The colours of Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park were stunning and we had a few great days of photography just at the end of autumn.
Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park in autumn colours
Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park is a National Park in Norway fairly close to Sweden. It is famous for the peak Snohetta, wild Reindeer, Arctic foxes as well as Musk oxen. It is also a place for solitude and great vistas. A place where you can hike in the Norwegian mountains together with shaggy Muskoxen without meeting another human being for hours.
This was my second time there and the first time I visited Norway with colours in mind. Autumn brings something extra to Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park. Something I had wanted to see for many years, but never taken the opportunity to do. Autumn colours are spectacular, but you need to be lucky to arrive on time to witness its splendour.
The Musk oxen of Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park
Musk oxen is a herd animal normally living in the frozen Arctic. You normally find them in Greenland, Alaska, or Arctic Canada. So, you might ask why you find them far south in Norway. In 1913 they found two vertebrae of a large Musk oxen not far from where they live today in Norway. It was understood they live in the area some 30,000 years ago before the last ice age.
Decisions were made and the first animals where reintroduced in October 1932. Sadly, they did not survive for to long and the small population was wiped out during the Second World War. When the war had ended a new plan was made and more animals were brought to Dovrefjell. This time they survived, and they are the progenitors of the herd you will find in Dovrefjell today.
Musk ox portrait
The future of Musk oxen in Norway
Today the population of Musk oxen in Norway seems stable and some individuals have even migrated into Sweden. Still, there are many threats as the animals in Dovrefjell have little restistance to infectious diseases from livestock or other wild animals like reindeer. There has been outbreaks of pneumonia and muzzle favus resulting in several deaths. They might also get hit by train or killed when wandering out of the National Park.
People can also pose a threat to them. That is when people do not respect the animals and push the limits. If you respect them and their comfort zone, then they might welcome you into their lives. When that happen, you will come to appreciate them and their behaviour. But if you push and stress them things might turn sour really quick, and you can get attacked. That is why I would not recommend anyone to visit Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park on their own. It is a good thing that you can attend Musk oxen safari like I did on this trip. I highly recommend that if you want to see this magnificent animal.
I would suggest that you read my blog post “The concept of game walking” as it touches the intricate thing an animals private space. It is written with Africa on my mind, but it also holds truth when we speak about walking in Dovrefjell.
Thoughts from the days in the mountains
We where really luck on this trip. The colours where still there and we happened to find Musk oxen on all the three full days we had there. It was a few great days in good company and with colours to dream about. We travelled around the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park looking for things to photo and even stumbled upon Kodak moments just by the road.
The interesting part was that when we left snow hit the region the next day. That meant we where there during the last days of autumn when the colours might have been the most vibrant.
I hope you will find some nice images in the Photo Album below. I had a great time in the Norwegian mountains, and I will get back there for sure.
Photo Album: Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park 2019