Driving into the countryside of Norway is indescribably beautiful. I think words won’t fully do justice to the sights, but I’ll give it a try. After Oslo we left the busy streets and fancy suits for campsites near Trolltunga, a hike we wanted to potentially do. Entering the mountainous terrain and acres of green stretching ’till infinity, all three of us were just quiet. Silently taking in the wandering roads and the pristine water beside it, which somehow is always as smooth as glass. If ever you get a chance to visit Norway, do it! It’s so pretty and so calm and every 5 minutes you’re bound to blurt out ‘wooow, look at that!’
Unfortunately we didn’t plan on the drive being so long. The rumours of bad roads in Norway are untrue, or at least for my part. They’re actually pretty good, but you’re only allowed to drive 70 and sometimes even only 50. Mind you these are the ‘big’ interconnecting roads. A highway in the countryside is max 80. So we had to stop about 120 kilometers away from Odda and booked a chalet in the cutest little town of Åmot. High up in the mountains the weather can drastically change. Our cute, not so waterproof tent, didn’t stand a change against a cheap, warm chalet with soft beds and a kitchen. Turns out, we definitely made the right choice, as we clearly had no idea what was awaiting us the next day. We arrived the next morning in Skjeggedal (7km from Odda) around 10.30. All ready to go in our trainingshoes, some workouttights and enough layers to keep warm when it got cold. We had our bags packed with some knackebröd and snacks and a couple of bottles of water. We were fully prepped and ready to go! The parking area was kind of small and already full, so I didn’t quite understand it, wasn’t this supposed to be a popular hike? I walked over to the information point to check if there were any maps and encountered a lady from the local ‘I’m set up in a garage, but provide information for hikers’ shop. She took me in from head to toe and asked whether I wanted to go up. ‘Well, yes, me and my friends are planning on it. I’m all excited!’
The lady’s response: ‘Ok, so here’s the basic information you need to know. The first 1300 meters are really tough as you’ll basically be climbing vertically, the elevator’s out of service (wonder what happened there). Then there’s gonna be a dangerous area as the water is coming down quite heavily now. You need to go through the stream and the mud and keep following the red signs, not the other lost hikers. Then after 3 kilometers you’re gonna encounter a bit of snow. The pass is still frozen but the water underneath it is melting, so you have to be really careful with putholes as you can sink through the ice. Due to the snow, it’s more likely going to take 11 hours return trip than the normal 9, so you’re a bit late, but you can camp up there if you want’. Also, we’ve had 3 rescue operations in the past 2 weeks, so make sure you’ll always have someone in sight, as there is no cellreception up there. There’s gonna be other hikers around, so don’t worry about that, but it might take a few hours for us to get the message, so better try not to break anything. Oh, and you might want to have some warmer clothes’.
Ok. Definitely. NOT. prepared.
That’s the beauty of unplanned roadtripping, you never know which surprise is next. But we were there, we paid for the stupid parking and we’ve conquered heavier things in life. We might as well go ahead and do it. So, with those thoughts, we braved the first mountain trial.
In general, the hike was beautiful, or at least, I though so, the higher you go, the more dead it’s gonna look like, so not everyone enjoyed the sight. There’s no foliage after a certain heightline and everything looks grayish and black, almost like Mars, it’s quite unique. That is of course, untill you reach the snow. And let me tell you, it wasn’t just a bit of snow! From the 3rd untill the 11th kilometer it was winter’s galore. And there’s people camping in these conditions! So there we were, in our capri tights and leather gymshoes, screaming, slipping, laughing and at times near the point of crying. Of course, affably laughed at by fellow hikers who were in full gear, and proper shoes. Oh, wait, I did cry! That staircase/elevator thingy? Imagine walking down those couple of thousands steps when you have a fear of heights.
Another ‘in general’ is that this hike is a killer. Herregud, it was tough work. Climbing more than a kilometre in height and ploughing through the snow, on top of the adrenaline pumping through your body from the fear of falling through the cracks, was quite the challenge. But in the end, you’ll get shots like these and that really does make it all worth it.
Just make sure you’re a bit more prepared than I was before you start hiking in Norway. It sure isn’t a walk in the woods, no pun intended.
Ps. we nailed it in 8,5 hours!