Road Trip Norway – Round the Southern Fjords

Norway has been on my radar for some time now, but to be honest I wasn’t sure how soon it would happen.  One thing I had repeatedly heard about Norway was that it was expensive, and being able to make the trip work within a slim budget was paramount.  Luckily, my hobbies are generally inexpensive; hiking, backpacking, and adventuring in the mountains have a bit of an initial investment in gear, but beyond that it’s all as far and as long as your legs and arms can take you.  You’re your own chef, entertainment, tour guide, and planner.  Generally, my tactic in expensive places is hire a car, fill up on groceries, then get out to the wilderness!  As per the standard, that’s exactly what I did.  The route, mainly taking place from the Atlantic Road to Preikestolen, in and out of countless fjords, three weeks in a Ford Fiesta would test my minimal living style, but it’s fuel economy would save heaps on petrol!

I have a bit of a standard procedure when arriving to a foreign country.  I suppose that I’ve become accustomed to a certain style of travel, and it fits my needs pretty well.  Step one, get thru customs ASAP.  No one likes standing in lines, so find the shortest, look presentable and happy, don’t bring any items you’ll need to declare, and get going.  Pick up checked bags (unfortunately with backcountry and or climbing gear, a checked bag is a necessary evil).  Find a SIM card, usually you can buy these at the airport, but if you don’t see a stand ask around for the closest location.  Having a working local phone has become more important for me these days; from using GPS, researching locations, weather, and being able to do some mobile posting.  On to car hire and then hit the road!  I’ve found that for me and my style, I would rather hire a car and sleep in it/camp along the way.

It was a decent flight over, although I wish I had slept more.  I made it about 2 hours drive from the airport before pulling over to take a nap, but then it was onward to Åndalsnes.  I had read that Norway loves it’s hiking, so night one would be a classic, a sunset view up Rampestreken.  It became quickly apparent that there would be a large volume of elevation gained over the next few weeks.  Starting at sea level and cruising up to the snow line in the mountains at least once a day.  Hiking fitness was about to be tested.

Evening at Åndalsnes

Hiking Above Åndalsnes

Over the next few days, I watched the storms come and go, traveling from Åndalsnes up to the Bud and the Atlantic Ocean Road, then continuing south to Alesund, Geiranger, and Jotunheimen.  Being this far north in the summer, sunset was late and sunrise was early, so sleep often came in a couple hour increments throughout the day.

20160519-WTW_1344

One thing I’ve learned is that you always want to have extra time in your schedule for unexpected stops.  Cruising along the windy two lane roads there was a perfectly still lake down the hill.  After a half hour of trying to find how to get down to the lake, I took a hike around the water’s edge and was granted some wonderful views of the Norwegian countryside.

Vågstranda

Atlantic Ocean Road

Another lucky find, Trollkirka aka Troll’s Church, was a moderate hike thru an evergreen forest and above the snow line to a cave system that you navigate by head torch, that ends at a cave with a waterfall coming thru the ceiling!

Trollkirka Troll' Church

Somehow I ended up with more sheep photos than I’m proud of, but it’s fine, they are cute.

Sheep Sunset

Alesund Norway

Alpaca

Geiranger Norway

20160521-WTW_2144

20160521-WTW_2151

20160521-WTW_2161

20160522-WTW_2163

A trip around the fjords wouldn’t be complete without a visit to some of the more iconic sights, like Trolltunga and Preikestolen.  I find that one of the best ways to get the more popular places to yourself is to camp either along the way or at the attraction itself.

Camping Preikestolen

Nothing like getting a little air below your feet, 604 meters above Lysefjorden.

Looking Down at Preikestolen

I get a lot of looks for hiking in sandals, but my Earthrunners go with me everywhere.  If it’s not freezing, I’m probably wearing them.

On the Edge

We arrived at Trolltunga late, somewhere around Midnight.  It was a taxing hike, something around 8km of the 11km was thru snow, deep and slushy from the full day of sun.  It’s hard to argue though when you’re sitting out on the tongue.

Trolltunga

Waterfall near Trolltunga

Trolltunga Hike

Cold Water Crossing

We ended up doing one ‘tour’.  Although I wouldn’t recommend the way we did it specifically, I did manage to convince the ship captain to let me come in and photograph a bit from the captain’s area, so that was cool 🙂

Fjords

Well that’s about it from southern Norway, Lofoten Islands review is coming up next!

Run Away With Me – Crater Lake National Park

Missing

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone missing, just been side tracked here lately.  Trying to start a few projects, and been working on tidying up the website for a possible overhaul to the design.  Anywho, I’ve been slacking on the posts, so the next weeks I promise to get caught up.

*Run Away With Me // Crater Lake NP, Oregon*

Sometimes a good clear sky sunset is a welcome change from dramatic clouds and color. It takes some of the pressure off, and I feel more at ease with nature. There is a serenity to following the stars, a calm that comes from being alone in the dark. In these moments your eyes begin to really see the wonders of the sky.

 

crater lake milky way rise oregon national park william woodward

As the Town Sleeps

The Wee Hours

I love staying up late, and being up early.  I suppose I just like being around when the majority of the population is fast asleep.  It’s quiet, peaceful, and beautiful.

*As the Town Sleeps – North Shore // Big Bear Lake, California*

After being sufficiently sundrenched in the desert at Joshua Tree, I took off towards the mountains of San Bernardino County. While it wasn’t quite as adventurous as hammocking in the desert, the beach/wine/reading created a welcome afternoon, and the clear skies that night quickly filled with the sparkles of the milky way.

 

big bear lake milky way california william woodward

Swept Away

Photo Stories

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but  I’ll be posting a new gallery here shortly.

*Swept Away – Ruby Beach // Forks, Washington*

If there is one thing you have to keep an eye out for while camping on the beach, it’s the tides. Then again, if you’re asleep, and the tide comes in higher than you’re expecting, sometimes the tide reminds you just how high it will go.

ruby beach camping under the stars william woodward

Lost in the Night

Alone

It’s very interesting being truly alone.  Not very many places can you be in such a vast area with no one near by.

wtw alvord

*Lost in the Night – Alvord Desert // Princeton, Oregon*

While I’ve been to many remote places, the Alvord desert either was, or at least felt like it was, one of the remotest. We set up camp somewhere in the middle of the 7×12 mile wide playa, a remnant of the alkali Alvord Lake which once covered the area.

One thing you’ll notice right away is how big the sky is, and at night it fills with stars beyond belief. Not a light on the horizon to be found.

alvord desert milky way astrophotography oregon william woodward

Night Wanderer

Selfies

Sometimes I take less glamorous selfies, and sometimes I get caught.  Britta snapped a shot of me waiting for the timer to go off.

selfies

*Night Wanderer – Little Chena River // Fairbanks, Alaska*

‘I don’t usually take selfies, but when I do, there is Aurora Borealis in the background’ ~ Me.  So, who wants to go back to Alaska?

aurora borealis northern lights little chena river william woodward

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial