I went home to Norway this Spring Break, and instead of lazing around the house being thankful for not having deadlines or meetings to attend (and boy was I thankful!), I came up with a challenge for myself: 3 mountains in 3 days. Since I live in “Vestlandet” (directly translated: “The West Land”) of Norway, my house is atop a mountain and surrounded by hills, mountains, and fjords in every direction… so while this challenge was definitely demanding, it wasn’t necessarily logistically difficult to accomplish- just physically and mentally. Below are my reflections as I went through each day!
Pre-hike: Wooo I’m pumped—it is my first full day back and I am fully rested and ready to begin my challenge! I have my hiking shoes, a thick pair of socks, a rain coat, a neck to ankle layer of Under armor, a hat, a bit of nourishment, and most importantly: a couple of hiking buddies!
I feel quite in shape at the moment, so I have decided to start my challenge with a fairly difficult mountain down the road from my house: it’s called Jarstedheia, and the views from the top are beautiful! So here we go!
Post hike: Today’s hike was absolutely beautiful and I feel great! The combination of fresh snow, beautiful views, nice weather, and clean air really made me feel quite “zen” in an active and challenging way! I couldn’t have asked for a better first hike, and as you can see in the pictures, we had a wonderful time all together- snow ball throwing, pushing each other to go faster, and trying to take in as much sunlight as we could before the darkness approached. I may feel the after-effects of the hike tomorrow, but for now my muscles feel quite strong and my body feels healthy and fit!
Pre-hike: I. am. so. sore. I clearly thought I was more fit than I really am… whoops! Though according to my mom (who was trying to re-motivate me) hiking uses different muscles than the semi-flat paths in Scotland that I’ve been running along- so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised or feel too disappointed with the absolute state that my body feels like its in at the moment! Today I’ve decided to do a slightly shorter mountain and take along a friend who I’ve been meaning to catch up with- so a slower/talking hike is what I’ll do today! I am bound for Vardeheia (a 5 minute car ride away) in a light water-proof jacket, carrying some traditional hiking chocolate, and a strong determination to fulfill my 3 mountains in 3 days challenge!
Post-hike: Okay, I admit I didn’t quite push myself when I chose Vardeheia today- it wasn’t the toughest mountain I could have chosen… but what happened in reality made it actually a much harder hike than yesterday’s! And this is where I give you a nice introduction to Norwegian weather and topography: we can go from sunny and beautiful to sleet the size of golf balls depending on what side of the mountain you’re on and what the clouds/weather pattern decides to do at those exact moments… and my friend and I, while we attempted to go quickly and push ourselves, were no where near expecting the sleet and torrential downpour that continuously struck us on one side of the mountain… so every 20 minutes as we entered onto the non-fjord facing side we were required to sprint as fast as we could (both uphill and downhill) while attempting not to slip on the ice ridden path! It was an adventure filled day, and although it wasn’t the best hike, I am so glad that my challenge is moving forward and the soreness I felt from this morning has almost completely disappeared!
Pre-hike: My body feels great, my muscles feel strong (no soreness), and aside from 1 blister due to my wet socks and hiking boots combination from yesterday, I’m looking forward to the last day of my challenge! Today I’m going “off-pist” on one of the tallest mountain ranges in the local area! I have called yet another group of my friends who are super keen explorers/ climbers, and with their help I’m hoping to get a bit riskier and challenge my body and mental limits in different ways rather than just pushing forward along a set path. So here we go!
Post-hike: WOW! Today was by far the hardest day- imagine climbing trees on the edge of a cliff, hiking/climbing up waterfalls as the water rushes down on top of you, and of course some beautiful Norwegian scenery! I have taken as many pictures as I could, but eventually I had to leave my phone behind with our day-packs because I didn’t want it getting water-logged or ruined. It was incredible though- there were points where we all had to grab hands to get each other across the rivers, pull each other up rocks on the large water fall, and I think I’ve challenged my muscles in both my arms, legs, and abdomen much differently than the previous days- I feel a happy sense of tightness in muscles that I haven’t used in a long time! Today required the most teamwork by far, though in the past 3 days of my challenge I’ve been lucky to have a great group around me each day- old friends, new friends, family, and even my dog!
One challenge down- now on to the next!