Locality 19: What the snow covered (Arendal)

Our expedition embarked into the unexplored forest area that stretches from the public cemetery in Arendal and into the interior parts of the god forsaken country. The weather was treacherous, with snow falling heavily from the dense forest canopy above and covering what remained of footpaths. At times, the trail felt as impassable as it must have been for Roald Amundsen on his arctic treks.

It is not always the shortest way that is the best; here, in any case, it was to be hoped that another and longer one would offer better conditions. The shortest way was awful — possibly not altogether impracticable, if no better was to be found. First we had to work our way across a hard, forested slope, which formed an angle of 45 degrees, and ended in a huge, bottomless chasm. It was no great pleasure to cross over here on ski, but with heavily-laden sledges the enjoyment would be still less.

The prospect of seeing sledge, driver, and dogs slide down sideways and disappear into the abyss was a great one. We got across with whole skins on ski, and continued our exploration. Now came the great question: What was there on the other side of the ridge? Was it the same desperate confusion, or would the ground offer better facilities? Three of us went off to see. Excitement rose as we neared the saddle.

Partly concealed in the snow, we came across what appeared to us as an ancient Indian burial ground, similar to the ones found in the Mid-West parts of what is now USA.The fact that we were not able to find any remains of human bones at the site, may suggest that local birds of prey had already devoured the corpses according to custom.

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