Valldalen or Valdalen, the name that the locals used in past times, had been a permanent settlement for a long time, and later the biggest mountain-farm valley in western Norway. Since that time there have been many changes: Most of the fields are no longer in use. Bjørkeskogen, a birch forest that had grown in the valley for thousands of years, took more and more over. And in the valley bottom, the Valldals dam now keeps the artificially large Valldalsvatnet Lake in place.
Buarbreen glacier was one of the first destinations during the period of increasing tourism in Odda in the 1800s. Foreigners came by the thousands, mostly Englishmen and Germans, to the magnificent landscape in front of the glacier. Back at the hotel in Odda they could enjoy drinks containing ice from the glacier.
When high school student Arne Handegard collected plants for a herbarium in 1962, he didn’t know what kind of rarity he had pressed into his notebook. 30 years later he attended a botanical lecture, where a picture was shown of a plant he recognized: “Norwegian Sagebrush, which in Norway is only found in a large area of Dovre and in Trollheimen, and in a little area in Ry county”. Arne Handegard raised his hand: “That plant grows on Mt. Jonstein in Jondal”.
Freezing and thawing are processes that influence plant cover, move enormous blocks, stretche long mounds of earth, break open bedrock and create patterns in stone and earth.
Deep down between the stone polished phyllite bedrock in Bordalsgjelet canyon, there is a cascading river. In close cooperation with hard polishing stones, the water has carved into the bedrock for thousands of years - and is still doing so today.
How did the spruce tree get to Voss? Did the seed or small spruce plants get help from people, for example, to make it here unscathed? Nobody knows.