These boots were made for walking

 I must admit that I have been neglecting my home country as a travel destination, so my girl and I decided it was time to see more of Norway. So we googled “travel in Norway”, checked out some pictures, and decided to take a weekend hike to Trolltunga (The Trolls Tongue). Here is our little travel blog.

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When we (Wendy) picked out our travel destination I knew it would be a challenging hike, she on the other hand thought it would be an hours walk in semi flat terrain. I will add the TripAdvisor page for Trolltunga here so you can read other peoples account of the hike.
When Wendy realized it would be a minimum of five hours – one way – in steep mountain terrain she freaked for a second and realized she would need proper walking boots. By Wednesday she had bought and started to break in her new boots, and Friday afternoon we started our trip by driving to Odda in the Hardangerfjord in western Norway. Right after Wendy finished her shift I picked her up and we crossed the mountain plateau of Hardangervidda –  which is beautiful in itself. By nightfall we reached Odda where we rented a small room for the night. Easy enough.

The trek

The next day we got up at six A.M. and were on our way by quarter to seven. We reached the parking lot closest to the trail at seven and we started our trek at seven twenty. By seven thirty we knew we were in trouble.
The first kilometer is basically scrambling a straight ascend on a mix of rocky stairs and tree roots. The first 200 meters almost had us, but luckily we announced our travels on Facebook and could not give up so easily and face ridicule, so we scrambled on.
When we reached the one kilometer marker we knew the hard parts were over, from here it would be all smooth sailing if we would believe the online reviews. At the three kilometer marker it all started again. A steep ascend up a rocky path, several trails, and nothing that lead us towards the easiest path up.
After conquering the first two ascends the next portion of the trail was fairly easy and we actually ahd time to enjoy the hike without fearing that we would caugh our lungs out from exhaution.

ColdWarm

The weather was a perfect hiking mix of moderate temperatures of around 15C and overcast skies. The warmth of the sun and the cool breeze kept us fairly comfortable. The snow was melting on the peaks, and beautiful little streams appeared everywhere. This also made the trail a bit challenging in some places as the meltwater turned dirt to mud and grasslands to bogs, but that was all okay as the scenery was stunning.
We walked through mountain forest areas with short lush trees, we walked through barren mountain peaks, we walked through grassy hillsides, and we even walked through quite a bit of snow.
June must be the perfect month to hike in this area if you would like to see the mountains dressed in all sorts of colors. We will probably judge that again as we hopefully will be back in fall with a tent.

The tongue

You will not see the structure itself until it is right there in front of you. From a few kilometers away you can see a gathering of people, but the tongue is hidden between two rocky outcrops in the mountain.
When you see the tongue for the first time it is something quite special. Situated at 1100 meters above sea level and with a vertical drop of 700 meters to the lake below.
Surrounded by snowy peaks, green hillsides and the beautiful clear blue lake below it is breathtakingly beautiful.
I am not great with hights. But dammit, when I have walked for almost six hours I am not leaving without a shot of me on that ledge. And boy am I glad I went out there. The view is the best I have ever experienced, and the feeling of standing a few feet from a seven houndred meeter “splat” is awesome.
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The hard part

After spending about an hour at the structure we headed back down. We wanted to use less than five hours down so that we could be back at the parking lot by seven P.M. and reach Bergen around ten. What we did not take in to account was that the way down is just as hard, or maybe even harder than the hike up. The steep and rocky terrain takes a toll on the joints, and when you already hiked-up all your energy reserves it becomes even tougher. We managed to reach our car at eight O’clock after nearly stumbling down the last few hundred rocky steps.
In the car and pleased with our effort and the beautiful day we realized that our GPS sent us in the wrong direction – after about fourty minutes of driving…
We reached Bergen at one thirty A.M.

Oslo has a lot to learn

This was the first time any of us ever went to Bergen, and it will most definetly not be the last time. Bergen is a beautiful city by the fjord with cozy streets, a lot of history and heaps of cool street art. Growing up right outside Oslo I have always thought of Oslo as how a city is supposed to look. Gray buildings, tacky grafitty, garbage and an overall gloomy feeling. After visiting Bergen I realize that a big city (bergen being the second largest in Norway after Oslo) can also be lively and beutiful. We spent the day walking around shooting some pictures before we got in the car and drowe back over the mountains.


Traveling from the East to the West we had loads of rain, but on our way back we had clear blue skies and sun. Hardangervidda was glowing in every shade of green and yellow you could imagine.

Returning home late at night we unpacked and fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow. It was a hard weekend, but all worth it.

 

Words of advice

I thought I would just end this blog with a few words of advice for anyone who might want to take on the Trolltnga hike.
– Leave early in the morning. When the weather is cooler and there are fewer people on the trail, the hike is much more enjoyable.
– Check the weather reports. The weather changes quickly in the mountain so be sure to check the reports and bring some warm clothing.
– Stay on top of the mountain in a tent or spend the next night close to Skjeggedal or Odda. Traveling all the way to Bergen after the hike was exhausting. Spare yourself the hassle and just spend one more night in the surrounding.
– Do not carry a 500mm lense unless you are there specifically to look for wildlife. It is BLOODY heavy.
– Plan a bit in advance. Do not make our mistake of planning it all in an evening, it seldom works out perfectly.

– Enjoy! Take your time and enjoy the hike. Hardanger is a beautiful spot in our little country.

 

 

Cheers

Joe

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