When I signed up to do the Jotunheimen, Besseggen hike way back in May, I had no idea that this hike would be a grueling test of my physical and mental capacity.
When I read the description of this excursion on the University of Oslo’s website it stated, “Please be aware that we will be hiking through a wild and rugged area with steep and stony terrain (…) The hike is estimated to take 6-8 hours, with a total climb of 700 meters, and the participants must be in good physical condition.”
Being my regular, very optimistic, self I thought, “Well, I am in ‘good’ physical condition… and 6-8 hours must be including lots of group breaks right?” These optimistic thoughts accompanied by amazing video and photographic evidence of the fantastic views on the UIO website, convinced me that this experience was not to be missed.
Thus, on the morning of July 19th I awoke at 7 a.m. and prepared to hike! I “geared up” the best that I could; three sweaters, a rain jacket, fleece lined leggings, spandex exercise pants, wool socks, leather gloves, a fleece headband, and a scarf. Not to mention the three liters of water and lunch in my backpack…
8 a.m.- 9:30 a.m.
The first hour and a half was the worst part of this trip. We were all in a state of shock within the first twenty minutes. Our thoughts collectively went from “here we go!” and “I am so ready…” to “but… how is it THIS steep?” and “I am not ready…” Luckily I formed an alliance with two of my good friends from campus, Ingrid and Laina. During that first steep incline we took many breaks and tried to keep each other motivated… even though we all felt the urge to turn back.
9:45 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
The views become more and more breathtaking as we moved along. We were so impressed that we almost forgot about the inclines and the rugged terrain. We could see for miles… and we watched the fjords and the vibrant green lake called Gjende light up as the sun came out from its hiding place behind the clouds. These same clouds seemed roll over the mountain tops, like ocean waves in slow motion. The altitude made it impossible not to notice the vastness of our surroundings. My knees were aching and my mouth was dry but I wanted to see more… When we break for lunch, I am reminded of how cold the wind is. My body cools down and this pushes me to want to keep moving.
12:30 p.m.- 2:30 p.m.
After lunch we reached the climbing portion of our program. Yes really. I think I will let the photos speak for themselves. Nothing can describe the feeling of scrambling up a mountain on hands and knees as the fresh mountain wind “lovingly” whips your face…