Right then and there I should have known it was a trap. We stood at sea level staring at what we presumed was the peak. The distance and height was hard to calculate, but we were sure that was the destination. We finished our breakfast and loaded the backpacks with a couple of peanut and butter jelly sandwiches, some protein balls (peanut butter, honey and oats rolled together) and began our ascent at 10:15am. The first few kilometers were arduous yet beautiful. The sun reigned down beams of glory from its throne in space. The air was evergreen fresh and our ears danced to the rush of a nearby waterfall. We reached a small crossing point which we figured was half way and enjoyed a snack, flew the drone and enjoyed the scenery.
The dirt and grass terrain transformed into rocky stair case carefully winding its way to the top story of the house of Mt. Skala. Another hour of uphill marching led us to our first big misconception. The sign read 1108 Meters Skålalake, 3.5 km to go. “We’re barely past half way..” I whispered in shock.
The clouds overtook the sun confirming out impending doom. To the left was the peak littered with jagged rocks, snow, and a few colored jackets on people the size of ants.
“Whose idea was this?” i retorted, internally blaming Jazmin for watching “Norway top 10 hikes” Onward and upward we climbed, hands in our pockets to preserve warmth, worry sprawled across our faces as the wind and rain cut through our sub par mountain gear. We traversed through the white snow, and dense rain clouds searching for the refuge that we assumed was ‘just past the next stone pillar’. Or maybe the next one… we hoped as we passed two more. We were low on energy and moral, but refused to stop (too damn cold). We willed our bodies around the path until we saw the outline of a small house perched in whiteness.
The peak brought us warmth, sandwiches and some conversation with the others that were taking refuge in the wilderness hut. It was 2:30 pm, “halfway” I thought. Still shouted in clouds, the ‘best view of the glacier’ we climbed for was yet to be seen. 20 minutes later we slid our feet into soggy shoes, zipped up our jackets, and cursed the blistering cold. An hour later we made it back down to the lake. I was singing praises to the sun and thanks to my makeshift knee brace my knees were singing too. The problem is they were singing in a loud screaming voice to the tune of, “WE’RE NOT GUNNA TAKE IT! NO!…”. I winced often, laughed when it hurt worse than usual and hobbled my beaten body down the mountain. Jazmin, sympathetic but not holding back bounded down the final bit of the trail and was sitting happily at a picnic bench when I arrived. “No more hiking” I offered, ‘deal’ she echoed. We made it down an hour and a half faster but damn, 5 miles of stair stepping up followed by 5 miles down. We drowned our feet in the ice cold river, we were exhausted but not defeated. The day was won.
We also made the much longer, yet easier hike to Trolltunga, and the shortest of all hikes (only 5 hours round trip) to Pulpit rock. We've got so many stories and photos but I guess I;ll just share some of the extra photos now!