May 2016
  • Day79

    Outtakes / funny moments

    August 1, 2016 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    This post is a bit late, but just found the draft on my phone... :)

    Sometimes, things happen on the trail that make you wanna cry, sometimes laugh out loud all by yourself, and sometimes both at the same time. Here's a short collection of those kinds of moments :)

    1: The first time I hitch hiked, I got a ride from a delivery guy with a van full of locally smoked fish - yum. My backpack didn't fit in the front cabin, so he kindly put it in the back of his van. You guessed right - my stuff had a lovely smell for a few hours afterwards... :)

    2: Hiker's workout = 40lb peeing squads. Ok this is (thankfully) not a frequent exercise, but to be performed when a female hiker really has to pee in the middle of a huge swamp with no chance of taking off her backpack without it getting soaked in muddy waters ;)

    3: Another variation of this was me, fully loaded with 45lbs, trying to take a closeup picture of a flower, squatting with my backpack on. A mosquito seized the moment and flew right in my face, causing me to lose balance and fall on my heavy back like a helpless beetle.

    4: This is the most embarrassing one: you know the phenomenon that you suddenly have to pee when hearing water nearby? Well, I'm crossing a creek in heavy rain and therefore wearing multiple layers of clothes. I have to pee so bad and it's taking forever to untie my rain poncho, take off 3 layers and... Thank God for a second pair of leggings!

    5: Hiking through a meadow, my foot suddenly sinks in at a muddy spot. 2 seconds later and sunk in mud just under the knee, my right boot is completely filled with water and dirt :)

    6: Crossing a wide river, no bridge, 2°C (35°F) water temperature, rapid water coming up to the hips, aaaaaah. Nothing to do but take off shoes and pants and take it like a real hiker! I've never really used swearwords, but this seemed like an appropriate time for them ;-)
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  • Day65

    Day 42: crossing the finish line

    July 18, 2016 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    It's absolutely impossible that it's been 42 days since I took off in Lillehammer, my backpack filled with food and my mind filled with ideas - having no clue what I would experience the next 6 weeks in the wilderness. It feels like only yesterday that I headed out.

    I've since learned a lot about life in the mountains, long term hiking and mostly myself :) And this is not my last time in the mountains, I know that much.

    We had a long, amazing hike today, really enjoyed the diverse trail and excellent weather. For a moment, we just sat silently by a cliff and took in the moment and the beauty of Norway. I felt completely filled with thankfulness for my last 6 weeks, what a blast!

    After one of the most beautiful hikes I've had in Norway, we hitch hiked with a hilarious couple from Iceland, grabbed a pizza to go in Odda and got on the last bus to Voss, back to Elena's car. Tomorrow we'll be heading back slowly towards Kiel. Can't wait to see my loved ones soon!
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  • Day64

    Day 41: mind games

    July 17, 2016 in Norway ⋅ 🌙 4 °C

    On a day like today, hiking becomes a mind game - long distance ahead, fairly similar landscape all day, tired legs from days of walking, icy winds and heavy rain forecasted. Your body is totally fine, wrapped up and full of unused energy, but your mind tells you it will be hard, you will be cold, you won't make it. We did a few things to win this mind game: be prepared for any kind of weather, stay positive and motivate each other, play mind puzzles and guessing games together, and listen to good music for a while.

    And so we did the hike in very good time, good spirits, and made it across 5km of snow as well as two river crossings without a bridge. One of the river crossings was quite an adventure; we had to take off our shoes and pants and cross melting water which came up almost to our hips. The water was 2 to 4 degrees. We felt quite proud when we had crossed ;-)

    We were completely exhausted and happy when we arrived and treated ourselves to a big dinner at the self-serve mountain hut - we're not tenting in snow today :)
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  • Day63

    Day 40: surrounded by rainbows

    July 16, 2016 in Norway ⋅ 🌙 3 °C

    Today was the day of rainbows :) The most stunning and vibrant one greeted me right when I woke up (picture 1, even though it doesn't do reality justice). The weather was constantly changing, with beautiful sunny hours followed by icy winds and constant rain. We ended up seeing 4 beautiful rainbows throughout the day and celebrated each one :)

    Our trail lead us over several wide rivers, some of which we crossed barefoot (picture 4), but most we crossed in boots, "jumping" from rock to rock. Towards the end of the day, we followed a "shortcut" on a fun, adventurous path through a small canyon (picture 5). It was challenging and felt great, but also drained our energy. So we were extra happy hikers when a few minutes later, we arrived at Torehytten cabin (picture 6), where we made hot chocolates, our usual dinner and pancakes for dessert to celebrate day 40.

