As promised, here is the trip report of the second musk-oxen in winter conditions tour. But it is going to be a short one. Last evening I arrived back home and tomorrow morning I will travel to the Lofoten for the next two tours, called "Frozen Lofoten". Which I will be leading together with Marijn Heuts. Actually I should be getting some sleep, but I don't want to break my promise. So here we go.
The itinerary of this tour was similar to the one I described in the previous report. Only the conditions were quite different. I was fortunate to have two great guests with me, with who I had an absolute amazing 6 days! Thank you guys!
DAY 1. Packing and driving.
The same program as tour 1.
DAY 2. The hike up and setting up the base camp.
Because we had already prepared the area for the tents in the previous tour, we had a quite easy job setting up the tent this time. Which resulted in us having a bit more time for photographing the musk-oxen. While hiking up I noticed that we had less snow than the week before. And of course the animals selected the patches without snow for feeding. This gave us quite a challenge to photograph the animals in a winter setting. But we did our best.
DAY 3. Early morning magic.
Just like day 3 on the previous tour, we had a magical early morning, with an almost full moon standing above a beautiful winter landscape, with as bonus the musk-oxen in the foreground. We managed to follow the herd for some hours until they disappeared over the mountains. In the evening we found four bulls which we could photograph in the stunning evening colors.
As a nice bonus, we found a Rock Ptarmigan which we could also photograph.
That evening we had an amazing clear sky, full with stars.
DAY 4. Difficult
This day the musk-oxen had moved down a valley into the shadow side of the mountain, which made it quite difficult to find good photo chances. We stayed the whole day with the animals, but only had a few short moment where we could photograph them.
When we arrived back at our tent, we had a rather unpleasant surprise. Two musk-oxen had found our tent and made it themselves comfortable inside. We had quite a cold night, sleeping outside the tent, since our sleeping bags were still in the tent.
Just kidding of course. Because the animals were difficult to photograph, we started to play with double exposures. And this is one of the results.
DAY 5. Snow
At 6:30 on the last morning out in the mountains, it suddenly started snowing. After a short walk up the mountain, we found the four bulls again. We could follow them for several hours, filling up our memory cards. What an awesome way to end the tour! Before walking back to the tent, we spent some time photographing landscapes.
DAY 6. Little bonus and the drive back.
Because my guests had to be at the airport at 17:00, we had some time to do some photography on this day too. We visited Rondane National Park for some landscape photography.
We drove back an alternative road, through a beautiful winter landscape. Sadly we didn't have time to stop to photograph, but that didn't stop my guests. Especially one of them went a bit on overdrive, when he was hanging out of the car window with his camera, while we were driving on the highway. Too bad I didn't get any pictures of that! But we had a good laugh, that is for sure!
Lofoten, here we come! I will try to post a trip report between the two tours.