Norway is a very expensive country and most of the time I felt that we were just spending all our money on transportation. We decided we were just going to hitch hike, it can't be that bad. After meeting this elderly couple from Lisbon, Portugal, who were old enough to be my grandparents, we met up with them in our hostel and they offered to give us a lift to Troll Tunga (Troll's Tongue). I couldn't believe how far the drive was from our hostel, about 30 minutes in we arrived at small town called Odda. This is where we were going to start our hike. Dropped in a parking lot, we started our ascent immediately. Thing is, we had chosen the wrong spot. We hitched another ride with a Norwegian couple, about 10 minutes up the mountain. Looking out the window and I saw a monster of a mountain covered in snow. Looked at my friend, I said "Did you know there was snow at the top?" He just shook his head while the Norwegian couple laughed. In other words, what I'm trying to tell you here is that we may have been the most unprepared people in Norway.
We had both put on a little bit of sunscreen and I carried a 3 litre camel pack filled with water. We had made 10 peanut butter, jam and chocolate spread sandwiches, we had a few cereal bars and this chocolate that every hiker in Norway told us to buy. It's very similar to a kit kat.
We begin our hike at 9:30am, with a hike 11km up, and when I say up I'm talking vertical limits. I was really nervous with butterflies in my stomach. I had never even seen snow before and must now climb up and then down this mountain for 10 hours covered in this freezing cold ice. It just didn't make sense. We were very unprepared and didn't have proper hiking shoes that could withstand the cold. My friend climbed the mountain in Nike skateboarding shoes and I climbed in a pair of bluntstones, which actually were decent for the first hour - before reaching the snow. There were times when we had to cross freezing cold rivers and with both feet submerged in freezing cold water. At the time I was thinking, "What would bear Grylls do?" So I took my shoes off immediately. I wasn't going to climb a mountain and get frost bite. I had 2 pairs of socks on which I rinsed out. The thing is you're walking through snow, so they were soaking wet after 20 minutes, so every 30 minutes we would sit down and rinse out our socks.
I had never done a hike like this, sure I have done lions head like 20 times, Chapmans peak, the Magaliesburg mountains, but nothing to this extent. It was the most beautiful hike I have ever done in my life. The landscape was just breathtaking.
After four and half hours of hiking we reached the summit, a summit that has been on my bucket list for years. It was a picture you would see on Instagram and say to yourself, 'Wow, one day I have to go there'. Some people would say, 'Ya, I'll go one day', but never leave their comfort zone. I often tell people that life only begins at the end of your comfort zone, you need to experience life's natural beauty. Life is short and we're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time. Get out the office, get out the house, and climb that mountain!
We were sun burnt, we were hungry and our feet were freezing cold, and yet we couldn't care. How could one care when you have such a beautiful view to appreciate. We decided to head back at about 3:30pm and the hike down was really tough, my legs were shaking but I kept pushing myself. It's not the mountain we conquer at the end of the day but ourselves. For the next 3 and half hours, not one word was said and at this point you are concentrating so hard on trying to save all your energy that you'd rather not speak.
We reached the bottom around 7pm and hitched a ride back to our hostel with an interesting electrician.
When we got back to our hostel, some Romanians asked us if we would like to join them for dinner and it was the perfect end to our day. We had to catch a bus later that evening at 12pm back to Oslo and the funny thing is that I actually found a GoPro remote at a little bus stop in the middle of nowhere. I couldn't sleep, I was uncomfortable and a little moody, but I didn't care cause I had just climbed up Troll's Tongue and for me that was a big accomplishment!
Here's a photo of my friend and I at the top of Troll's Tongue with a South African flag. We represent wherever we go!