After about 20 minutes of fairly easy hiking we came to the first rest spot. Already the effort was worth it, the rest stop looked over the lake and the lodge and even over the smaller mountains to the sea on the other side. We knew from that point on that the trip was completely worth all the effort and all the effort to come. This was my first time hiking with a large backpack; I realized how much it slows you down, throws off your balance and inhibits my ability to go off the beaten trail to climb up more intense rock scrambles. This didn’t make the hike any less enjoyable because it added a sense of reality; this is what it would be to hike the Appellation trail for days, which has always interested me.
The landscape is a mix of evergreens and large rock formations. It was very evident the existence of glaciers and the effect they had on the whole area because of all the huge boulders scattered around and the bedrock that had been stirred up. We continue up the trail and we are rather surprised because we were hiking with a lot more people then we had expected. Ryan and I had expected to run into maybe 2 other groups but apparently this Rock was more famous then we had thought. Their were many groups of people in all varying ages which impressed us and many people even brought there dogs up to the top with them.
Ryan and I continue up the mountain (?) and the rock scrambles are becoming more intense and steeper, our packs are starting to take their toll. We eventually make it to the top and it seemed surreal. The valley below and the way the wind was blowing the top of The Rock was very windy and a light rain had started but this did not take away from the experience. It’s a strange fact that we worked very hard to make this trip happen, we finally made it to the top, and it feels as though it were a dream. If I did not have photos then I would have a hard time believing myself that it actually happened. The feeling you get from that top is so different from anything else I have ever seen in real life, it was more similar to a movie or a video game then to actually exist.
What was also really impressive was a father hiked up with his son and the kid was about 7 or 8 years old. The kid not only made it to the top but when he looked over the edge (his father holding on tight) the kid showed absolutely no fear, the kid just looked over the edge and said in a super excited 7 year old way “WOW that’s far away!” This made me realize that kids are a lot more capable then I had thought.
So after about 30 minutes of withstanding the cold wind and rain we decide to head back down the mountain anticipating setting up camp and making some tea. We were pretty tired by this point so walking down took a lot more conscious effort then hiking up did. The rain made certain areas a little more treacherous then they had been on the hike up and the backpack weight was really starting to show how inconvenient the off balanced weight was on our backs We eventually made it down to the lodge in the 2 hours with tired feet but we had been triumphant in accomplishing what we had come all the way to Norway to do in the first place so now we had the next 2 days to stay in the woods and hike around in the surrounding area.
Mood: Exhausted, in disbelief in what we had accomplished.
We set down on a bench outside the lodge to recuperate and fill our wine skins. Yup we brought wine skins for our hike for authenticity. We eat some GORP (Trailmix) and we decide to head to this very lush green area next to the lodge. In this park you are allowed to camp anywhere that isn’t fenced in so we set off to find someplace to set up camp. To our surprise the ground in this area was nothing we had ever seen before. It was a strange squishy mushy foliage that was really strange to walk through, even stranger to imagine sleeping on. We figured that if we hiked up and away from the lake then the ground would dry out and become harder. During this time it was raining lightly but the wind had died so the bugs were beginning to swarm around us and we forgot bug spray. We were trying to find flat ground with 2 trees about 7 feet away from each other with nothing underneath. I bought a hammock; Ryan just had a ground mat and we had 1 large tarp to use to make a tent.
Chapter 1: Berlin to Oslo
Mood: Excitement and Optimism
So beginning this trip we know we are not entirely prepared but we figure that in the middle of the summer how bad can it get? Before getting into this I was only really worried about traveling and making our schedule but as it turned out that was the easy part.
We flew out of Berlin with no problems getting through security with all of our camping gear. European security was much more pleasant then in the U.S. Ryan had to take the cooking stove out of his bag to show them is wasn’t a bomb but other then that no problems. There are 2 airports in Oslo Norway so the one we flew into was very far south of the city and the other airport is far north of the city. We jumped on the first bus to the bus terminal in the center of Oslo where we could catch a second bus to other airport. Interesting part about Norway that I didn’t think about is that it is basically as north as Alaska. We arrived in the first airport around 10:30pm and the sun was setting. We got to the bus terminal around 11:30pm and the sun was still setting. We lucked out and grabbed the last bus to the northern airport, which we arrived in around 12:15am and the sun was still setting. This made the experience surreal because there was no sense of time.
Chapter II: Night in the airport
Mood: Tired but excited
First ever experience of sleeping in a public space which was strange. All the comfortable seats and benches were taken so we just picked a spot on the marble floor. As you can imagine the floor was cold so after about 1 hour we got up and tried to find somewhere else. We found a spot that had flooring that was recycled tires so it was a bit softer and warmer then the marble. That didn’t last long anyway, around 5:30 am I had enough and we got up and got some coffee and rolls. Their rolls were like hamburger buns with chocolate chips in them, kind of weird but pretty good at 5am. Paid 30 kroner for the coffee and rolls before we realized that 30 kroner = $5 so we discovered that Norway is expensive.
We made out flights no problem and we flew from Oslo to Stavanger in about 40 minutes. This trip was many short trips, no flight, bus, or ferry was over an hour but there were a lot of them.
Stavanger was very quaint little fishing town that seemed to be thriving on tourist now due to people coming through to visit Preachers Rock. We picked up the rest of the camping gear that we needed so we were set to spend 2 nights in the woods of Norway. From Stavanger we took a ferry to Tau Norway where we took another bus to the base camp of Preachers Rock. The base had a souvenir shop, some restrooms and a lodge. The lodge was very cool, it was modern but used mostly wood so it was earthy and warm. We arrive at the lodge around 3:15 I believe and we started hiking up to Preachers rock (I am just going to call it The Rock from now on). The hike to The Rock takes 2 hours in each direction so with our full packs and full optimism we start heading up the path. The beginning was fairly steep but not too bad with some smaller rock scrambles but this wasn’t a problem for our fresh legs.
I have failed to mention that the weather has been overcast and a bit chilly the whole time we were in Norway during this time. Also due to the overcast and seemingly stationary sun it was very difficult to track time. After about 20 minutes of fairly easy hiking we came to the first rest spot. Already the effort was worth it, the rest stop looked over the lake and the lodge and even over the smaller mountains to the sea on the other side. We knew from that point on that the trip was completely worth all the effort and all the effort to come. This was my first time hiking with a large backpack; I realized how much it slows you down, throws off your balance and inhibits my ability to go off the beaten trail to climb up more intense rock scrambles.
Join our heros next time for another exciting installment of The Great Norwegian Adventure!
I’ll be back Tuesday to update the blog which I have been neglecting.