Day 7

Trip Start Jun 26, 2010
Trip End Jul 05, 2010

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Flag of Norway  , Vestfold,
Saturday, July 3, 2010

3 July 2010

Today started at with breakfast at 7am, and on the road by 7:45. Steve was thrilled that this hotel had a griddle for cooking eggs, which is the only breakfast food he has been severely missing since we left the states.  So this is the first breakfast he has really enjoyed since we arrived here last week.

We left Alesund and drove south.  The plan was to drive to Biesegan, ride on a ferry for about 20 minutes into a fjord then get off the boat and hike 6.5 hours back over a few mountains.  Steve would continue on the ferry ride and meet us at the end later that evening, then we would all spend the night in a hut in the Joutenheim - miles upon miles of open space covered in mountains and valleys – before driving the rest of the way south to Ingville's tomorrow. (I think the closest thing we have are our national parks, just imagine hardly any trees with unending mountains and valleys instead)

So we drove, stopped for coffee and dad bought a new pair of reading glasses.  The last pair having fallen out of his pocket and been run over by the car on out way out of town (yes, that’s right, we drove over them).  To be honest, I was not in the mood to spend yet another day driving tomorrow, nor was I feeling completely revived from the climb yesterday.  My arm and back muscles in particular were not wanting to cooperate fully all day.  Part of this is stemming from the fact that I just got up on the wrong side of the bed today…early…again…on my vacation.  If I were going to sum up the trip so far it would consist of us spending most of it in the car and getting up early to get to the next place in time to see it around dinner time, before falling asleep to get up early and do it again the next day.  I was done with it. 

So, I thought of changing today’s schedule a bit.  A shorter hike, then possibly driving the other 5 hours back to Ingville’s house tonight instead of tomorrow, then having another 'golden day’ tomorrow as our last day in Norway.  I brought this idea up to Steve and his face lit up as he grabbed me into a bear hug.  I have to say that he has been really great about biding his time, while waiting for my dad and I to finish hiking or doing whatever else he didn’t want to join in on.  All the while not showing a hint of not minding the wait, so I thank him for that.

Dad seemed ok with the idea, so we asked about shorter hikes in the area at the oh, so conveniently located Park Center in the same parking lot where we currently were.  When they gave us a shorter hike in the area that was marked ‘easy’ so Steve could come with us.  His response was, "No.  Look at what you did yesterday.  You are not doing that hike, you wouldn’t like it".  I though about it, and he was right.  I would have been disappointed if I didn’t get in another challenging hike while I could.

So, we kept driving and decided to take the same hike at Biesegan that we previously planned, just start from the end, no ferry involved, and turn around when we were done.  That way we could spend 3 hours climbing, but possibly still make it to Sandefjord tonight.  Although my dad was not keen on this point because he was worried we would be putting Ingville out, as she was not expecting us until tomorrow afternoon.  Steve and I agree that she would be more upset if we told her we decided to stay in a hotel for that reason instead of coming back to her house

We let the matter sit as we drove through the Joutenheim looking for the hike starting point.  This is harder than one might think because there is literally nothing other than a small hut every 10 kilometers or so with a name, in small print, of one of the 100 or so hikes in the area.  We found a town called ***** and decided to ask where this particular mountain was since we weren’t sure.  Apparently, we were about 30 km past it.  Ha!  At first, dad wanted to drive back to it, but both Steve and I put a kaibosh on that.  We were in the middle of how many different mountains and trails?  And dad wanted to drive 30 km back, past how many trails to reach 1 in particular?  So, we chose a challenging mountain about 5 km back that had a good trail on it and would take about 2.5-3 hours to hike up and back.  Perfect.  Steve dropped us off and up we went! 

The day had started out very sunny (we have actually lucked out when it comes to weather.  Even in Bergen, the rainiest town in Norway, we got a sunny day.  I have no idea how or why that happened, but thanks!)  then when we got to the mountain, clouds had covered the sun so we didn’t have to hike in sunny glare or get sunburned.  Yay again!  It was good following a trail, but it make me appreciate more what we did yesterday, with no trail and being much more strenuous.  This hike we didn’t really use our upper body strength at all like we did yesterday.  No hanging by your fingertips on this climb, although there was plenty of leg stretching up and over rocks.

The climb was amazing; the views just got better and better.  We passed about a dozen or so people climbing back down the same trail, but we were the only ones heading up so late in the afternoon (we began at 2pm).  We climbed through some snow, up a lot of rocks and over several little streams.  I’m glad we passed some other people so I could get pictures of the perspective on the mountain.  It’s hard to tell how high we climbed and how rocky the terrain was without a person there to compare the size.  When we reached the top, the temperature had dropped, the wind had picked up and the clouds had gotten a little darker.  Pictures were taken and views were gawked at before we headed back down.  As we began the descent we felt a few drops of the rain the dark clouds were threatening.  That stopped as we went down further and picked up again as we reached the middle of the mountain.  By the time we made it back to the car, in which Steve was napping, it was really starting to rain.  Perfect timing since we weren’t at the top when that happened. 

Dad finally agreed to drive back to Ingville’s house tonight (it was now 5pm) and take the day to rest tomorrow.  The 2 stops for the 5 hour drive consisted of coffee (of course) where we changed out of the wet, muddy hiking clothes, then dinner where we called Ingville to make sure it was ok we came back early.

I hooked my computer to the car’s stereo and we could listen to music, specifically the soundtrack of Avenue Q, which Steve saw a few weeks ago at home in Minnesota and loved (I’m really not surprised how much he liked it considering his sometimes crude personality). 

On the 4-hour drive back, the rain came and went, but decided to stay the night after we stopped driving.  We all chatted for a bit at night and, no surprise, Ingville had waffles set on the table for our return snack.  But luckily no coffee this time, we were all ready to fall asleep, not needing the caffeine to prevent that.  I wonder how sore I will be tomorrow.  2 major hikes in 2 days is enough to make me lay in bed for quite a while.
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