I’ll start in the middle.
It’s the middle of 2018, and the middle of a sunny, hot day. Too hot for Norway, even in the summer. Global warming my ass (and all the other body parts).
We are in the mountains, not in the middle of Norway. More like South-West of Norway. Flying, hauling, wheezing past numerous hikers of all ages, genders, and abilities. Sander, one of our kind hosts in Stavanger, has done this hike many times, so he is setting the killer pace. Fun in the beginning, we even trade places here and there. As it gets steeper, Jonathan and I are starting to break sweat, and become noticeably less chatty. Sander charges ahead, and only stops when I squeak to pause in order to take in the opening views and imprint them onto the memory card in my camera. Ever tried carrying professional photo gear in addition to everything else in your backpack while chasing a Norwegian ex-military up a mountain? Try it some time. I bet Brandon and Gabi at The Foxes Photography can relate.
Back to the views. Here are some to make a point:
How can one not gasp in awe??
We did, and did so consistently and diligently. Part of it might be attributed to our being out of breath, but we don’t talk about that. So, awe.
As we get higher above the tree line, the one word to describe the opening views, in any direction, is: epic. Massive cliffs, chopped off stone walls, the blue sea hugged by more epic mountains.
When we get to the top (the famous flat platform, extending over the sea), there are already hoards of people taking turns in taking selfies and all sorts of photos to commemorate their accomplishment. So, instead, we get comfortable sitting on the very edge of this 1982′ drop (gulp) and pretending not to notice the many people around us. Also pretending to look nonchalant whilst engaging all of the brain cells to force the legs to dangle off that 700m ledge. Not as easy as it sounds.
We burn our mouths with the hot coffee that Sander insisted we absolutely need at the summit, passing this liquid torch between each other. Like the “Kvik Lunch” (read: Kit-Kat) that Sander announced a Norwegian hiker’s must-have, I file it under “inexplicable indigenous rituals”, and excuse myself to gallop to a nearby cliff with my camera, to try and preserve at least some resemblance of the epicness of Norwegian fjord mountains.
Our trot back to the parking lot intermittently turns into a race, dodging unsuspecting, and ever-increasing in numbers, hikers bound upwards. At one point we veer off to a small lake and do an impromptu jumping session between the rocks that stick out in the lake. Nearby, a group of hikers calls a rest stop, and I feel their gawking gazes on my back. As we wrap our bouncy session, one of them turns to a companion and, in Russian, says: “Well, anyone else’s confidence just took a drop?”.
We make our way back to the trailhead, pack into Sander’s car (parking was 200NOK [23USD]!), and drive off to catch the ferry back. We take our spot in the line, and get out to buy some soft-serve nearby. Apparently, there are some pastures and farms nearby also, so the delicious ice-cream for our bud-tastes, the epic views for our eyeballs, and unmistakeable small of manure all blend in one gorgeous concerto of senses.
This is where I would logically wrap it all up, and have the day end there.
Only the day did not end there. It was only the beginning.
We drove off the ferry and headed to pick up Kenneth and Jon. Another adventure was brewing…but that’s a story for another time. Besides, you haven’t heard the beginning of it yet, remember? We started in the middle.
Check in soon!
In the next post:
you may or may not find out all about “PUST”, “HANG PÅ”, “KOM IGEN”, and what brown cheese has to do with any of it.