Embarking here in boats, we drew still nearer to this monstrous cliff. From this point it resembles a stupendous fortress surmounted by an esplanade. For in that prehistoric age, when northern Europe was enveloped in an icy mantle, huge glaciers in their southward march planed down its summit to a level surface. The climbing of the cliff, though safe, is quite exhausting. Ropes are, however, hung at different points, and, holding on to these, we slowly crept up to its southern parapet. Thence a laborious walk of fifteen minutes brought us at last to the highest elevation, marked by a granite monument erected to commemorate King Oscar's visit to the place in 1873.
Harbor Of Hammerfest.
It is a wonderfully impressive moment when one stands thus on the northern boundary of Europe, so near and yet so far from the North Pole. It seemed to me as if the outermost limit of our planet had been reached. Nowhere, not even in the desert, have I felt so utterly remote from civilization, or so near to the infinitude of space.
But presently from our steamer, anchored near the base, some rockets rose and burst in fiery showers far below us. It was a signal for us to be on our guard. I looked at my watch. It was exactly five minutes before midnight. Advancing, therefore, to the edge of the cliff, I looked upon a unique and never-to-be-forgotten scene. Below, beyond me, and on either side, lay in sublime and awful solitude the Arctic sea, stretching away to that still undiscovered region of the north, which, with its fatal charm, has lured so many brave explorers to their doom.
Straight from the polar sea, apparently, the wondrous northern light (an opalescent radiance born of the twilight and the dawn) came stealing o'er the waters like a benediction; and to enhance its mystery and beauty, when I looked northward over the rounded shoulder of the globe, I saw the Midnight Sun. At this great height and northern latitude it did not sink to the horizon, but merely paused, apparently some twenty feet above the waves, then gradually rose again. It was the last of countless sunsets which had that day been following each other round the globe. It was the first of countless sunrises which, hour after hour, in so many continents would wake to life again a sleeping world. I have seen many impressive sights in many lands, but nothing, until Time for me shall be no more, can equal in solemnity the hour when, standing on this threshold of a continent, and on the edge of this immeasurable sea, I watched, without one moment's interval of darkness, the Past transform itself into the Present, and Yesterday become To-day.
The Midnight Sun.
King oscar's monument - north cape.
Eidfjord In Hardanger - Excursion Boat.