Norway is nature’s answer to a fatigued spirit. City noise, the morning commute, waiting in line, errands, overtime hours, loads of laundry… the daily grind is taxing on our minds and bodies. “Let’s take a vacation!” is an innate reaction for some of us (and for those of you that take pause, remember you earn them for a reason), but often it’s choosing a destination that’s the hardest part. For us, the decision was simple: away to Norway!
Battery running low? Take a hike in Norway.
We needed to be outdoors, disconnected, surrounded by glorious landscapes, clean air, and unhindered by schedules and nonstop lists of to-dos. A surefire way to rejuvenate — hiking the unbridled majesty that is Norway. With no shortage of trails, feature-film-worthy lookouts, and varying degrees of difficulty to choose from, the fjords opened their bounty and begged us to explore. Challenging our office-chair ridden bums to step up their game, we championed three epic hikes in Norway. Check ’em out.
Dude. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Not only was I totally unaware of the level of difficulty (a “hard” hike per visitnorway.com) or the steep and numerous ridges we’d be climbing, but more so the shape I’d be whipping my ass into with all that lower body work.
Half way up the first ascent I looked back and nearly wished I didn’t. The first of many brushes with my fear of heights that day. But like a big girl I sucked it up, blistered my hands, and muddied my boots in the name of making memories.
“J.Lo booty, here I come!”
Feeling pretty good after a grueling 3 hour hike to reach the pinnacle, the photogenic rock solidly wedged – nay, hovering – above a fjord, it was time to take THE photo. You know, the one you show off to your adrenaline junky friends to show ’em you’ve got cojones, too. Michael went out there and I lined up for the shot. Success! I took 2387592 photos of him, then it was my turn! Except he actually went out a second time for a selfie (yeah, omfg is right).
After that anxiety-inducing stunt, I went over to give it a try. I made it onto the little ledge, then just before the leap I had a little bit of a freak out. It’s a long way down, and there’s no easy way to get onto that boulder. I wanted off. I wanted to sit down. I wanted to see solid land beneath my feet, not toes on the edge of abyss. A miracle prevailed and I managed to talk myself into turning around and getting off the ledge. I didn’t have it in me, but I’m okay with that. 🙂
Walk onto the boulder is not an option; you have to jump on it.
We chased the buzz with lunch before heading back. Another 2.5 hours later we reached the start/finish and celebrated conquering the hike with a delicious bottle of water freshly collected from a stream that would put Evian to shame. Cheers!
Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen)
Say it with me: Pree-kuhhh-shhhtoe-lenn. Arguably the most famous landmark in Norway, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air inspired plateau (’cause flat top) is a MUST SEE. You’ll definitely work up a sweat on the 4 hour escapade, but the view at the “rock” is totally worth it.
The toughest part may just have been the ascent from the parking lot, but a fair share of feel-the-burn moments awaited us further into the hike as well. And those steep descents… Does anyone else get achy knees after all that impact? The 30-something in us is starting to kick in. 😉
Some of us (cough cough Michael cough) get our kicks hanging our lower limbs over the edge, and some of us aren’t nuts. But that’s besides the point. The thing to take away here is that Pulpit Rock is a mighty fine spot to fill up your SD card. Because… fjords!
It’s a helluva view at 2000 feet above Lysefjord!
The best way to do that is to tackle this hike early. Tour buses start unloading passengers at the bottom around 10 am, so get a move on it and soak in the view without feeling rushed by crowds.
Not your traditional “hike,” I’m adding glacier trek (and a 12k kayak) to the list because I can. Clocking in at 7 hours – party in freezing rain and through a thick cloud – it sure felt like a hike and deserves a hefty mention at the very least.
Walking on a glacier is an activity best suited to abominable snowmen, white walkers, and polar bears. While we are none of the above, we killed it; like we were born with crampons on our feet. As if kayaking on glacial-blue water to and fro wasn’t nifty enough, the cloud we paddled through fizzled away at some point, along with the rain, giving us a killer view of the Jostedalsbreen glacier. Pure
TOTAL. GLACIER. DOMINATION.
We also learned 3 things: 1) Glacial ice really is that blue, 2) crevices in the glacier can run 30+ meters deep (falling into one is frowned upon), and 3) the Jostadalsbreen glacier is the biggest mama-jama in continental Europe.
How did Norway get so awesome? Mighty glaciers, for the win!
The hikes were incredible, and to put it in inspirational-poster-speak, We sought adventure and discovered something more; a strength and power within. I’m no namby-pamby, but I didn’t know I had it in me. There’s a real sense of pride in accomplishing physical goals, and knowing the only thing standing between you and the top of a mountain is determination. Welp, there I go again! That makes two ridiculous quotes in one post.
Many thanks to the fine folks at High Sierra for providing us with super-awesome gear for our Nordic adventures and sponsoring this post. High Sierra has long been the “carry on” in “Camera & Carry On” 🙂
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