Muddy, marshy, and freaking straight uphill. Norway doesn’t mess around with switchbacks. We parked and got to marching straight up the steep slope, occasionally pausing to dodge long stretches of awful mud. Ropes saturated with dingy runoff occasionally appeared to assist with ascending rockslides which were essentially waterfalls after yesterday’s rain. Wearing our lightweight running shoes, we were being extra careful, trying to keep our feet dry, but we hardly paused at all to catch our breath
We almost never lost sight of the car, instead, watching it get smaller and smaller until the height of the precariously steep trail made me dizzy. It probably wasn’t more than 30 minutes before we popped over the ridge, gasping at the insane views. Though I’d been a bit afraid for my life on the way up, every bit of discomfort melted right away as we stood in wonder at the top. It was among the most beautiful sights of our entire lives.
Ben: Atop the ridgeline we watched as the heavy clouds, mountains, and the expanse of sea enclosed the town of Reine below. There was a slight breeze, and hundreds of meters below we could hear an ice cream truck luring customers in the town’s otherwise silent streets.
At the top we were accompanied by two girls traveling together – one German and one Norwegian. We have noticed that Norwegians are not afraid of anything (side note: never trust a Norwegian trail’s rating. An easy trail here doesn’t necessarily imply an easy trail for anybody but a Norwegian) – but even this girl admitted that the trail was a little intimidating. Its steepness, prevalence of sheer dropoffs at the top, and loose rocks for the final ascent made it clear why one family we saw on the way up had a little boy harnessed with a rope to his father. His mother did seem somewhat nervous and we finally understood why. While I was never worried for our safety, it was a pretty intense hike and put our previous hike in the the Nearofjord to shame.
I could have stayed at the top forever but the sun was fading and we didn’t want to risk the trail in low light. We made our way back down, the going surprisingly quick. Before we knew it we were back to our little clown car and headed out to find a good campsite.
We drove back during one of the few sunsets we have stayed awake to witness in Scandinavia, with the warm light spilling through the gaps between the sharp mountains. With silhouetted spires and dark green grass we made a quick stop at one of the many beaches as we made our way up the coast. We stopped frequently, trying to capture it all. The day had been so incredible and the magic stretched on well into the night. Norway sure doesn’t disappoint.
As the last of the pink light sunk below the horizon, we finally arrived at days end at a campsite overlooking the sea – picnic table and bathroom included.
A departing shot from the top: