The night brought mighty gusts of wind down the fjord, which could also be written to say that we didn't sleep a bit. By early morning, the rain followed and I rushed outside to gather in Ben's wet hiking clothes (read:basically all his clothes) so that he'd have something to wear today. Then, still chilled from a long day of cold and rain yesterday, I crawled back in bed next to Ben and fell back asleep.
Our indulgent morning of slumber was well needed, but it did mess up our plans a bit. We'd intended to get up early and go on, as Ben called it, a “walk” which actually entailed riding our bikes for seven kilometers to a trailhead, walking straight up the fjord wall for roughly four hours, riding seven kilometers back and packing up camp, hopefully all before the campground's checkout at noon.
Since we didn't even leave camp until ten, noon was out of the question, but we didn't figure anyone at our quiet campground would pay us much notice, so out we went. Our route to the trailhead included a section of tunnel which we could bypass by a now-abandoned road. Unfortunately, the bypass would be more of a bike hike, getting off to push our bikes over rock slides a number of times along the way. That sounded like too much effort, so instead, after noting that no one was on the road anyway, we blazed right into the nearly two kilometer long tunnel.
The morning was cold to begin with, but the inside of the tunnel was especially chilly and damp. I was grateful to be wearing pretty much all my layers, the hood of my rain jacket pulled tight under my helmet. Thankfully, it was also well lit and we only ever encountered one car. Riding at quick pace, we were out the other side in minutes. Soon, we found the trailhead and locked up the bikes to begin our hike.
This particular hike climbed directly up the side of the fjord walls affording us stunning views all the way, offering Ben a bit of redemption after such a cloudy day of hiking yesterday. The rain clouds were still riding low against the mountains, but we figured we'd hike until our visibility was compromised and then turn back. Up and up and up we hiked, my quads and calves burning as we danced our way over rocks and roots, sand and mud.
Around every narrow switchback, our panorama grew wider and deeper. We climbed and climbed, the trail then twisting into a cloak of misty rain, the tall soaked grass slithering across our legs until our shoes and pants were completely soaked.
The trees that had lined the trail eventually faded away until our path crossed through a deadly grassy slope, any misstep sure to send us tumbling down the mountainside and into the fjord. It might have seemed only a bit precarious, but as the trail turned to mud, the rocks filmed with slick sand, our going slowed down, our eyes fixed downward as we set our footing with a bit more precision.
Though our visibility was slowly being swallowed by the cloud we were ascending right into, we just kept walking. I kept telling Ben, “we'll just go for five more minutes,” my default for when I know it is time to go back but just can't bring myself to call it a day. As it always does, five turned ten turned to fifteen until finally we could barely make out the water below us. Rain was falling faster now, and we determined it best to call it a day before the trail became impassable. We had nearly completed the hike anway.
The descent took longer than the way up as we carefully picked our way down the most stable looking bits of trail. Despite my reluctance to get outside and be cold this morning, I was happy to be on a hike, my blood pumping and my cheeks warm with exertion.
Finally, our bikes came into view. We hopped on our trusty steeds, whipped back through the tunnel and arrived at camp at 2:40. No one paid us any mind as we finished packing up and took off headed towards the ferry.