We leave Femundsmarka National Park, where we spent the previous few days, and think about how to use the remaining time in Norway. Even on Femundsmarka's not high hills the first snow is falling and the colourful autumn is leaving quite quickly. It is fairly certain that the higher two-thousanders will be covered in snow by now. It could work out that the peaks will be white while autumn recedes in the valleys. So where to? Jotunheimen, Dovrefjell, Rondane?
I've had my eye on an easily accessible valley in Rondane for a while, so this is where we're heading. The Døråldalen valley cuts into the mountain range from the northeast, so it's relatively close to the road from Femundsmark. Only the weather forecast looks a bit scary even by Norwegian standards: temperatures just above freezing and rainfall in the tens of millimetres. Across the country over the next few days.
But Døråldalen welcomes us with sunshine. And, to our surprise, a colourful autumn. Could it be that the lower plains of Femundsmark are colder than some of Norway's highest mountains? But appearances are deceiving, the strong and cold winds quickly exhaust us and bring tears to our eyes.
Particularly at the Dørålstjørnin lakes, which immediately caught my eye with their good potential for photos with mountain reflections, the wind is almost unbearable. We go around several of the larger lakes, with truly snow-capped peaks towering over them. The local panorama of the Høgronden, Midtronden and Digerronden mountains is one of the most famous sights in Rondane, if not all of Norway. Despite the large lakes, however, it looks a bit empty, lacking trees. I remember I must have seen some photo with colourful trees. We have to keep looking...
We walk around the entire site and use the maps to reach the only possible remaining target by process of elimination. There is a smaller lake a little further on, quite inconspicuously hidden behind the terrain edge. Most importantly, it's surrounded by golden birch trees all around. The wind blows here too, but a little less due to the trees and the position in the valley. Perhaps it would be possible to pitch a tent here and spend the night. On the opposite shore, we actually end up pitching the tent.
The weather is actually pleasant, it is not raining. Only the clouds are gathering over the distant mountains and it gets spectacularly dark towards evening. In this direction is also the fantastic mountain Nørdre Smedhamran, whose name could be translated as "the northern smith's hammer". It has a gentle and friendly slope to one side, but falls down a perpendicular black wall to the other, eastern side. The top of the mountain is powdered with snow, which contrasts well with the black rock and dark clouds.
We spend the whole evening trying to capture the Rondan peaks together with the reflection in the water surface, but the wind does not stop and complicates our efforts. There is no mirror most of the time, instead the surface is badly battered by the waves. Unfortunately I don't have an ND filter at hand. Only after dusk does the exposure time stretch out and there are a few brief moments when the surface almost calms down. Moreover, the snowy peaks are not even hiding in the clouds at that moment.
It is hard to resist the bluish cold atmosphere of the evening, so I click the composition until almost dark. Then the cold drives me into the tent for good. A quick check of the weather forecast and it is immediately clear that this night will be worth it. Half the sky is supposed to fall...
But nothing wild happens in the end. In the morning there are only a few drops on the tent. Almost out of duty, I slam the alarm clock ringing moments before sunrise time. What if? I unzip the cell and stare at the strangely pink landscape and clouds. It can propel one out of the sleeping bag.
The landscape is so strangely colored that I've never experienced anything like it. The camera's sensor does pick up the colour, but the result looks strange - like it's been overdone in post-processing with the white balance moving towards purple. However, the landscape at that moment is indeed like that.
The colours in the sky last a surprisingly long time, even the clouds in the east, which were grey at first, are turning beautifully with the passage of time. The overall impression of the landscape at that moment is very dramatic. But as soon as the light show is over, the first raindrops fall from the sky. We leave Rondane rather quickly, but without regrets. It turns out that it has indeed rained heavily throughout Norway that day.