Sunday, June 14, 2009

Norwegian Camp, Day 4

Camp Trollfjorden ended today with a church service at Metigoshe Lutheran Church followed by brunch before we packed up and left. Metigoshe Ministries is getting ready to start summer camps, so all the camp staff were on hand today to lead music throughout the service. Some of them played guitar, keyboard, bass, harmonica, and drums while the rest stood on risers behind the altar and sang with the wall of clear and stained-glass windows behind them overlooking the lake--a lovely view. The floor of the A-frame church is made of pebbles covering the ground, and there are screen-covered vents along the sloping walls to let air into and out of the building. Being inside the rustic church and hearing the upbeat, modern Christian songs made me feel as though I were a kid at Bible camp myself!

Trollfjorden staff had set out cold cereal early in the morning to "tide over" those who just couldn't wait for brunch. After church, we had our final meal at Trollfjorden: vafler og pannekaker ["waffles and pancakes"] topped with bær saus og fløtekrem ["berry sauce and whipped cream"] or sirup ["syrup"], eppler og appelsiner ["apples and oranges"], blåbær banan brød ["blueberry banana bread"], yoghurt, saft, and kaffe. We resisted the urge to go back for seconds because we had plans for dinner--more on that in a moment . . .

It was a great weekend filled with learning and having fun (the girls had a blast and want to come back again next summer). We enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know better not only the other two attendees from our own lodge in Dickinson but also the two people attending from the Vang Lodge near Killdeer (remember their having hosted us for Syttende Mai?). Mange tusen takk for alt, Trollfjorden ["Many thousand thanks for everything, Trollfjorden"]!

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We were in no particular rush to get back to Dickinson, so we chose an unusual route home that would take us through towns and terrain we had never seen. We started by driving around Lake Metigoshe and then made our way to Bottineau. After a photo session with a gigantic snowmobile-riding turtle (see below), we went to Denny's Pizza Inn for some of their wonderful pizza (thus the light brunch, mentioned above). Five years ago, on our way back home from visiting my sister Cathy in OR, we drove through Bottineau on our way to visit the International Peace Garden. A friend had told me beforehand that Denny's in Bottineau serves the best pizza in ND, so we decided to try it out. He was right; it did--and still does.

The ladies pose in front of Tommy the Turtle. Here is his story.

Then we "took the backroads" to Minot and stopped at the Scandinavian Heritage Park (an appropriate stop for this particular weekend, no?), spending several hours perusing the gift shop (notable T-shirt slogan: "Norwegian Girls!"), wandering the trails in the park, touring the buildings, and posing for photographs. The park celebrates the five Scandinavian countries--Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland--and has buildings and statues to represent them all. It's a great (and free!) place, and the weather was perfect for being outdoors.

Notable story: When standing at the top of the waterfall in the park, Abigail stepped up onto the railing in order to get a better peek at the water below, and one of her flipflops fell off, tumbled down the waterfall, and lodged itself in the rocks and out of our reach. So she spent the rest of the afternoon hopping along on one foot, peeking into the buildings from outside, and crying over her lost shoe. We'll have to return someday when she is more securely shod and can go into all the buildings. In the meantime, some groundsperson someday is going to discover a bright yellow and orange flipflop either wedged between two rocks or else floating leisurely downstream.

This troll sits on an elaborately carved log bench in the Heritage Center.

Look! He's frightening the children!

Oh, wait, they were only kidding. Friendly troll!

The Norwegian flag flies alongside the flags of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, all of them flanked by the flags of Canada and the United States of America. They comprise the flag display just to the north of the Heritage Center.

This windmill represents Denmark but was built by a man from Powers Lake, ND--just a few miles from where I grew up!

This stavkyrkje ["stave church"] towers over the grounds of the park and is definitely the highlight--a beautiful building with a fascinating history. Read about it here.

This stabbur ["storehouse"] is decorated with some of the same kind of intricate woodcarving featured on the stavkyrkje. Note the grass growing on the roof! I wonder how they get the lawnmower (or the goat) up there . . .

From Minot we drove south to Washburn and then headed west for a pretty drive on curvy roads that took us over and alongside the Missouri River, past little lakes tucked between hills, and into a horizon of green grasslands and buttes rising in the distance. We stopped for supper in Beulah because we know from prior experience that the Subway restaurant there still offers creamy Italian dressing for its sandwiches. Sadly, we now know that it used to offer creamy Italian dressing. It has gone the way of the national chain and discontinued that choice of sandwich topping. Heavy sigh. Still, the subs were tasty, as were the ice cream treats from Dairy Queen on our way north out of town.

"But why north?" you wonder. Yes, going south from Beulah to the Interstate and then west to Dickinson would have been a more direct route home, but I wanted to go to Zap. I had never been there, but I had heard of the infamous Zip to Zap (read this and watch this) and wanted to be able to say that I, too, had zipped to Zap. So zip there we did. We drove through town (it didn't take very long) and then got back on the road, making our way to Richardton to glance at the beautiful Assumption Abbey there. We took Old Highway 10 from there through Taylor and into Dickinson.

What a carefree day full of culture and nature! But it's good to be back home, and I'm looking forward to sleeping in a real bed again.

This guy waved to us from the north side of the road just outside Golden Valley (after we had zipped out of Zap).

Here's a view of the Assumption Abbey. We intend to take the girls to the abbey for a tour someday. Would you like an online tour? Then click here.

P.S. No, Susan did not get an uninterrupted night of sleep last night. Early this morning, Abigail made her way to Susan's room to announce that she had thrown up. Abigail was fine afterward and fine all day today. I guess she just felt as though she should do her part to make sure that our children interrupted Susan's sleep every night of our stay at Camp Trollfjorden. Mission accomplished, Abigail and Hillary.


  1. 1. At least Abigail waited until early morning to get ill -- so she just woke me up a bit before my alarm would have anyway....
    2. Norman Fuchs, mayor of Zap during the Zip to Zap, is my great uncle!
    3. This was a fun little tour of ND -- it was nice to take a little extra time and enjoy some of the beauty of ND.

  2. Who knew all this was here? And I grew up in this state!