Yet another of my pictures from a university trip in 1970 to East Greenland.
We had left the shores of Scoresby Sund to walk the 120 miles or so back to our base at Mestersvig. The first part of the journey back was to follow the huge Schuchert Valley north. This valley is several miles wide and in spring would contain a massive torrent of water from melting ice in the mountains above: in August, when this picture was taken, the river was almost down to a trickle.
After a 20 to 25 mile hike up the valley, we spied this hut - the Lomso Hut - about 1500 feet up on the east side of the valley. It was a very welcome sight and a very restful place to spend a night after a long trek - much more comfortable than the tent we were carrying.
Huts such as this existed in several places in Scoresbyland and had been left by mining prospectors. The huts had obviously been quite quickly erected but had clearly withstood horrendous winter conditions for many years. The area is rich in ores such as galena, a rich source of lead, copper ores and ores of rarer metals such as uranium and a lot of prospecting had taken place over the years. The huts had been left and it was considered perfectly in order by the authorities that trekkers such as us be allowed to take what provisions they required for their purpose. Both myself and my fellow-student had become dedcidedly jaded by a diet of oatmeal, dried fruit and bully beef and were delighted to feast on a massive tin of pineapple rings we found in the stores!
A rather disturbing twist to the story is that I, in search of more goodies, took a walk around the back of the hut that evening to do some exploring: there I found a door to a small room. The room was in darkness for, although the sun does not set at this time of year, it does become a little dim in the evenings and I had to strike some matches in order to see the contents of the room. Some large gallon glass liquid-containing jars stood on shelves at the back of the room and boxes of things like candles lay across the floor with some of these "candles" strewn about the place. I picked one up and noted, in the light of the match I had struck, the word, "NOBEL". It took me a few seconds to realise what these "candles" were. Naturally, I came out quick and decided not to strike any more matches. In the light the following morning, it was clear that the boxes of "candles" were dynamite and the large glass jars contained nitroglycerine. I was quite lucky that day.
The picture was, like the others in this series, taken on Kodachrome 64 with my old Edixa Prismat. The slide has been scanned. I have done a little processing of the image - mainly in an attempt to remove 37 years' worth of fluff and dust. In the picture, the Schuchert Glacier, at the top of the valley, can be seen above this wonderful cosy hut. Home Sweet Home indeed!
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morgue80 (78) 2007-05-14 18:07
Great story to go with a great image, I'd love to visit this little place, what an amazing find.
diegoenfrance (231) 2007-05-14 18:27
great story john and how lucky you were!
thanks for sharing!
renerob (601) 2007-05-17 11:18
Well you certinly tell a good story and take a good photo, but my advise to you is don't play with matches, you certinly have been lucky, i have enjoyed looking at your photo and reading your notes, you could write a book John.
dougie (2966) 2007-05-22 4:25
I thought at first that this was an overturned caravan. Quite a story. The landscape in the background looks impressive and I can imagine what a welcome sight initially this must have been. Excellent. Thanks.
speedymanu (3701) 2012-04-17 7:13
Quite a terrific story, especially the part concerning the special candles.
I also like the straight forward composition which documents very well this type of hut.
Thanks a lot for sharing this part of your history,