Wow, just wow. I’ve been to Norway before as a child so I knew it was beautiful, but I was really blown away this time. Me and my partner Cecilia just got back from a hiking trip in the Norwegian national park Jotunheimen. We started our adventure with a 780km road trip from Uppsala/Sweden to Lom/Norway, and spent the first couple of days driving alongside Sognefjorden (part of which is a UNESCO world heritage site).
After that we parked the car at our finish line just north of Øvre Årdal, took the buss to Gjendesheim, and started a ten day long hike back to the car. In contrast to most Norwegians, we used a tent and cooked our own food instead of staying and eating in the tourist huts. All in all, I think we walked around 130km with 14 and 16 kg on our backs (up and down mountains, I might add).
One of the highlights for me (besides all the massive mountains, valleys, and glaciers) was the colour of the water, because most rivers and lakes are actually turquoise! It looks almost Mediterranean. This due to a stone chalk that’s resting in the glaciers, so as they melt, all the small streams carries the chalk with them down to the lakes and gives them this astonishing vivid colour. This was particularly prominent during our hike from Gjendesheim to Memurubu over a mountain ridge called Besseggen, which is one of the most popular mountain hikes in Norway. When you reach the top at 1743 m/5,718 ft (you start at around 980 m/3,215 ft) you get this fantastic panorama view (seventh image in the slideshow) with lake Gjende on your left which has this amazing turquoise colour, and lake Bessvatnet on your right which doesn’t have any glacier streams running down to it, and is therefore dark blue.
Another highlight was a guided trip over the glacier on the mountain Fannaråki, which lead us up to northern europe’s highest located tourist hut (that serves food and has accommodation) at 2068 m/6,785 ft. The 360 view over the whole national park was just mesmerising. But since we were on a mountain top, it didn’t take long before the whole place was in the middle of a huge cloud and the visibility was zero. Everything looked like whipped cream for a moment though, which was cool.
I only wish I could’ve had an assistant with me to carry some extra gear, like my tripod, and some extra lenses. All of which were left at home due to their weight. I ended up only bringing my Canon 5D MKII and a Canon 24-70mm. More time would have been nice too since when you’re hiking, it’s not like you can hang around for a week or so at a particular place just to get the weather conditions you’d like. It’s a pure ‘do what you can with what you have’ situation.
In conclution, Norway delivered, and Jotunheimen National Park in particular. If you ever get a chance to go there, just do it.
And kudos to Slartibartfast!