Hiking on Norway’s Lofoten Islands

After a long hard winter and spring which involved working, going to language school, and planning a move… I found myself in a desperate situation looking for an escape! That very day my best friend here in Norway, Carrie Ann Mantha (USA), gave me a call and said “pack a bag, and be at Oslo airport tomorrow morning.” That’s about all it takes to convince me to go somewhere, I don’t need to know much else!

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I met Carrie in Svolvær, and spent a few hours visiting the different Lofoten islands. We saw everything from modern art at the Kaviar Factory, to classical art at Galleri Lofotens Hus, to handcrafted jewelry, to massive drying racks of cod fish in Henningsvær. We enjoyed an amazing lunch at the Lofotmat Restaurant as well.

A few hours later we picked up her parents who were visiting, and we drove about 2 hours into the town of Reine. It was darker by the time we arrived but Lofoten is known for its midnight sun, so there was no mistaking that our massive Reine Rorbuer cabin on the water was incredible.

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Carrie and I decided to make things more interesting than a relaxing day on the island (which her parents opted for) and followed our hearts to Bunes Beach. We boarded the ferry, and off we went boating by some of the most massive black mountains that I can only compare to skyscrapers in Manhattan. By the time we reached our destination islands we were so excited to get going! Luckily we were prepared with CamelBak water bags, packed lunch, and extra snacks.

Most people would say that the ferry trip and hike to the beach would be enough, but oh no, not for us. We decided to take the “demanding” difficulty level 4 hour trail up to Helvestind (Hell’s Peak). We turned on the tracking map, and off we went. The problem? About 30 minutes in we realized we were trailblazing our own trail and that the map/connection had led us astray. We carried on none the less, except instead of hiking we were actually rock climbing, and as it began to rain we were grasping for hand and foot holds, as the rocky and moss covered terrain started moving.

Why not go back? We were already this far! And once we got to the top it would be worth the shot – right?! Well the rain hardened, and we carried on.

After a huge struggle we made it to the top! But at the top we were met by massive cloud surrounding us! We were literally shimmying along the edges of one of the highest and steepest peaks in Norway. At one point I tried sending Rasmus a video to tell him that I loved him but that I might not make it back. It was the strangest feeling, and yet as the rain hit my face and my body was exhausted from the climb I literally felt euphoric and then the clouds open and the view was simply sublime. At that point though my legs started shaking from tiredness and I suddenly grasped what a dangerous situation we were in.

We had to rush back down the mountain, at some points we were sliding down massive rocks with water pouring down them like they were plastic slides! It was terrifying and exhilarating. Half way down the mountain we checked the time and realized we would be within minutes of the last ferry leaving if we continued at that pace. But we had no choice, any trace of a trail had been washed away and we were climbing straight down a vertical hill of mud. By the time we reached the bottom we had to run as fast as we could for the remaining distance back to the ferry dock (about 20-30 minutes) and as we got there, we realized the ferry had left.

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Stranded on an island deep in the northern fjords, with no residents, we just started laughing and plotting which cabin we could break into to spend the night. Carrie had called our hotel but they had no extra boat service to collect us. At that moment I flagged down a fisherman who was headed to the island, she was able to find a couple who was on the island for the summer who had a boat (with no reverse function) to bring us back! We had to wait about an hour, and I definitely ate the lasts of our snacks, but BOY was it worth it!! Then the nicest couple, a carpenter and his pregnant girlfriend, drove us back to Reine.

We shared a beyond delicious dinner that night with Carrie’s parents and certainly had a glass or two of wine! I highly recommend Lofoten! It’s a place for the thrill seekers and luxury life folks alike.

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