    We have about 2 to 3 days left to Odda and then back to Germany. It feels odd knowing my hike will be over soon, but I sure know a lot of things I'm looking forward to, most of all my loved ones in California and Germany.
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  • Day62

    Day 39: a campfire, view & good company

    July 15, 2016 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    Today I started my re-civilization program as we stopped for breaks at two different cabins ;-)

    After a tough night (I had a hard time sleeping) and a foggy morning, we arrived at a cosy hiker's cabin around lunch time. We had waffles and hot chocolate, Merten and Elena took a nap on comfy couches while I read a book, and then we had some more waffles. We hiked on in the lovely landscape of rolling hills, plenty of waterfalls and green, swampy riverbanks. What an abundance of water, we really enjoyed being outside in good weather.

    A few hours of hiking later, we grabbed a cool beer at the next cabin in the late afternoon. Shortly after and back on the trail, we meet a group of four hikers, also from Germany, going in the same direction, and enjoyed the common goal and good conversations. We made camp together on top of a mountain range, with a stunning view. Deliciously filled stomachs, a large fire and the beautiful nature around made for the perfect scenery of a relaxed evening.
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  • Day61

    Day 38: back into the wild

    July 14, 2016 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    We had a fantastic breakfast at the cabin, and left energized on a day full of beauty and adventures. Our first stop was a spot with two tall waterfalls, which we really enjoyed - along with many other tourists, as it was right by the road and many drivers stopped there.

    Afterwards, we headed back into the wild on our trail headed south, following up the ridge of a mountain range and down into the next valley. There we went on smaller trails, making our way to a beautiful spot with views over a large canyon / fjord.

    We made camp with that view (picture 1) and went off on a quest to grab some water for dinner. The short hike to a nearby lake turned into 2 hours of trying to find clean water further away - the lake was muddy and a close-by river had dried out. But it was more than worth it, as we discovered our most amazing sight so far - see picture 4. We ended up finding water from a very small stream, filtered it to be safe, and definitely realized how previous clean water is and were thankful for a hot dinner.

    Along with dinner, we started a small fire and enjoyed the stunning view till late into the night. Time for bed now :)
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  • Day60

    Day 37: vertical adventures

    July 13, 2016 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    The first half of our day was fog-filled, but no less exciting. First, the trail brought us along the ridge of a vertical 900 meter drop. Even though we could not see anything, you could sense the amazing place we were at and the fog drifted into our faces upwind. Second, we climbed a steep track, scrambling up rocks and swampy parts, which lead us to declare the 8th world wonder of "the vertical swamps of the north" ;-)

    The second half of the day welcomed us with full sunshine and a friendly, steady downhill through green, lush meadows. What a treat it felt to get a full view of the mountains!

    With still wet clothes and tents from 2 days of fog and rain, we decided to rent in a little mountain hut for the three of us, grab a shower and dry our stuff. Civilization has its perks :)
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  • Day59

    Day 36: wrapped in clouds

    July 12, 2016 in Norway ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

    We had an eventful and fun second day together. The weather wasn't quite on our side, but we wouldn't let it bother us. We're working on adopting the Norwegian way of hiking: despite and well-equipped in any kind of weather :)

    Most of the day, we went through thick fog, which turned pathfinding on the trails - marked by red Ts on stones along the way - into a joint treasure hunt.

    The second half of the day went over a long dam with no view of the big lake whatsoever and then up a pretty steep ascent through swampy parts, over rocks and all in all in a beautiful, lush and green setting. The hike was challenging and really fun.

    The rain wouldn't stop, but we managed to put the tents up, with all our wet stuff in one and ourselves in dry sleeping bags in the other. A day successfully completed and feeling happy and fulfilled from being in this beautiful nature, we're ready to sleep soundly through the rainy night.
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  • Day58

    Day 35: reinforcements arrived :)

    July 11, 2016 in Norway ⋅ 🌧 6 °C

    What a day!! Two of the most important people in my life and life-long confidants came to the Norwegian boonies to join me on my last week of the journey. I'm thrilled to see them and for the adventures ahead.

    After they arrived late Sunday night, we took our time in the morning and had our last big breakfast in "civilization" (the 4-hut town of Finse) and sorted out our backpacks and route plans. Around noon, we took off, circling around the huge glacier Hardangerjøkulen, with lots of snow fields, beautiful views and a picturesque waterfall. Merten and Elena got to practice changing into and out of their rain gear plenty today, as the weather changed constantly ;)

    What a beautiful reunion, fun hiking, and meaningful conversations. It was quite a change from the last 5 weeks of being just by myself, but I'm thankful for them being here and enjoyed every moment
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  • Day57

    Day 34: even lazier girl

    July 10, 2016 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

    Today I was so lazy (except going for a run in the afternoon), I don't even have a picture :)
    Reading all day, I'm conserving my energy for the next week of hiking, which I will spend with my brother Merten and very good friend Elena. They're arriving in a few hours, it'll be so nice to have their company!Read more