Europe, norway

Strandheia 647 MASL & Norwegian Hiking Culture

If there is one activity that is both cheap, offers amazing once in a lifetime views and that we have an abundance of where I’m from… it’s hiking. Vesterålen and Lofoten (regions sort of explained here. Keep in mind that a lot of the time people say Lofoten, when they actually mean Vesterålen. Tourists tend to merge them together because Lofoten is more famous.)  have been called the most beautiful archipelago in the world by both National Geographic and the Huffington Post among others. There are places to surf, places to cycle, places to fish and a lot of places to wander. On almost every mountain there are trails and many peaks has their own troll saga as its creation myth.

Norwegians, and Northern Norwegians in particular (more on this north/south divide in a later post), are notorious hikers and trekkers.  Spoiled for views as we are we don’t always hike for hours upon hours for the breathtaking views,  or the eerie quiet around you when you sit down at a mountain summit and can hear nothing but your own breath, a lonely bird tweeting and the wind…

No, we walk just to walk and hike to hike. We often do it purely for the exercise on trekkings routes we’ve already done time and time again.  Which is odd, considering how many beautiful trails and treks we have to choose from. That’s not to say we don’t post a photo on Instagram now and then if the view is particularly nice on said well-walked hiking route (example of this above haha), but the view is not the focus, completing the trip is. In a slightly meta way, the  walk itself is the aim of the walk.  If you’re in Norway doing a hike popular with tourists (like the Queens Route) you can easily tell the difference between a Norwegian and a foreigner. The Norwegian people power walk full steam ahead like race horses eager to get to the finish line, while everyone else actually enjoy the sights and take their time 😛

This whole post was intended  as a  brief account of our hiking trip up to Strandheia, 647 meters above sea level. Which at this point is probably worth mentioning that we did. Yesterday I made Kjære climb up a steep rocky mountain like some sort of Indiana Jones and I expect some of his muscles will ache tomorrow, but then again, so will mine.  By some miracle the weather is staying good, with sun and decent temperatures despite the weather forecast proclaiming otherwise and we took full advantage of that as we walked and bear-climbed our way to the top of a beautiful, beautiful mountain (view as seen above). Slight sidenote, while trying to figure out if “bear-climbed” is an actual way to describe someone climbing in English (it’s not) I found this video of actual bears rock climbing. You’re welcome.

By the time you read this Kjære and I will be on a bus from Sortland to Harstad for the day, then off with  a Hurtigruten AS ship to Svolvær at 08.30 tomorrow morning. When taking the ship from any northern stop south bound to Svolvær you get to see the magical Trollfjord up close and we can’t wait!

The Northern Norway Mini adventure continues! Xxx

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