Europe Norway

THE TROLLS TONGUE

By on November 30, 2014

I stumbled across a picture of Trolltunga this amazing mountain with breathtaking views with some similarities that of the ending of Lord of the Rings where Frodo destroys the ring. A cliff with a drop of 900m if fallen certain to result in Death. When I was putting together my bucketlist It had to be on there I wanted to be in that photo sitting on the edge. When I was planning my trip last year I promised myself that I walk it next year and if you know me I take my promises seriously. After a little bit of research I found it’s location deep in the mountains of Norway and regardless of how isolated it was I had that goal in my mind and nothing was going to stop me. Trolltunga in translation means ‘Troll’s Tongue’ a Norwegian myth where Trolls are said to live in the mountains and the cliff being the tongue. I had written the beginning of the story and now all that was left was for me to for fill it.

On the third day we were at Stian’s house looking for a place on the internet to stay that night. The plan was to book some where near and drive down to stay the night and in the morning drive to the base of the mountain so it wasn’t so rushed. In a last minute decision both Kristain and Milla decided to join us and because it was half way between their home they were all going to head home from Trolltunga after the climb and Dean and I were to part ways with them and find our way home. After some searching we found a place to book on the internet that was about an hour from Trolltunga. We said our goodbyes to Stian and couldn’t thank him enough for all the generosity he showed both Dean and I. We made our way to the the supermarket so we could stock up on some food to cook in the morning and bring for our journey. According to Google maps the the journey time was approximately five hours from Bergen to our cabin. We headed to the center of Norway where Trolltunga was driving through all of Norway’s countryside. I couldn’t get over of how beautiful everything was the lakes were still for hundreds of meters, you had mountains covered with trees and ice at the peaks that we were constantly driving through, amazing waterfalls both big and small all along the way to our destination. We stopped by one of the bigger ones to take photos and this is exactly what I wanted to see I bloody love mother nature. To get to the other side we had to jump on the ferry with the car as we sailed through a magical sunset that lit up the skies. After a hectic day of transit we finally made it to our accommodation which was by a lake and after watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall it was time to get some rest for the climb.

I woke up earlier then everyone and decided to do a little exploring to take some photos since we only had that morning to see the area. Now that it was the morning I could actually see what was around as opposed to arriving in total darkness last night. There were trees and a massive lake and the only person was there was me and sound of chirping birds. I loved being here I felt calm and would have loved to stay a few nights to properly soak in the Tranquility. We cooked up our bacon and made some toast to fuel our bodies for what was going to be a massive climb. By the time we had washed up and checked out we had left a little later then planned. We made our way to the mountain and after about an hour in transit we had finally made it. I had no idea what kind of hike this was going to be, I had never really climbed any mountains before. We left our car at the car park and caught a shuttle bus to take us to the base of the mountain. Now with Trolltunga there are no guides well none that were there whilst we were climbing so you pretty much make your own way there. The total distance from the start to the finish is 10km and that wouldn’t be such a hard task if it were flat all the way but the journey was far from that. I tightened my laces and put on my Moroccan head scarf ready to overcome any obstacle that would stand in my way. This was my first time all holiday that I had to do some real physical activity (fist pumping and shuffling excluded) and my body had no idea what it was about to endure. The first bit is the most intense part since you have to get some initial height into the mountains. It would have been about ten minutes in and I was already huffing and puffing with sweat pouring out of every area of my body. I swear I felt like I was in some army training with my backpack on pulling myself up ropes to avoid sliding down the mud. We gradually got higher and higher and my legs were getting a workout like never before it was painful but I was loving the journey thus far and the anticipation of getting there. After navigating through the bulk of the trees we had finally made it to some what of a flat with a sign ‘Trolltunga 9km’ we had only traveled 1km fuck, at the time I didn’t know that was the hardest part of the journey but my body knew what it was in for. Along the way are these red T markings to let you know that you are on right course as it is easy to be confused with nothing around. We walked through the mountains in open fields crossing bridges, jumping rocks, dodging puddles you can imagine how dehydrated we were exerting so much energy. To our savior along the way are waterfalls and heaps of them running through streams the whole way forming lakes. I asked Freddy if we could drink this water hes like of course. I’ve never drunk water from a lake before, the ones that I’ve been in contact with were far from drinkable. I cradled my hands together to gather some and sipped on the what I had. You have never drunk water until you have tasted some of Norway’s freshest H2O from the mountains. It was cold and it tasted so pure and was accessible pretty much the whole way through the hike. This was perfect it was almost like mother nature was helping us out which saved us from packing a big water bottle which would weigh us down.

