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.

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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

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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!

Mind Blown

Alright Alaska

I want to go back! 🙂

*Mind Blown – Mendenhall Glacier // Juneau, Alaska*

If you haven’t had the opportunity or desire to explore an ice cave yet, please find a way to do so. This was by far one of the most epic places in the world I’ve ever been.

Few trips have the ability to make such an impact on you as I feel Alaska has on me, and I’m super stoked to get back here in the summer months to see what else this great state has to offer.

Well done Alaska, well done.

mendenhall glacier ice caves juneau alaska william woodward

Grand

Assistant

That’s it, I need an assistant.  There’s not enough hours in the day.  Well there are, but I’m extremely caught up in the show Breaking Bad right now, and it’s really cutting in to work time.

*Grand – Grand Teton National Park*

All these awesome panoramas have been going around lately, so I thought I’d join the party! This was shot this fall at the Grand Tetons National Park at sunrise. It was one of the two sunrises that you could actually even see the mountains, so I’m glad we had a good vantage point!

Final image is 20kx6k and  it might hang above my bed one of these days 🙂

grand teton panoramic william woodward

At Last Light

Playing at Sparks Lake

I watched the sun go down at Sparks Lake last night.  I can never get enough of reflections!

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*At Last Light // Central Utah*

The sun had long gone down, and we were still on the road. The GPS showed a huge body of water off to the right, but no roads leading to it. There was a small gravel road leading off the highway, so in SUV fashion we decided it was probably fine. That road gets you close, but not quite all the way to the water. There was a pesky barbed wire fence that almost took a little piece of me with it, but on the waters edge was exactly what I was looking for, even in the 20mph winds

At Last Light

They Dance with the Clouds

Whoa

I just realized how many photos I have to publish… I’ve got them all marked, though, so look out the next week, I’ll probably publish one every day!

*They Dance with the Clouds – Grand Tetons National Park // Jackson, Wyoming*

Late in to the night, the clouds meander thru the high peaks of the Tetons, currently my favorite mountain range in the US. Their simple beauty and majestic stance, an awe inspiring view to be up close and experience.

Hopefully it sounds like the National Parks will be completely opening up soon, so that everyone can visit! For now, I hope my photography does them some justice.

Clouds Grand Tetons William Woodward

The Auld Dubliner

Loafing

Strangely enough, travel is an exhausting task. As one writer put it “Loafing around in a new world is the most absorbing occupation.” ~ Nicholas Bouvier.  Alas, it’s nothing to complain about. It’s a great pleasure to explore and learn the nuances of new places. The world is there for the taking.

The Auld Dubliner – Temple Bar // Dublin, Ireland

I realized recently how few photos that I’ve developed from Ireland. I didn’t have a whole lot of time there unfortunately, and was a little burned out to be honest.  We did have a few days of city adventuring, seeing the sights and such.  I loved the little bar district in Dublin, and will have to go back one day to do the interior of several of them :)!

Auld Dubliner Dublin William Woodward

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