EDITED. The post below is my first 7 mountain hike, by now I have done four. See also why Norway is THE place to get started with an active lifestyle and what you should do when in Norway. But now, to my first trip.
It was CRAZY! C.R.A.Z.Y. I just watched the pictures and videos and I can’t understand how we did it… That ol’ Estonian stubbornness? Not wanting to be worse then others? Let me say it here – I would have not finished if Anne-Ly wouldn’t been ready to finish, but yes, I decided if we will do it. My legs said no already after the third mountain, after 4th – Ulriken, the worst – they were screaming NOOOO. After the trip the scream was a constant low humming noooooooo. Now they are just in pain. So first thanks goes to my legs. I wouldn’t have made it without you!. Legs and Anne-Ly.
But some data:
We started 7.45 from the first point in Gravdal. The trip was quite easy to some extent, we had an hour waiting after human queue, cos the road was very tiny and there were some stairs. Coming down was a bit more difficult with all the mud. We got up Lyderhorn 9.30.
Second was Damsgårdsfjellet. The trip up there was very rough, it was like a wall, that vertical was the mountain, but then again, the trip went quicker. But the muscles burned. We made it back from the 2nd mountain by 12.10.
3rd, Løvstakken was conquered at 13.10, down 14.05. This was quite tough already, cos legs were tired and it kept going up and down. Right before the end the mountain wall was again so vertical that I was so afraid to fall down. But I must say, all the people behaved very nicely, nobody bumped into others, the queue was nice and as we finished more mountains, people got quieter and quieter. I wonder why ?
So third mountain conquered, we were given fruit soup and saft – juice. Now a difficult decision had to be made – Ulriken, the 4th mountain was (supposedly) the toughest, and of course the highest – 640m. And you could see the clouds gathering all over the mountain top. I was almost ready to quit. It was written, that those who get to Ulriken by 4pm are not suggested to go further, cos there is no time, well, we were down there by 3pm (would have been earlier if the queues would’t have taken an hour to wait). So we went. The road was actually easy with a steady rise (which was actually killing all my legs). But it was sooo loong! When we got higher, we were all covered in fog and we could not see down and then the nature changed into something that if you had seen it you would be so scared, the mountain got rocky and steep. And it was a long way like that. And it got cold.
FINALLY, we saw people who made holes to those registration passes identifying that we have made it. I was ready to give up. No, I gave up. I thought of taking the cable car back down (it was one of the two mountains that had a cable car going up and down for tourists). We sat down with Anne-Ly, ate some bread with the best norsk majones (Norwegian Mills majones) and an apple and drank a lot of water. My legs were done, my clothes wet and muddy and I was cold. But I decided that I will at least walk down – I can say I did more than a half (Ulriken was 4/7). And the road back was even worse then all before. It was so steep, since it was drizzling rain, it was slippery, legs were tired and did not always obey to what the mind was saying. People slipped a lot. The rocks were open and fell when people stepped on them. But then again. We made it.
So we started Ulriken at 3pm, were up there by 4pm and down 5.30. Yes, it took more time to get down. And then I sat and thought and massaged my aching legs and especially knees. And then there was a father with two daughters (approx 11-14 year old) who came down, watched around for a second and said „Now, three more to go!“, smiled and started walking to Fløyen.
What are these Norwegian people made of???
There were quite many children, who constantly kept running passed from everyone. Then I asked Anne-Ly what shall we do, she said that she could go on but she left the decision to me. We looked at the map and the good thing was that for the last 3 mountains it was not all up-and-down, it was up to Fløyen (400m) and from there a walk to another, Rundemanen (560m) and then walk to the last (417m) and then all the way down. Oh, but we didn’t know what was really waiting for us. So I though, what the heck, it can’t be THAT difficult. Yup……
The start of Fløyen, one of the tourist attractions in Bergen with a nice view to the fish market and all the city center, was again basically vertical. (we started at 6pm) But the rest was rather easy, slow up going and the base point came rather quickly (45min). By then it was raining and by trousers were really wet. But we kept going. And then the worst part just started. Now, the ground was nothing difficult, it was all asphalt. But when I say a mountain wall rising up couple hundred meters right next to me, in a fog, it was dark and damp. My heart almost stopped beating. Were we supposed to go THERE? I wouldn’t have been surprised (and basically we did go to the mountain with the similar height). People were scattered, so I was almost alone. It was madness. But it was really powerful, these Norwegian mountains are a places of mystery and extreme beauty.
So I walked. And walked. I didn’t even have a thought to think. A girl behind me started crying, saying to her father that she wants to go home. I felt quite like that too. The base point came slowly, but I got there by 7.30pm, It took the same amount of time then to Fløyen, but since the scenery was so dramatic, it felt like forever. I would repeat myself if I’d say I was dead tired, cold, wet and muddy. But I was. To the bone. It was one mountain to go – Sandviksfjellet.
That was almost like starting to go down. But it was also one of the most difficult walking route, half way we were walking in a mountain spring or river. I really didn’t care if I get any wetter or not. Just wanted to get down. It was really scary looking all the way down.
The last point came rather suddenly (at 8.20). It was in a picturesque place where we also saw, where we had been. I felt sick to my stomach when I saw it. Going down to get our t-shirts an diplomas was the last test, cas it was only rocky mountain river place again, very steep and only small and big round rocks that we had to walk down. My knees could not bend, that made walking down really hard. When we finally got to the asphalt, in the city and started walking towards Bergens Turlaget our steps were tiny-tiny, since the body could not move anymore. It was a pain all the way. By 9.05 we were there, made pictures, received the t-shirt and diploma and headed home. Shower was wonderful, it was difficult to sleep cos turning my body was really painful.
And still is. But I am happy, I think. Though I can’t decide if I was really stupid or really brave to do that trip. I did learn a lot about hiking and what to take along and what not. I also learned, that every time I thought that something is one way, it was another. When I thought the road is rather easy, it went difficult, If I thought there is a long way to go, it actually wasn’t. And like that all the way. No point in guessing.
But, we should have done differently:
– You got to have changing clothes and extra shoes. It would have helped to have dry shoes for the last 3 mountains.
– Wear tight trousers and it helps if they are bit short – they won’t get stuck to branches and get muddy that way.
– Waterproof clothes help.
I just found a book: Outdoor Survival Guide – should have read that before that trip …
Walking lifestyle – keeping you fit, mentally and physically
Don’t forget we all need time-off from our daily lives. Walking is the easiest and accessible thing to do that. Go out for a walk, share your thoughts and inspirations with me via e-mail. My aim is to show how easy it is to find little walks, little time-off-chunks in life to keep you mentally and physically fit. Wherever you are.
Liisi Toom is a communication executive and lifestyle coach who spent 9 months in Ibiza walking, doing walking tours and blogging about it. She has also done and blogged about walking in Estonia and Norway. She coaches people on finding their lifestyle. If you wish to find and live your lifestyle, e-mail at liisitoom (at) gmail. com or follow her Twitter @liisi.
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