At Hereiane on warm summer days one you can walk barefoot up the hill from the fjord all the way up to 400 metres elevation. The naked, furrowed bedrock often causes travellers who see it from the north side of the fjord to wonder. Why does it look like this, and why is there so little that grows here? It is a long way to the heavy metal industry in Ålvik and Odda, and there hasn’t been a forest fire in modern times.
Hardangerfjorden kløyver Hordaland i to. Den etter måten rettlinja fjorden skjer seg liksom på skeive inn i landet. Ikkje som Sognefjorden og Nordfjord – dei krokar og buktar seg innover meir eller mindre vinkelrett på kysten. Hardangerfjordens utforming har røter 400 millionar år tilbake i tida, då den veike sona i fjellet, der isen seinare tok grådig for seg, vart danna. Denne sona stig på land ved Lussand.
They rest there, all as one, the silent witnesses of Western Norway's saga of creation: Precambrian basement, phyllite and thrust sheet. In the end came the glaciers and sculptured the vast landscape. Along the ground or on the horizon, from bicycle or on foot - the landscape tells its story - and it tells it clearer on Rallarvegen than many other places.
The different bedrock types that got shoved in over Hordaland in Cambro-Silurian times still remain, layer by layer, almost like a cake. But at Kvamskogen the cake has been turned upside down.
Folds are to be found everywhere in the remains of the Caledonian mountain chain. Some were formed during the collision with Greenland, others stem from the time when the mountain chain collapsed. Few can compare with the giant fold that remains in the mountain area around Tørvikenuten, Vesoldo and Hellefjellet.
In Ålvik quartz has long been used to produce ferro-silicon. The quartz was collected from the other side of the fjord, from the mountainside above Kvalvikane.
Hårteigen, «the grey signpost», as the name suggests, is a landmark for mountain hikers on the western plateau. The piece of mountain is also a monument for the mighty rock layers that once covered the entire plateau.
Jondal has one of the country’s oldest slate quarries. Roof tiles have been extracted here since the end of the 1700s, but the quarry is much older. Kvernurdi is mentioned in a diploma in 1421, when Bård Sigurdsson at Torsnes became the owner through a settlement. Already then it must have been customary to cut millstones here.