Sunday, June 5, 2016

I'm on Top of the Fjord, Hey!

Climbing to Pulpit Rock was an experience I will never forget.

My three travel companions woke up early on hike-day, knowing that because it was a holiday weekend, the trail would be crowded later in the day. By 6:30 www were on the road. I think we were all full of so much excitement and adrenaline that it didn't even feel so so early. The way up to the top was tranquil but tough, with the trail varying from dirt path to huge boulders running with water to never-ending slabs of stone. At one point the ground leveled out an we found ourselves on a narrow, winding bridge with a pond on either side. The field was full of tiny puff-ball flowers that looked like mini Truffula Trees, and I wished the peacefulness of such a lovely little meadow would never end!

When we ran out of water, we found ourselves some rock water

We came across only a few people as we walked- maybe 15-20 over those first few hours. Each hiker we passed exchanged a cheerful, "Good morning!" with us, and we even found ourselves offering and receiving a hand up over a tough rock or two with these strangers. As we neared the end, perhaps looking sweaty, hungry, and out of breath, a man stopped to encourage us with a positive, "You're so close, you can do it," giving us the momentum we needed to keep going. These were the locals, the seasoned hikers; as we made our way up from about 7:00-9:00am, a few of them were already on their way back down. We had been told that the Nordic people were reserved and even a little closed-off, but we found the opposite in the warm, quiet but friendly people we encountered.

The trek back down couldn't have been more different. 

Though still late morning/early afternoon, the trail was suddenly packed with selfie-stick wielding hoards. The "good mornings" stopped, and rather than patiently waiting on, assisting, and encouraging fellow hikers, people seemed to be much more willing to push past each other to get to the top. Should you find yourself on a hike to Pulpit Rock, I would highly recommend beginning as early as you can (6:30-7:00 AM was perfect) in order to experience the peace we were so lucky to enjoy.

Arriving at the top felt like such an accomplishment. 

At first I was absolutely giddy, running around and trying to take it all in at once. There were few people up there, and it felt like we were on top of the world. Pulpit Rock, also called Preiekestolen, rises 1,982 feet  from the fjord below to a flat-topped cliff. Looking down was completely terrifying- at one point, we tried belly-crawling to the edge to peek over, but I felt like I was going to have a panic attack and had to move away. Later though, we found another, more safe-feeling edge to peek over and couldn't get over how HIGH we were!


After some of the giddiness subsided, serenity took its place. For a long time we sat in silence, taking in the fjord. I am in love with the view of mountains in the distance, where varying shades of blue overlap as the rise in and out of view. The fjord did just that. Something about the pale, hazy light that hung over us all weekend gave the world a heaven-like feeling as we watched from above.

So many of my experiences make me feel small, like a tiny little Who from Whoville, whose entire world resides on a speck of dust or on the tip of a snowflake. That moment on the edge made me stop and consider where I am now, look back at the person I've been, and wonder what could possible be next. If I could tell me shy, awkward 15 year old self, "You will do things you never even dreamed of- someday you're going to hike the fjords of Norway," I wouldn't have believed it. But it's almost cyclical; what will my 35 year old self be wishing it could go back and tell 25 year old me? I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and awe so much of the time (mixed of course with the small stresses, intense homesickness, and boring Netflix&TakeOut days), but seeing the path I've moved down in the past ten years makes me wonder so much about the future. Sitting on a really big rock makes you think about things, I guess...

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