About half way through the journey the fog was getting worse and worse and you couldn’t really see to far in front of you. We had stopped one of the hikers who was on his way back to ask him how it was and how far off we were. He told us we were about half way and had around two more hours left to go. I asked him how the conditions up there were and he explained that it was too foggy to see hardly anything and maybe just the tip of the cliff. In my head I had thought to myself I have come from halfway across the world and was so close only only to get a foggy picture. I cleared my head from the negative thoughts and crossed my fingers in hope for some clear skies. We continued hiking through the mud I looked down at my new Nike Roshe’s that I had bought in Amsterdam which were now demolished with mud. Because I was backpacking I didn’t have the luxury of bringing some hiking boots that everyone else seemed to have which would have been a treat. If I didn’t have some music in my ear it would have made the trip feel a lot longer then it was. To my savior Joe Rogan’s podcast and a bit of Rufus help keep me entertained. We passed through many types of terrain all slightly different from each other and more signs from 4 to 3 to 2km left, I could almost smell the finish line. As we came to closer with about 30 mins to go the fog had got a lot clearer which made me happy in hope that it would hold for us when we arrived. I remember this part like it was yesterday Dean had the song Bob Marley – Is This Love on the loudspeaker and you could see a lot more people on the mountain now. We walked closer and I was getting nervous and excited at the same time, we had finally made it. I have never ever achieved such rewarding task in my life. The fact that it was so difficult made the whole experience so so much more rewarding. Dean and I released a sigh of accomplishment which released that natural euphoria, we had done it and in front of us was the peak that I came all that way to see and if you think it looks good in photos seeing it with your own two eyes isn’t even comparable.

Up on the cliff were about 30 or so people, I guess everyone finally got a chance to rest and eat now that we had all reached our destination. To get to the tip there is a part where you climb down a ladder and line up to take your turn. This is a good idea so nobody is in your picture which also restricts too many people being on the ledge at the same time which could be dangerous. Up next it was Deans turn he lined up first and I took as many photos as I could from all different angles. There is no particular time limit to being out there but out of courtesy you don’t want to hog the spot. We exchanged spots and it was my time to line up. To this point of the trip I had been training Dean to take photos so when an epic opportunity like this one that he didn’t fuck it up. Whilst waiting a man proposed to his wife while they were out on the peak, I thought that was pretty special and something that you don’t see everyday, to come to think of it this was the time I’ve ever witnessed a proposal and what a magical place it was. There were also some crazy people doing back flips and handstands, you could here cringing every time they performed a move knowing that death awaited them if done incorrectly. It was my turn, I pulled out my phone and done a quick snapchat to all my friends to share this magnificent view I had in front of me. I wasn’t originally going to sit on the edge but I came all this way that I said fuck it and despite my some what fear of heights I sat on the edge and posed for the camera. I was nervous a little bit scared but so so happy at the same time. In front of me this amazing view beside me my Lion Lenny that I took half way around the world to join me for this photo that I so badly wanted. I kinda wish I still had some more of those mushrooms with me because I can guarantee you I would have started crying twice as hard as I did in Bergen. I walked back off the tongue to see Dean and check out the photos to make sure that they were in focus which he did and I was so flippin happy. Further down the side of the mountain was also another area to take photos where not many people were. We chilled out there and made the most of it, I thought to myself that I would probably never come here again so whilst I was there keep taking photos. Once we made our way back around we noticed that there was barely a line anymore to walk on the edge. I guess everyone had left because they didn’t want to get stuck in the dark. This was perfect for me and Dean to take a photo together. I passed the camera to Kristian as he snapped me Dean and Lenny at the edge of the cliff again but this time as a group. After finally doing what we needed to it was time to make the journey back. We were running much later then expected but at the time I didn’t care. I was so happy that we finally made it and whatever was to happen wouldn’t be able to take away my enormous high.

The journey home was so much more pleasant. The skies were clear as day with not a single bit of fog, you could actually see every little detail in the mountains and all the beautiful colors. We were about and hour and half behind schedule at that point and it was expected to take just about the same amount of time to get back. During our return back we were properly introduced to these two lovely ladies Bjorg and Sussana. They had passed us on the way up but now we were cruising together for the return. We had a chance to chat and talk about our travels and Norway accompanying them was Bjorg’s dog who looked like was enjoying the trek as much as I was. After numerous breaks Freddy and I decided to pick up the pace and leg it ourselves as I really wanted sit down and work out how we were going to get back. I checked the percentage on my phone it had about 30% left with about 15 snapchats queued up, I had to give up the music not knowing when the next time my phone was going to be charged. Whilst talking and walking we suddenly realized that the course we were on wasn’t the correct path, I had looked around to find some T signs to no avail, I was shattered we were bloody lost. I screamed out to hopefully hear someones voice to point us in the right direction but got silence in return. The last thing I needed now was to get stuck as the sky was gradually getting darker. Freddy wasn’t happy either and we navigated through thick bushes and unavoidable mud that left our socks sink right under. I headed towards some higher ground where I finally saw a T sign thank fuck. We were around the last km mark and going down the steepest bit. Going down sounds a lot easier but a lot more dangerous, saying that I did slip forward and scratch the shit out of my leg but that’s just that battle scars of Trolltunga. We finally made it down to the base of the mountain and the first thing I did was take my shoes and socks off. My Nike’s were officially demolished with cuts and holes on each side. I put my feet in the freezing water by the lake which felt so good in between my toes but I wasn’t able to hold it there to long as the temperature was unbearable. We saw Dean and the two girls at one of the stores, they had got there a bit earlier then us probably due to us getting lost. It was time to get to the car so we could ask someone how we could get home to Bergen. Out of all the times and days it was today that the road had been blocked off due to repairs for the road. We had two options either we wait in the unknown until they finish or walk the 7km back to the car park which we opted for. With a bit of frustration and a little bit of worry the wet socks came back on started marching down the windy road.

