry patches on the sides for an Autumn treat.
So if you see a flat mountain in Norway, don’t pass it by for the sharper ones in the distance. Stop a while and enjoy the life of a seasoned icon.