Thursday, June 10, 2010

Camp Trollfjorden, Day 1

Our family enjoyed ourselves so much last summer at Norwegian camp that we decided to go again this year.  Camp Trollfjorden ["the troll inlet"] is one of several language and cultural camps offered in our district of the Sons of Norway.  It's open to children and adults alike, and it's held at Lake Metigoshe, ND at the Lakeside Christian Center, a retreat facility operated by Metigoshe Ministries.  That's about a five-hour drive for us, but we left even earlier so there'd be time for exploration of some sites and cities along the way.

Our drive there took us through Beulah, Pick City, Riverdale, Coleharbor, and Max before we reached Minot, where we stopped for dinner (at Ruby Tuesday--delicious!).  Magnificent Lake Sakakawea is a high point of this route.  We could see it over the hilltops along the road from Beulah Bay to Pick City; and we could see it directly in all its glory as we drove over Garrison Dam between Pick City and Riverdale and again as we drove on Hwy 23, which divides Lake Sakakawea from Lake Audobon just north of Coleharbor.

Isn't this a fun sign?  It is meant to suggest the voyage of Lewis, Clark, Sakakawea, et al.  It marks the entrance to Beulah Bay from Hwy 1806.

Here Susan and the girls pose by the surge tanks and powerhouse of Garrison Dam with the Missouri River behind them.  Garrison Dam is the fifth-largest earthen dam in the world.

And here I am with the girls on the north side of Garrison Dam with Lake Sakakawea behind us.  It is the third-largest reservoir in the country.

We drove north out of Minot; and when Hwy 83 jagged to the east, we continued north on Hwy 256 and then traveled east on Cty Rd 6 through Westhope, past Landa and Roth, and through Souris.  I'm sure we raised some residents' eyebrows as we slowly drove up and down the streets of Westhope and Souris, checking out the businesses, parks, and homes both impressive and neglected.  But, hey, we had never been to those towns before and may never return, so we wanted to see what they had to offer--which, as it turns out, happens to be attractive welcome signs:

Just west of Westhope is this flag display posted on some rancher's fence beside the road.  What a coincidence that we were en route to a Norwegian camp and saw the Norwegian flag (between the Canadian and North Dakotan flags) flying along the way!

East of Souris, we drove north on Hwy 14 and then east on Hwy 43 headed for Lake Metigoshe and our camp.  But first I wanted to stop at Mystical Horizons, a five-year-old roadside attraction that I had read about: "the Stonehenge of the prairie."  It had a large metal sundial set into pavers marked with Roman numerals that, on a non-overcast day, would have indicated the time; a long metal sighting tube for viewing the North Star; stone-and-cement structures set up to mark the solstices and equinoxes; and a border of large boulders surrounding it all.

Just before we found the Mystical Horizons attraction, we saw this metal sculpture on the north side of the highway.

These Stonehenge-ish structures have vertical slits that cause the sun to cast lines in some particular way during the solstices and equinoxes.  I'm not sure about the details, really; there is absolutely no explanatory information posted at the site itself, as we're used to finding at most roadside attractions.

Here is the sundial.

When one turns onto the west end of Hwy 43, one is entering the Turtle Mountains.  Mystical Horizons is just a few miles into the mountains and offers spectacular views.  Here are the girls posing on one of the boulders at the site with lush trees stretching to the south as far as the eye can see.

Our next stop was Camp Trollfjorden, where we greeted familiar faces from last summer, checked in and chose Norwegian names to use for the weekend (Susan's: Grete; mine: Magnus), and brought our belongings to our assigned rooms.  Unlike last year, when I was in a bunk room with other men and Susan was in a bunk room with other women, this summer Susan and I were roommates!  We still slept in bunk beds built into the walls across the room from each other, but at least we were in the same room.  Our daughters met their roommates and got set up in their rooms in the girls' sleeping quarters.

We ate kveldsmat ["supper"], which included lapskaus [a stew], grovt brød ["whole-grain bread"], salat ["salad"], and lefse [a soft flatbread made from potatoes].  Then we had a tour of the craft options available to choose from (the daily schedule includes sessions to learn the Norwegian language and other sessions to learn a Nordic craft).  We ended the night with ethnic dancing, relearning the hazy details of the dances that we did at camp last summer.  It's good to be back!

P.S.  Compare the first day of camp this summer to last year's Day 1.


  1. My parents live up in the turtle mountains and right after that mystical horizons opened up we went over and were very confused but I always figured they'd of added some sort of signage to explain what's going on. Kind of disappointing to know they haven't!

  2. It is amazing how one can work up a sweat doing folk dancing! If they offered THAT class at the WRCC, I'd definitely go :-)