An attempt to survive in the Norwegian mountains

If there has ever been a story worth telling on this blog, it’s this one here, so listen up!

We’re set in Norway, a bit north of Bergen in early August (although the photos will make you assume it’s November already, brrr!) and two girls with backpacks as huge as the smiles on their faces. We’re just about to take a five-day hiking trip through the middle of Norwegian nowhere, behind every mountain a completely new world of different trees, colours and vegetation.  It took a while to accept that magnificence as the new status quo. You could shout as loud as you wanted, the few sheep that were there couldn’t care less, and anything we talked about suddenly seemed tremendously trivial, because hey, we somehow landed in paradise.

Things became a little interesting when we long exceeded the seven-hour mark that a Bergen Turlag map said we would need to get to the first cabin. Turlag are the national hiking organisation and they’re doing a fab job in providing hikers with beautiful red T’s to follow, real beds to sleep in, food and warmth and… well, maps. It was just that ours turned out to be of very little practical use, so that we a) didn’t know how big a progress we made, b) thought we got lost somewhere on the way despite following the T’s, a very comforting thought at 11pm with c) no phone signal and d) no humans to be seen anywhere. Woop woop!

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So let’s get this picture clear: We were walking on wet grass, climbing up steep hills and trying not to fall down into those lakes because it was slowly getting dark. We were left with no choice but to camp next to one of those lakes, after I nearly slipped down a black slope about five times, and that’s exactly why you should never wear Doc Martens in the mountains. At that point, things felt a little messed up but we could still think of some fun horror stories the older cool kids in kindergarden used to tell us. Now … you shouldn’t exactly do that in any situation that doesn’t involve a warm and safe living room and lots of blankets. We probably would have started crying like angry babies if anyone could have heard it. My mum would be proud of having raised such a mature kid.

So we camped. Two people in one tiny sleeping bag (do you know the ones that are already really small for one person so that the cold doesn’t come in? Yeah, one of these) results in at least one of them freezing their butt off. That was me. At 6am, we vowed to man up again with our bodies feeling like they’d fall apart any second, and carried on praying that one of those T’s would finally bring us home. Now with very little food, sleep, energy or genuine hope that we’d come out alive, that was easier said than done. At one point, we thought we found a shack, walked there (I started crying with relief, that’s how much swag there is running through my veins) to then see that it’s the (locked) winter home of some ski people who probably always know what they are doing and would never ever get into a situation like this. So… let’s hit the road again, shall we.

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After 17 hours, we were completely soaked, physically and mentally more down than ever before, and reached the point where there didn’t seem to be a realistic solution. The way back was too long and we had too little energy but then again, who knows this bloody hut even exists and we’re not just walking until we’re dead? And then, then we saw a little red house covered in fog and the most beautiful sign “Skavlabu” pointed towards it. It took us another two hours to get there because these steep hills are everywhere and boy, were we lucky that nothing happened. I’m saying this after meeting four of the mountain supervisors from Bergen Turlag, after seeing the horror on their faces when we told them we’ve never been to the Norwegian mountains before. “You did … WHAT? YOU DID THAT HIKE WHEN YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE? THAT IS THE MOST DANGEROUS OF ALL AND NOBODY JUST DOES THAT WITHOUT LOTS OF PREPARATION ARE YOU INSANE?” Yeah I guess so. But we’ve never been so proud of accomplishing anything either. Part II of the adventure to follow…

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