Before I really begin this post, I have something I want to say. Ron and I are 49 years old. We will be 50 in just a few months. We are NOT fit people. I need to lose weight .... at least 20 pounds. 2 weeks ago when we were in Naples, I fell off of a sidewalk and twisted the ligaments in my right knee and jammed my wrist (actually I found out later that I had fractured it in 2 places!!!). I am CLUMSY! Absolutely no one that knows me was a bit surprised that I fell off of a sidewalk. We have 2 grandsons and our first granddaughter will be arriving next month. My reading glasses have a strength of +3.50. I am terrified of heights. Why am I telling you this? Because if I can do this, literally, ANYONE can. Trust me .... ANYONE (well, as long as you have some level of mobility). In fact, we saw 5 dogs, a pregnant lady, a man with a baby (maybe about a year old) in a back pack, a child around 4 or 5 and one person doing it totally barefoot.
At the beginning of the climb there is a sign that says this will take 5 hours. 2 1/2 hours each way. Since this is a 2+ hour drive from our house, we decided to go up the night before. I wanted to plan on 5 hours each way. I planned to go slow. My only goal was to get up those mountains. I did not care how long it would take. Below I will document my journey. Yes, there are probably too many pictures. That's because I want to remember every detail of this trip when I am 100 years old. I will probably never do this climb again. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And I am glad I decided to do it! (Actually, as of July 2013 I have now done this a total of 3 times. I have updated pictures of me on the rock at the end of the blog.)
We left the bed and breakfast in Lysebotn on Friday morning at 08.19. We arrived in the parking lot of the Eagle's Nest (Øygardsstøl) and had to pay for our ticket to park. It was 100 NOK (coins only!) for all day.
Oh boy, here we go.
Here is the sign, and I will show different sections of it separately so you can make it out.
And so it begins ....
We start off walking across from the parking lot of the restaurant, following the T (these marks are used by the Norwegian Trekking Association to mark trails...) that we find on rocks. Immediately, we come across sheep. I think they wanted to laugh at me.
And we start climbing. Very glad for the chains to pull myself up the steep rocks.
I stop for a quick glance back to the parking lot .... I'm already wondering what in the world I am doing but since I said I was going to try, I have to at least try.
Can you see the chains up at the top?
This might help.
It's going to be a long day. :)
Finally we get to the top of the first mountain. It has taken us 33 minutes and 35 seconds to go 761 meters. We are currently 825 meters above the fjord (which is at sea level). Seemed like a lot longer than that.
Now it is time to start down the first mountain - but first a look at the next mountain (some of you may think of it as a hill, but to me, it is a mountain).
And down we go.
Ron is saying, all you need to do is make it to that point!
Keep going down ....
Time to start up mountain #2. Along the hike we come across water, snow, mud ....
And the next thing we know, people (guys and gals) are passing us with big backpacks.
Finally, I worked up the nerve to ask them if that was a parachute on their back. Yep! They are climbing up and then base jumping off of the cliff. One of the guys said "You couldn't pay me to walk back down this mountain". Funny .... you couldn't pay me to jump off of it! We decide to try and go a little faster. They said they start jumping at 11.00 - there were around 20 of them so we weren't sure how long it would take them all to jump.
And we keep climbing ...
And climbing ...
Oh brother .... now we are being passed by a little kid. We chatted with them for a bit too. They had just done Preikestolen the day before. In case you missed my post about that hike, you can find it here - Preikestolen. Could they have said anything else that could have made me feel worse by being passed by a little kid?
And, here is me. You will notice that I have different coats on at different times. One of the sayings I love about Norway is "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing", so we were prepared. Layers, layers, layers.
At least I could squeeze through these rocks. Only thing that made me feel good. :)
And now we are at the top of mountain #2. Total time so far, 1 hour, 28 min and 43 seconds to go 1.9 km. And we are now 890 meters above the fjord.
Now we start heading down.
And we are finally down mountain #2. 1 hour, 40 min and 1 second to go 2.18 km.
I was told by quite a few people, that the first mountain is the hardest. They lied. For me, this last one was the hardest.
Up, up, up ...
The town you see, way down there at the end of the fjord is Lysebotn - where we spent the night.
