14 October 2012

kjeragbolten + preikestolen (hanging rock and pulpit stone).

About two weeks ago I ventured out to Stavanger, Norway for hiking and camping with a group of nine others. A friend I know was planning this trip with some fellow students and they needed a few extra people to fill up their rental cars/ spread out the costs. So I joined in!  It was pretty great to go on a fun trip and not have to plan any of it.   Before leaving all I knew is that we would be hiking to two different famous rocks, camping one night and spending two nights on the train to get to and from Stavanger.  I also only knew three other people going on the trip.  Luckily, the trip went smoothly and I really enjoyed my fellow hikers!
Day 1: Hike to Kjeragbolten.  This hike was pretty difficult, but a challenge that I enjoyed.  The hike was around 5 hours round trip.  We hiked on rocks that were smooth and steep and we often needed the help of chains to pull us up the curvy sides of the rocks.  At other times we walked across a vast spread of open rock.  We felt like hobbits on the journey to Mordor. Despite the differing speeds of hiking amoungst our group members (some were super speedy, some were slower), everyone was positive and seemed to enjoy the hike.  The scenery was incredible!  These snapshots don't quite do it justice.  We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day.  For part of the hike I took off my layers and was just wearing a t-shirt! That is a rare and wonderful occurrence for me these days.  

Are those hobbits?
At the top, next to Kjerabolten, we stopped for lunch and a break.  Overlooking the beautiful fjord was really the best lunch spot I could imagine.  On the hike down the weather got a little bit foggy and the sun started to go down.  Luckily, we made it back without any major falls or injuries. The rest of day 1 was spent driving over to the area around Preikestolen, looking for a camping spot and setting up camp.  Despite the fact that in Norway you can camp for free on any public land, we spent 2 hours looking for a good spot to camp.  I guess that someone wants to make money on camping spots in areas around tourist destinations, like Preikestolen, because there didn't seem to be much open public space for camping.  We finally settled in a parking lot near the sea, which was designated as a swimming area.  By this point it was dark and we were all hungry and it had been raining.  Needless to say, it wasn't a cozy evening around the campfire.  It wasn't terrible, but wasn't the best.  We ate pasta for dinner made with sea water.  Maybe the worst (but also funniest) thing that happened was when someone looked up from the campfire and asked why our tent was in the sea.  Yes, no one staked down the tent and it flew into the fjord.  Benny waded in to get the tent, but, still, most of us ended up sleeping in the cars.  In this situation it was great to be small because I stretched out in the back seat and slept great!
Day 2: We woke up early-ish (8am) to get to Preikestolen and starting hiking by 9am.  (We had to return our car by 4pm, hence the rush to starting hiking early.) We were so glad that the hike to Preikestolen was easier than the first hike because we were all a bit tired.  Plus it was colder, foggier and a bit rainy.  Hiking up the slippery rocks to Kjeragbolten would have been tough in the rain, but it wasn't a huge problem for this hike.  It was actually quite a bummer that we didn't get a great view of the fjord and it was so cold that I just wanted to hike down. 
Even with the fog, I could tell that we were at a pretty special spot.  We didn't stay long at the top-just enough to take some photos and eat some chocolate.
The hike down was fun and at the bottom it wasn't even raining.  After drying off and eating lunch, we drove back to the city of Stavanger and spent a few hours exploring the city and playing card games while we waited for the train back to Oslo. It was really a great trip. I loved our group of ten and the chance to see a different part of Norway, especially a part with such stunning nature!


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