In Longyearbyen, you could join various kind of activities, such as hiking, dog sledding, horse riding, boat trip, kayaking or city sightseeing.
The Svalbard tourism orgnizes these activities and also provides the reservation service: http://www.svalbard.net/?id=741143270
Of course, the hotel or hostel you stay surely cooperates with the specific travel angency, so joining any activities is easy.
Just as I told before, the tourists must stay inside the security zone unless you have a rifle (and a dog).
So, the best way to explorer Longyearbyen is to join some activities.
Trust me, sleeping or walking around the town are too boring.
Thus, I choose a five-hour hiking toward the glacier today.
Since the long hiking in Torres del Paine and El Chalten, I have never exercised for such a long period.
But it's fine, because the nice temperature (7°c) will support me.
As as you see, the guide almost bring a rifle with her.
The dog is optional but if necessary, barking is also a good way to keep the bear away.
We hike from my hostel (That's why I said my hostel is located at the end of the town).
The ground are covered with gravels with small steams caused by the water melted from the glacier.
Due to this reason, these steams change the locations quickly, and thus, it's hard to built any bridge or road here.
So, it's recommended to walk around here with your guided.
The danger of the nature is unpredictable.
While encountering the wider rapod steam, the guide will use the board and we also help each other crossing safely.
I don't know whether it's possible to cross directly with rain boots.
By the way, our guide is young and her name sounds like "Euro".
Because the weather is cool, I could walk easily during the first part of hiking.
The enemy is the ascending slope, and so are the stairs.
The heavy guy always spend more energy than others.
However, it's impossible to hiking the mountain without any slope.
Thus, the next part of ascending is quite tiring for me, and I need more resting time and water.
Besides, the snow is also the obstacle.
Even this part becomes tiring for me, the scenery of the surrounding becomes much beautiful.
The scene composed of white snow and black mountains is really awsome.
With the will for a spetacular scenery and the water support from the snow, I finally finish the hardest part for me.
Crossing a flat section, we reach the top of Sarkofagen at where you could watch the whole town of Longyearbyen.
At this position, the town loooks quite tiny surrounded by two gaint walls.
In front of the town is the fjord for the ships. The airport is not far from here, so the location of the town is pretty nice.
The lunch I prepared is two saussages, two slices of toast and an apple.
Drinking the hot beverage fro the guide, watching the surrounding. It's really good~~
According to the schedule, our trip continues southwards down to the glacier Longyearbreen. (breen means glacier)
While walking on the morainal landscape, we suddently find two Ptarmigan on the rocky slope.
Oh, I'm so surprised with these two lovely guys.
That is what I sought before while I visited Tateyama in Japan.
I didn't see any Ptarmigan there, but now I find two in Longyearbyen.
It's really lucky for us to have such a great opportunity to see and take photos of Ptarmigans.
The Rock Ptarmigan is a gamebird living on rocky mountainsides and tundra.
In Japam, it is known as the Raichou (雷鳥, Thunder Bird) and is a protected species nationwide.
Tateyama (立山) is a well-known mountain where the rock ptarmigan lives.
Its feathers moult from white in winter to brown in spring or summer.
But in Longyearbyen, one of the Ptarmigan is snow white while its chick is brown! So Lucky.
By the way, Lagopus, the genus name of the rock ptarmigan, means "hare foot" for its featureed feet that looks like wearing snow boots.
At this moment, I really regreat that I didn't bring my another camera with the telescopic lens.
Otherwise, I could take a very detailed photo.
Fortunately, these Ptarmigan seems not to be afraid of us so that we could get very close to them.
Continues southwards, except for the vegetations, there are also rapid steams along the way.
I've join the glacier hiking for twice before and thus knew a little about the danger of the landscape around the glacier.
Sometimes the ice might be empty at its bottom and gets crashed as you step on it.
So you may think the soil section should be safe, but the black dust might be brought here by the wind and the under is also the ice that you don't know its condition.
It's pretty hard to judge whether the sction is safe or not.
I don't know how the expericed guide will do to find out and avoid the dangerous part.
And unfortunately the accident happens.
Our young guide falls down from the ice covered by the black dust and her leg seems to be broken.
The trip get stopped here, and two of our member walk back to call for help.
Yes, the signal is not available everywhere, especially the region far from the town.
The rest of us kepp company with our guide with the peaceful and calm mood.
Though the accident happened, the situation still goes well.
As the result, we are all delivered to the airport by the helicopter (for free).
The noice by the heli runs inside my mind.
Back to the airport, the staff treats us with hot coffee before we get transported by the tour company back to our accommodations.
It's really an unforgetable experience today.