To be perfectly honest, I was surprised how similar southern Norway is to Western Washington State. The fjords are much like the Puget Sound, the hills and mountains are covered in green; however there is one marked difference. While the mountains are a bit shorter in Norway than Washington…they go pretty much straight up! I love to hike and I try very hard to get in at least one hike on every international trip I take (not just walks all over cities which I also do, but something outdoorsy.) This time, my selected hike was up to Preikstolen, aka Pulpit Rock.
While my blog shows this location as Stavanger, it’s actually a ferry ride away from Stavanger, but that’s the closest reasonably sized city nearby.
So, my morning started out with a ferry ride over to Tau, then about a 15 minute drive to the trail head. The trail was not particularly difficult up to the Pulpit Rock itself, a bit of rock hopping and a few steep portions, but my main problem was getting stuck behind slow movers for bits here and there. Nevertheless, the hike had some great scenery and it got my blood pumping. The final approach toward the rock revealed an amazing view of the Lysefjord and when you reach Preikstolen itself you can see all the way back to the end of the fjord.
Me? I wasn’t satisfied with Preikstolen alone; I saw the top of the nearby peak that didn’t look terribly far, so I set off after that. While there appeared to be some trails at parts along the way, I certainly lost the way a few times and ended up climbing a few 10 meter (30ft) cliffs like the one I snapped a picture of below. If there’s anything disappointing about pictures, it’s that you just can’t reveal steepness, certain distance values, etc.
In looking at some of the pictures, I know that the image doesn’t do reality justice. I made it to the top, however, and was pleasantly surprised to find myself completely alone! A 360 degree view all to myself, the edge of the North Sea in one direction, a few alpine lakes in another, the Lysefjord in another and mountains all around.
In all I spent well over an hour on the top of the mountain and not one person joined me. I hiked around the top and eventually back down to Preikstolen where I asked a friendly girl to snap a few pix of me on the rock. A wonderful day hike!