And now we need to hurry to get across the top to where the base jumpers are.
Every time I get tired, I just look around at God's beauty.
More snow to walk through.
And below is the cliff that the jumpers go off of ... and it looks like there are still a couple of people there. It is 1 km straight down to the water.
And I am exhausted so I sit, while Ron takes off to the side to see what he can see.
And then I check my time .... 2 hours, 52 mins and 11 seconds to go 5.02 km.
Here are Ron's pictures while I was catching my breath. Unfortunately we were about 2 minutes late to get pictures of the last base jumper. We saw him jump, but couldn't get the cameras ready in time. If only I hadn't stopped to take so many pictures.
The base jumpers like an audience, so the tourist ferry stops and they wait for the jumpers. Here is the ferry below.
Last year we took this ferry ride and here are some pictures we caught of the bolt from the boat. Can you see it?
Having problems? Here, let me zoom in some for you.
Hmmm ... still don't see it very good? One last one.
And below is where the base jumpers land ... as long as they don't miss and end up in the fjord.
And yes, I am still resting ....
Ron takes me to look at the rock from above to show me it's really pretty big ... nothing to be afraid of.
Just need to climb out on it.
We get to it by walking through the snow. I wonder how barefoot boy liked it?
And here is the position that Ron will be in when I get onto the rock, so he can take my picture. But first he has to help me onto the rock and then race back around here. This picture will be rather large ... to give you a better feeling for it.
And this is how you get to the rock ...
After eating lunch, watching a LOT of people walk away without getting on the rock, and spending a lot of time staring at it .... I get ready. I am next in line.
Honestly, this shirt (THANKS MOM!) had a lot to do with getting me out on this rock. And of course, the support and love of Ron. I did not want to regret walking away. If you can't read it it says "Oh, the places you'll wish you'd gone .... when you're old & dying".
But ... no matter how hard I tried ... I could NOT stand on that rock. I started getting dizzy, palms sweating, thought I was going to throw up. :( So ...
I crawled out on my hands and knees and sat. Can you read my sign above? Here's a better view. When I was getting ready to hike Preikenstolen in 2009, my dad told me I was not allowed to go. I figured I was old enough to do as I like so I made a sign and Ron took a picture of me with it. Mom showed it to him and she said it made him smile. He died the next year but Mom said whenever he saw it, he smiled. I love you, Dad! And yes, I was terrified.
So scared, I didn't notice my last 2 signs were upside down. Sorry mom, this sign says HI MOM!!! (I look like I'm trying not to throw up huh?)
My last sign says "Hi kids! Can you believe your mom is doing this?!?!?!" It should have read, "Hi kids! Can you believe your mom is crazy enough to do this?!?!?"
Of course, Ron did MUCH better on the rock than I did.
There is NO way I could have looked down.
Sure, just waltz off the rock.
And Ron telling me what a great job I did. I could NOT have done it without you baby! Your belief in me meant the world. I love you!
And we are FINALLY getting ready to head back. It's been 3 hours, 53 minutes and 15 seconds since we walked away from the car. I have gone 5.71 km. For a few brief moments I was very happy it was done! But then I remembered, in order to be done, I have to redo the whole hike. Back up those mountains and back down again. But this time, I'm exhausted.
I do have more pictures, but basically it's the same thing as on the way up. And I was so tired, I didn't get as many. So here are just a couple.
We missed this on the way up, trying to get to the base jumpers.
A Dutch gentleman offered to take our picture on one of our MANY resting stops on the way back down.
And FINALLY, we are at the car and I am SO happy that I just had to do this!
Final reading on the Forerunner: 6 hours 54 minutes 34 seconds 10.91 km. Not too shabby for an old lady!
Edited to add more pictures! Unfortunately (or is that fortunately?) friends that came to visit read this blog and decided that they could also do this hike. So Ron and I have done it 2 more times. I got more and more bold each time we went up.
This picture is my second time here. Ron went out on the rock first and then held my hand as I climbed out. He said he was more nervous than me. When it was time to get off, I told him to go first and he said he couldn't .... I would have to go first. Took me a LONG time to work up the nerve to do that!
And the third time! Woo Hoo! There is now a chain there that you can hang onto to get out onto the rock.