So at this point Dean and I had no clue how we were going to get back to Bergen. To make matters worse we had a flight the next day at around 12pm in the afternoon to Milan. It had gotten to late and there were no buses or ferries running that late which meant there was no chance to get the hostel tonight. I actually didn’t mind if we stayed in Norway I was having the time of my life here, I was on an ultimate high in Norway and could have climbed a few more mountains if we got stuck. At this point of the trip nothing was booked after Milan but saying that we didn’t want to waste more money and keep our friends waiting. Bjorg probably one of the nicest actually I’m going to say the nicest and kindest person we had met all trip came to our rescue. She had called her mum to ask her how we could get home and make it to our flight in the afternoon. After some talking Bjorg had come up with a plan for us to stay at her house that night and in the morning catch the earliest ferry from hers which cuts heaps of travel time off to drop off us in Bergen ready for our flight. Unbelievable how this was panning out and how nice some people are. I guess Bjorg being a fellow traveler herself understood how desperate and appreciative we were and hooked us up nicely. We finally made it back to the car park and it was official my body was spent and the saddest bit we had to say goodbye to Freddy, Kristian and Milla. I had only known them for such a short amount of time but felt like I was saying goodbye to friends I had known for eternity. But in my head I knew this was more of a see you later. I will be back to visit you Freddy if you don’t beat me in coming to Australia. We exchanged our last hugs and took a group photo and parted ways.

Ahead of us was a two hour ride back to Bjorg’s house and by this time we were well into the darkness and expected to get there at around 1am. Though at that particular moment I was very happy to be sitting in her very comfortable Mercedez 4WD with my shoes off knowing I had my photo and we had a plan to make our flight. After some technical difficulties we got the Bluetooth connected to Dean’s ‘chill’ playlist and we were on track to get back to her house. We continued our talk where we left off crossing through the mountains and was soon introduced to this Norwegian cheese that tastes like chocolate. After 10 hours of hiking eating this was like heaven in my mouth as we scoffed what she had left down our throats. Although it was very dark we still managed to see Norway’s beauty at night and the lights reflection in the perfectly still lake. I seriously couldn’t and can’t get over our incredibly beautiful the country is. We stopped briefly to fill up some petrol and Bjorg being so generous refused our money but we insisted that we give her mum some money as it was the least we could do after saving our asses. After about an hour of driving we had finally made it to her house Standing back on my feet was a very difficult task and I knew the aftermath in the morning was going to be hell. Bjorg’s mother had setup the bunk bed’s in the spare room all ready for Dean and I to sleep and after some more food I had a chance to finally shower. Ohhh and I thought the shower in Bergen after the shrooms were good but this one was even next level. I think there was about 5 layers of sweat and dirt that was removed and I came out of that shower a very clean and tired man. We said our good nights and set the alarm clock for 6am so we didn’t miss our ferry, by this point it was 2am and laying in that bed must have been total bliss because I crashed out pretty quick.

To my dismay I woke to the alarm and jumped out of bed to quickly get ready to leave for the ferry. I was sleeping on the top bunk and as I jumped off to land on my feet my legs barely had any strength to keep me up my body was absolutely exhausted. Fortunately for us the port was only a short 5 minute drive from her house. We had made it with time to spare and said our farewells and gave Bjorg and enormous hug she literally saved us big time. Who knows what would have happened if we didn’t talk during our hike we could have been stranded and looking to pay a whole lot of money and more then likely missed our flight. If you are reading this Bjorg thanks so much and I swear I will get your cheesey Aussie postcard soon. Minutes later our Ferry arrived and we purchased our tickets headed for Bergen. Everything was running according to plan just like Bjorg’s mother had told us. On the ferry they surprisingly had a wifi signal, not a very strong one but enough for me to upload the photo of me and Dean to my Facebook profile picture. The photo itself is amazing but the story behind the journey is even better. I never could have imagined the way it all panned out the way it did, this kind of stuff that happens when your traveling makes it 5 times better hence why I fregin love this shit. We arrived with enough time to have a quick bite and get my last second bracelet for Norway and quickly packed our bags and headed for the bus station. We made it to the airport with time to spare before our flight, I could not wait to sleep. When people ask me how was your trip and where was your favorite place on your holiday I tell them Norway. I didn’t party once in here nor did I touch a drop of Alcohol but I met the most amazing friends here and seen the most beautiful scenery in my new favorite country. Ticking this off the Bucketlist was more then just nice photo for me it was a testament to myself that I have the power do to conquer anything I want and the feeling has lingered within me ever since. Dean and I had a saying “It always works out it Norway!” and it did, every single time hence why the place stole my heart and I had to get that photo of us printed on canvas as a constant reminder of the adventure it was.

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