Camping amidst the majestic mountains..
Trip Start Apr 16, 2004
51Trip End Aug 31, 2008
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Plans for the day: Do some hiking to get a gorgeous view from the top!!
Took a stroll into Flåm to the information center to ask about good walks as we were really keen to get to the top by foot and to see the fjords from there and also to possibly walk around the snow. We were shown what looked like a pretty good walk from Aurland to the top of Prest, and were told it would take about 4 hours or so... so thought since the days were so long we'd start our walk early afternoon.
Drove through to Aurland which is 8 km from Flåm and parked our car at the foot of the mountain before heading off with our backpack of fruit, water and some sandwiches... oh and of course our cameras!! The walk started pretty steeply up the side of the mountain through the forests. A lot of plant growth along the way, including stinging nettles as we were soon to discover as the welts started to form on our legs. Fortunately though, that clears away fast enough, though not a fun experience either way. Quite a couple of little huts along the mountain side as well, though not too sure what they all are used for.
Found ourselves crossing a couple of clearings with a couple of sheep in them. All these sheep seem to be pretty tame, coming right up to you... and them also all having bells around their necks. Not as pretty as South African sheep though... and none of them having their tails cut despite us noticing that there were quite a couple of flies around.
Walked past a couple of houses and sheds, though never really came across much activity at all. The tractors standing there with the chains over the wheels which I assume is to help out the tractor in winter with the snow and all. We eventually discovered a pass on the mountain which is the pass that goes from Aurland to Laerdal across the mountain, if opted rather than going through along the 20km tunnel between the two towns. By this stage though, I still don't think we were half way up the mountain yet, having hiked 3 hours already. We'd cleared out the forest though and the vegetation had moved to being more hardly little shrubs and bushes around the mountain side, making the walk a bit easier. Also a lot more rock.
The higher we got the faster I was tiring, though I can't say whether this was due to lack of oxygen or just general lack of fitness... Peter stopped along the way to almost fall asleep on the path taking a "short break" or "nap"... whichever... Managed to get him going again and when we reached the top, instead of seeing a good clear view of the fjords, we saw a cloud rapidly moving towards us with a good solid sheet of rain... Only spent a coupe of minutes at the top of Prest (1363m above sea level) before descending again.
After a bit of discussion, we decided that the best option would be to take the pass down to Aurland instead of the way through the forest we had come. Though in retrospect, probably not the wisest decision as this resulted in us hiking 11.3 km along the road back to our car, opposed to a shorter distance but with a steeper decline... Probably would've taken so much less time. Eventually found our car at about 21:00 before the two of us headed back to Flåm, completely exhausted. Don't think I've ever had as long and gruelling a hike as this one...
8 July 2006 - Saturday
Decided to take Saturday pretty easy... Funny enough not waking up with to too much body pain... Lazed around the tent for a bit finishing off our last bit of fruit and snacks before heading down to the "beach" to go kayaking... No work on the legs!!!
Hired a two man kayak for three hours and after a couple of instructions, what to do, what not to do etc we were pushed into the pretty cool water of the fjords. It was like an absolute mirror, as I'm sure you'll see on the photos... The water was incredibly calm. We paddled pretty slowly down the fjord towards Aurland stopping at various inlets, streams and waterfalls to test out our photography skills. There was absolutely no rush to get anywhere which was great.
At a stage I turned around and thought I saw some ducks diving only to discover that in fact they were dolphins!! Swimming about 50 meters away from us. We tried catching up with them but they had other things on their agenda, and weren't particularly interested in entertaining us. Eventually started heading back to Flåm cutting our kayaking short by a couple of minutes. This wasn't such a bad idea because it soon started raining and the wind was intently trying to blow back down the fjord.
We stopped over for a bit of a coffee and lunch in Flåm before heading back to our campsite for a 2 hour nap. After waking up we decided to head off towards Aurland to do the pass between Aurland and Laerdal. There is a tunnel created between the two down of about 20+ kilometers but thought we'd take the scenic route, and my word was it scenic!! The vegetation completely changed yet again... When we reached the top, there was heaps and heaps of rocks lying around. That and snow and a couple of water dams resulting from the melting snow. It was absolutely freezing atop, but still such a gorgeous view overlooking all the mountains. We drove for some time looking around and taking photos until we started our descent to Laerdal and turned back again.
We came across quite a couple of cyclists and hikers along the way, though didn't particularly envy them one bit as it had started raining as well, so along with the cold I could only imagine how much they were freezing.
When arriving back at camp, we had a quick dinner, making rolls for ourselves before it started raining and confined us to our tent... Had yet another hard floor night's sleep...
The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.
Where I stayed
Vanderheim Camping Ground