The picturesque port of Geiranger, Norway!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Geiranger, Norway!

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Exploring southwestern Norway until July 26th.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Bucket list hike... almost accomplished!

Norway has a lot of world class hiking trails, and some of them are very tough. Our son has been to Norway, and he told us several years ago that we had better get there soon because we're not getting any younger! 

Some of them are also very popular... not only because of the generally spectacular scenery, but because they might offer attractions that aren't available anywhere else in the world.

Social media and the internet in general have made some of these trails explode in popularity over the past few years. We've got a few of these trails on our list for this trip, although we've also got some of the less popular ones scheduled. They also are fantastic, but without the crowds.

I'll give you a little teaser. Here's the destination of yesterday's hike...

Kjeragbolten.
It is common for people to walk out onto this boulder wedged high above the fjord.

It's listed as a five hour hike round trip. About 10 kms (6 miles) distance in total, but the altitude gain wasn't much more than we did the day before. However... you have to climb up and down three steep sections to get there, so you're actually doing that altitude gain more than once!

"The walk to Kjerag has to be described as hard".

Friends Ryan and Marti drove us all to the trailhead in their rental car, so Max had the day off from driving. It was about an hour on a curvy mountain road.

There is a large parking area at the trailhead, and it has been recently expanded. It's also very expensive... 300 kr ($39.70 CAD, $31.65 USD) to park there. So, doing some internet research, I learned that there is a free parking area about 2 kms further down the switchback road that leads to the fjord. We decided to save the money and do the extra 2 kms walking.

So we did that, and as we returned to the paid car park where the trailhead is, the attendant called us over. He explained that all funds from the parking are reinvested into trail maintenance and washrooms for the trails. It doesn't just go into general park funds. In fact Norway's parks and trails receive very little government money. So with that knowledge, we will think twice the next time we have to pay to park at a trailhead.

Ruth, Marti, and Ryan.
Ready to hit the trail.

Yes, the trail goes uphill!

They give you chains to hold onto.

Here comes Ryan.

Ruth, heading higher.

It goes straight up, right from the car park.

Zoomed in on the car park.

You can see the restaurant building on the far left, and you can clearly see the newer enlarged parking area. You can also get an idea of just how busy this hike gets in July and August. We started the hike at about 8:30am and were thankful that it was not very busy on a Tuesday in early June.

Ryan and the view.

Me, taking a break!

Scenery along the way.

Can you see our trail?
As always, click on any photo to make it full screen and click again to zoom in!

More scenery.

Yes, there was still quite a lot of snow up there.

Heading higher.

More snow.

We came to an emergency shelter.
"Open only for emergency."
So we sat outside and had a snack.

Can you see the people climbing?
They are ahead of us.

More scenery.


Looking down at the end of the fjord and the village of Lysebotn.

You can see some people coming up behind us.

Whoa! What a view!

Eventually, you get a big granite plateau where it's reasonably level.


Still lots of snow as we approach Kjeragbolten.

And there it is!

At some point during the last ice age, this 5 cubic meter boulder became precariously wedged in a narrow crevasse almost 1,000 meters (over 3,000') above the fjord below. It's become a popular photo op for those brave enough to get onto it! Almost unbelievably, there have been zero recorded deaths from people making the attempt. 

We watched one or two others do it, then decided it was our turn. It looked dangerous, but I didn't think it would be. I knew Ruth wouldn't be interested, but I thought I would be able to do it.

Out of the four of us, I was quick to volunteer to go first. But I was also quick to learn that it's not that easy! I got around the first narrow bend where you have a small metal loophole in the rock to assist you. Apparently there used to be a rope to help you, but it doesn't exist anymore. 

But making my way to the top of the boulder?

Nope. I couldn't do it.

Marti went next. I got myself all set up to take their photos.

Below that grass to the left of her feet is a 3000' drop.

She gingerly crawled out on all fours. 

Yikes. I was getting cold feet just watching her!

She did it!

Next it was Ryan's turn...

Ryan, making his way onto the boulder.
In this shot, you can see the ring that you can stick your finger through to assist you!

Ryan made it too!

We watched some other people do it. Some of the younger ones actually stand up. Craziness.

We also watched some other people make an attempt to do it, but chicken out like me!

Here's a video of one girl who was thinking about it...


The funny thing is that the mind plays tricks on you. If the distance to fall was only six feet, I would have hopped out there without a problem... and not fallen. We watched this girls boyfriend do just that! Here she is trying again with Ryan and Marti coaching her...

But nope... she still couldn't do it.

