Day 13: On Top of the World
Day two of our kayaking adventure. Wake up early, eat a relatively quick breakfast of yogurt and granola, make sandwiches for lunch, and row across the fjord to the opposite shore for a day long hike.
We start the hike in a “village” / farmstead, and will wind up a valley for maybe four and a half miles.
On the way up, we passed a lot of picturesque scenery and then came upon a small collection of sheep-herder’s huts. These huts would traditionally be occupied only during the summer while the sheep fed on grasses high up in the mountains ( saving the lower grasses for when it got colder and the high elevations were covered in snow ).
After the village, we hiked by the side of a lake. To say the trail was marshy is a bit of an understatement. A lot of time was spent hopping from rock to rock in order to avoid sinking into several inches of mud.
With all of the rock-hopping in crossing the marsh next to the lake complete, we found ourselves by a second set of sheep-herder’s huts in a high mountain valley.
We were now about four and a half miles into the six mile uphill hike. The only downside was that now we had to hike straight up a very steep slope for a full mile before things leveled out again at the top of the mountain. There were no switchbacks either. We just hiked straight up.
Only five of the nine of us managed to scale the mountain from this point forward. It was rather difficult and there is no shame in having not been able to complete the hike here.
Getting to the top, however, did provide an amazing view of the fjord below. We stopped to eat lunch ( one well earned ) and, of course, take pictures.
Of course, after you hike up, you must hike down. With our legs already feeling like jelly, we started the descent. I won’t bore anyone with details except to say two things:
1 — Throughout the hike, there were wild blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries along the side of the path. Each grew at a different elevation ( blueberries highest, then strawberries, then raspberries at the lowest ), but all were excellent eating.
2 — The day before, while kayaking, I had hurt my forearm in some way. I’m pretty sure it was a re-aggrivation from over-doing it rock climbing about a month ago and I had thought the injury would go away with a night’s rest. It didn’t. It just got worse. In fact, my hand would soon swell up like a balloon and I found myself unable to do much at all with my right arm — even simple things like unzip a jacket. That should make for a fun tomorrow, right?
Back at camp it was time for a dinner of chicken and rice, then a night talking around the fire. Tomorrow is our last day, at which point we will row back to Gudvangen — at least as long as my arm behaves and gets better over night.