Read CHAPTER XXXIV of The Land of Thor , free online book, by J. Ross Browne, on


The next morning I proceeded on my way, resolved, if ever I came this route again, to spend a week at Djerkin. A withered old man accompanied me on the back of the cariole. After half an hour’s hard climbing up a very steep hill we reached the highest point of the Dovre Fjeld, 4594 feet above the level of the sea. From this point the view is exceedingly weird and desolate. Owing to the weather, however, which was dark and threatening, I did not stop long to enjoy the view of the barren wastes that lay behind, but was soon dashing at a slapping pace down into the valley of the Drivsdal one of the most rugged and picturesque in Norway.

My journey down the valley of the Drivsdal was both pleasant and interesting. A beautiful new road commences at Kongsvold, the last station on the Dovre Fjeld, after passing Djerkin, and follows the winding of the river through the narrow gorges of the mountains all the way to Ny Orne. On each side towering and pine-covered mountains rear their rugged crests, sometimes approaching so close to the river as to overhang the road, which for miles on a stretch is hewn from the solid rock.

The innumerable clefts and fissures that mark the rugged fronts of the cliffs; the overhanging trees and shrubbery; the toppling boulders of granite, balanced in mid-air; the rushing torrents that dash from the moss-covered rocks; the seething and foaming waters of the Driv, whirling through the narrow gorges hundreds of feet below the road; the bright blue sky overhead, and the fitful gleams of sunshine darting through the masses of pine and circling into innumerable rainbows in the spray of the river, all combine to form a scene of incomparable beauty and grandeur such as I have rarely seen equaled in any part of the world, and only surpassed by the Siskiyon Mountains in the northern part of California.

About midway down the valley, after passing the settlement of Rise, I stopped to examine a curious passage of the river in the neighborhood of the Drivstuklere, where it dashes down between two solid walls of rocks, which at this point approach so as to form a passage of not more than fifteen feet in width. Securing my cariole horse to a tree by the side of the road, I descended a steep bank under the guidance of my skydskaarl, a bright little fellow about ten years of age, who first called my attention to this remarkable phenomenon. I was soon compelled to follow his example, and crawl over the rocks like a caterpillar to avoid falling into the frightful abyss below. For a distance of fifty or sixty yards, the river, compressed within a limit of fifteen feet, dashes with fearful velocity through its rugged and tortuous boundaries, filling the air with spray, and making an angry moan, as if threatening momentarily to tear the rocks from their solid beds, and sweep them, into the broad and sullen pool below.

The trembling of the massive boulder upon which I lay outstretched peering into the raging abyss, the fierce surging of the waters, the whirling clouds of spray, and gorgeous prismatic colors that flashed through them, created an impression that the whole was some wild, mad freak of the elements, gotten up to furnish the traveler with a startling idea of the wonders and beauties of Norwegian scenery.