Huldrefossen (I’ve also seen it spelled Huldefossen as well as Huldrafossen) was perhaps the most well-known waterfall of the Sunnfjord region, an area which encompassed the dozens upon dozens of waterfalls in the so-called Waterfall Country of the Førde and Gaular municipalities. When Julie and I saw the falls during our late June 2005 visit to Norway, it fell in two powerful tiers from a reported height of 87m that yielded enough spray to produce a rainbow in its mist refracting the evening sun (further adding to its scenic allure). Since the falls was directly fed by the large lake Åsvatnet, it was no wonder why it had such a healthy flow. Thus, we felt it was with good reason that the falls was as famous as it was, and it was perhaps the one waterfall of the Sunnfjord region that we were well aware of going into our trip that we just had to see amongst the many to choose from.
With Huldrefossen, it felt to Julie and I like the central theme was the cows (even the neighboring town was called Mo [pronounced “MOO”]). It started from the car park (see directions below) where we walked through what appeared to be the campus of an agricultural school (Mo Og Jølster Vidaregåande Skule). We basically walked for around 10 minutes amongst a group of buildings along an unsigned paved path (going against “Mo-stein” signs) before we eventually started to see the falls oppposite the river Jølstra. We continued on the path as it took us to a bridge crossing over the river. Just on the other side of it, we had to go through a gate that enclosed a bunch of cows (there had to have been at least a dozen or so) grazing in a grassy area fronting the falls.
Since it was enclosing livestock, we had to be sure to keep the gate closed once we passed through. Anyhow, once we were in the grazing area, we tried to improve our view of the falls from within this field. However, that meant we had to avoid the numerous mounds of cow dung spread out all over the grazing field. Many of these mounds actually looked like rocks so we really had to pay attention to where we were going. Unfortunately for Julie, she mistook one of them for a rock and ended up getting the stuff all over her shoe (including over the top of it)!
According to my Norwegian dictionary, the word hulder meant “fairy”, but from our Adventure Roads in Norway book as well the rest of the literature, we learned that in Scandinavian folklore, Huldra pertained to seductive ladies of the forest whose only flaw was that they had a cow’s tail. Apparently, huldras had a lust for men such that she would seduce them to have intercourse, rewarding those who satisfied her but killing those who didn’t. In keeping with the agricultural theme, it seemed that huldras may seduce local farm boys, and that if she was treated well, she’d lose her tail and they’d live happily ever after. But she could easily beat and subdue men (using that tail as a weapon) who didn’t treat her kindly.
Julie and I actually visited this waterfall twice on the same day. The first time we saw it was early in the afternoon around 2:30pm. During that time, it seemed like the falls was in partial shadow and didn’t photograph that well. However, we then returned later in the evening at around 9pm and that was when the falls was benefitting from the soft evening glow thus yielding the photo you see at the top of this page. While there was an exhibition explaining farm life in Sunnfjord in the 19th century, it was said to be open only from 11:00-18:00 on Summer weekdays and from 12:00-17:00 on Summer weekends. We didn’t take the time to check it out when it was open so we can’t say more about it.
From Førde, Huldrefossen was about 10km along the E39/Mv5 east to the town of Mo just past the lake Movatnet. There was a signed turnoff for the falls on the right. Going in the other direction on the E39, this turnoff was about a kilometer west of the junction involving E39/Mv5 and Rv13 at Moskog (or about 33km west along the E39 from the Rv5/E39 junction at Skei).
After taking this turnoff, we were led to a car park for the agricultural school that seemed to have ample parking.
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