We stayed and had some lunch, and took some shots of the scenic view...

Looking down on the fjord.
Notice the waterfall on the left.

Ruth, trying not to get too close to the edge.

Nice to have friends hiking with us to take photos!


We headed higher up to get a different vantage point of the boulder...

You can see where they set up to take photos, and there is somebody standing on the boulder.

I watched him jump back like it was nothing!

It is almost impossible to believe that out of all the people who have done this, nobody has slipped and fallen to their death. The Norwegians call it "the lucky rock".

We hiked over to another edge with fantastic views...

Wow. Again.

Ruth and Marti... trying not to get too close to the edge.

Us and the view!

Ryan, out exploring.

We were lucky to see this peregrine falcon.

Ryan, out exploring.

Then it was time to head back down.

Some people were still coming up.

Heading down.

Good thing they have chains to hang onto.

Scenery along the way.

Almost there.

The last hill.

Back at the car, we decided to drive down the switchbacks to the village of Lysebotn. 

At the base of the fjord.

We had been way up on the left.

There are waterfalls everywhere!


Ryan has a drone with him and sent us a few shots to use...



The road we came down!

Wow!

Yet another waterfall.

I admit that I was done by the end. That was a tough hike, and it probably didn't help that we had done a fairly tough hike just the day before! In fact, it's been a while since we've had a day of rest! But we all accomplished the hike, even if we didn't all step out onto the boulder. Still, I'm glad that Ryan and Marti did it and survived to tell the tale!

We had them over to the motorhome for dinner. Ruth had made a delicious chicken curry the night before, so all we needed to do was to heat it up.

Marti, Ryan, Ruth, and Kevin.

What a day! Today is a day of rest!

We are going our separate ways for a few days, but are meeting up with them again on Sunday. Wait until you see what we have planned for Monday!

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And in Canada...



8 comments:

  1. If I stood there for a million years I would not be able to walk, or crawl, onto that rock. I would be terrified, paralyzed with fear. But that hike looks amazing! Well done!

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    1. I think I would be there right with you, I am not sure that I could even do it for a million dollars, Kevin might though! The hike was fantastic and we got to the rock and for me at least, that was my goal so I was happy.

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  2. Fantastic Scenery. Nice being able to do the hike with friends. It is a definitely a Psychological barrier in the brain that allows some people and not others to risk climbing on the Lucky Rock.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your next adventure.

    It's about time.

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    1. The scenery is stunning and it was great being able to do this hike with some friends.

      You are correct there is definitely something in the brain that let's some people have the ability to do this and inhibits others. I sometimes think age is a factor as well because when I was younger I may have been able to do it but as I have grown older I fear heights more.

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  3. No. no. no. Just no. My stomach did flips just looking at the photo of that boulder, and then seeing your friends out on it...so scary to me! I would definitely do the hike, though; how gorgeous your photos are. I can't believe no one has ever fallen off that rock just from having the jitters being out there. A young woman fell to her death in Yellowstone taking a selfie right around the time we visited that park, so I am even more nervous about ledges and edges now that I was before hearing about that. Good on you both for completing the hike, though!

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    1. My stomach was doing flips just looking at the boulder too and then when our friends were each climbing out on to it, I almost couldn't watch them, I was a nervous wreck. I am sorry that Kevin wasn't able to accomplish his climb out onto the rock but I am also relieved that he couldn't do it. My goal was just to make it to the viewpoint at the rock so I accomplished what I set out to do, so I was happy and I know Kevin was too but I also know that he was disappointed that he couldn't get his picture on the rock.

      The hike was fantastic, lots of up and downs and definitely a hard hike but also a challenging one that we all totally enjoyed. The views were stunning, It would have been nice to have had blue skies but overall the weather was pretty decent. It was wet and windy once we left the rock and explored the plateau for more views but we didn't get soaking wet so that was good.

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  4. Fantastic, so glad you reached lucky rock. The bonus for me was seeing the peregrine. Would be wonderful to see a gyrfalcon.

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    1. Thank you Vera! We had no doubts about reaching the lucky rock but we did about climbing out onto it. As soon as I saw it, I knew that I wasn't even going to try and I was totally ok with that, Kevin on the other hand was disappointed in himself that we wasn't able to do it, he was sure that he could but once he was there and giving it a try, he just realized that he couldn't but at least he tried and that was more than me. The views were spectacular though and definitely worth the hike up.

      I was so happy to see that Peregrine falcon, even though at the time I didn't know what it was until I looked it up on the internet once we got back. I am keeping my eyes open for the gyrfalcon! :-)

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