Can we just talk about Norway for a second?
I know this is my first blog entry and I should probably talk a little bit to who I am, the intentions of this website/blog, and possibly even what the heck I'm doing in Norway.... but that doesn't even matter at this point. You guys... Norway. Stating that it's amazing here may be the biggest understatement of the year.
Coming from the land of sky scraping trees and the chilling bite of the Pacific Ocean you would think I would be immune to some of the scenery here.
That is not the case. Norway is basically British Columbia on steroids.
In the past week, spread out between three different hikes, Kevin and I have hiked 62.5km.
The first being Preikestolen - an 8km round trip that leads to a cliff that drastically drops 608m into a frigid fjord. Reflecting on the past week I'm very glad we started with this one. Definitely the lesser of evils in comparison to the other two. Such a beautiful hike if you ignore being shoved by the groups of hooligan school kids that are racing each other to the top.
It had it's challenging parts of sketchy stairs but like any other hike, just be careful of your footing. Something I thought to be common knowledge when entering the outdoors but I guess not as someone had to be airlifted from the trail on the way back.
Next up on our hiking list: Kjeragbolten. A boulder located in the mountain range of Kjerag that is the result of glacier deposit which left it wedged between two cliffs. Sounds pretty boring till you realize it's suspended above a 984m deep abyss.
For those who don't know meters, that's 3228 ft.
The only word I can think of when I think of this trail is absurd. Just. Absurd. I would not even consider it to be a hiking trail as 90% of the time you're either scaling the side of the mountain or just straight up rock climbing. There are four peaks you must summit in order to get to this rock. "Thankfully" there are large chains placed in order for you to repel down or regain your balance as you scale the side of the mountain. But they basically just shred your hands.
Kev likes to refer to this place, as well as Trolltunga, as Norway's Disneyland. Basically, people from all over the globe travel to this one destination where you're forced to wait in a ridiculously long line up to have a 30 second thrill.
I, on the other hand, have a crippling fear of heights. Probably something you wouldn't assume based on some of the places or things I agree to do. My philosophy is, "well this may be the only time in my life that I'll actually get to do it. So I might as well."
I did not get on the rock but I was more than happy to photograph the surrounding areas away from the other tourists. And, I did go below the rock. Close enough, right?
Out of the three hikes we did I still believe that this was the most challenging. Although it wasn't the longest (16.5km round trip) it was definitely the most psychologically and physically demanding of the three for me. Not being good with heights makes it very difficult to comfortably scale down the side of four mountains. And as hard as it was getting to the rock, getting back was even worse.
There were points on the way back where I would finish climbing down and would be on the verge of tears from being so scared. Looking back, it's kind of crazy how far you can push yourself out of your comfort zone. Can't say I'll be doing this hike again any time soon, but I'm thankful I pushed through.
Huge shout out to Kev for helping me push through those scary parts.
Oh. Also. The road to the trail head? Nothing crazy. Just a silly ol' road with 27 hairpin turns complete with a 1.5km long one way tunnel.
Last but certainly not least, Trolltunga.
Now, if you know me, you know that I've been talking about doing this hike months before leaving Canada. I've done my research, or at least tried to, for this hike. I was expecting a 24km round trip; however, this was not the case. We clocked in our round trip at almost 40km and it took us about 10 hours.
We started our day with some poached eggs at 5:30 in the morning and were on the trail by 6:07am. To be completely honest, after doing the Kjeragbolten hike, this was kind of a breeze. It did have some steep parts and there were sections where you were walking across snow patches, but it was manageable. There were no chains chewing at the flesh of your hands and you didn't feel like you had blown your knees out by the end out it.
I actually didn't take a lot of photos during the Trolltunga hike. There was this one section where you crest the peak of a mountain and you get your first glimpse of the sapphire blue waters of the lake. Just. Amazing.
This section of the hike was a little over half way to the tongue and the perfect spot to have lunch and restock the water bottles from the glacier streams near by.
I don't want to say that this hike is easy because it was definitely challenging to persevere the entire length of the trail. By the time we got to the tongue I was exhausted and so sun burnt. To top things off, there was a three hour wait just to get out on the rock. Norway's Disneyland strikes again.
Overall, it was a pretty active week. We camped about 2km away from the Trolltunga trail head the night before and made friends with our neighbours - a German couple touring Norway in their converted firetruck. We drank beers, discussed Norwegian norms, and swapped van stories. Strangely enough we ended up crossing paths a week later at a different spot. We took this as a sign that we should exchange contact information and make plans to grab beers when we're passing through Germany.
Side note - the guy's name was Adrian and after a few drinks this just resulted in us quoting the Rocky movies.
So I guess this is the end of my first entry.
Cheers to blistered feet, supportive husbands, new friends, and challenging the borders of your comfort zone. Can't wait to see what the rest of Norway has to offer.