At the end of last year I was creating a promotional booklet for UQ Abroad when I came across a photo of a student standing on a rock in Norway with the most spectacular backdrop. I found out that the rock is called Trolltunga, which literally means trolls tongue and made the decision then that I would make it to that exact spot by the end of 2015.
Sunday 11 October marked the day I made it up there, and what a challenge it was!
The hike is located about 20 minutes north of Odda, a small and picturesque town that has a similar feel to Queenstown, NZ. We drove in on Saturday afternoon and after seeing all the ‘no motorhome or over night camping’ signs, we drove back in to town and stayed at Odda Camping. It’s the best campsite we have stayed at! Great vibes, a beautiful fjord and you can have a camp fire!
Ana, the Swedish woman running reception was incredibly friendly and helpful.
We woke up at 7am on Sunday morning, having laid out clothes out and prepped our food the night before, got ready and drove to the first carpark. The sign definitely said no motorhomes and we didn’t want to risk driving up there and something happening, so we had to walk the 6kms to the hike starting point. On our walk up, a few motorhomes drove past… Hmm.
The hike is recommended for people who are at least moderately fit and they suggest you start before 10am. We were hoping to start by 8:30am (the sun rises around 7:30am in October) and be done by 6pm as the sun sets around 6:30 and is dark by 7. Unfortunately the extra walk meant we started just before 10am.
The temperature was about 6 degrees and relatively clear. I wore Aldi leggings under my $15 Kmart compression tights (best buy ever, also great for long haul flights!), bonds ankle socks, relatively new nikes and then a sports bra, Kathmandu thermal top, target sports jacket, Aldi Soft Shell Ski jacket and took a beanie, scarf and gloves as well.
After completing the first 1000 steps (made up of varying sized rocks) I was warming up and took the Target and ski jacket off. The Trolltunga hike in October is quite muddy. It was obvious early on that it wasn’t going to be an easy hike. Plenty of rocks, hills, mud and cliffs to navigate.
We stopped every hour or so for snacks and food and were happy we packed so much.
Throughout the hike I ate:
2 X ham and salad rolls
1 X banana
1 X orange
2 X museli bars
Some corn chips
200g of natural yogurt with fresh berries mixed through
I was amazed (and relieved) at the energy boost stopping and having a snack gave me.
While the best time to hike the trail is between May-September we really enjoyed going in the off season. We saw about 15 other people the entire time whereas hundreds do it in the high season and you can often be waiting over 90 minutes to get your picture on the rock.
You do cool down incredibly quickly as soon as you stop for food, and as you climb higher so about 2 hours in the ski jacket and beanie went back on. The gloves made an appearance to when it started to snow!
I also found a good stick that was useful for distinguishing rocks from mud. This was important to me considering my nikes were brand new and a gift from Dannii. I knew she would kill me if they got ruined. I looked in to hiring or buying other shoes for the hike but Scandinavian prices are not traveller friendly…
Some parts of the hike were picturesque, especially here which was around the 7km mark and got us excited for the main view!
We reached the summit at 3pm so it had taken us 5 hours to hike 11km. We had some food & got some photos and were overjoyed that we had made it!
Then we had to start the journey back down. I actually found the downhill more challenging because I often felt like I was going to fall. I’m not ashamed to admit some of it was done sliding down on my butt!
It took us about 3.5 hours to get down to the bottom and my goodness were we sore! Walking 6kms back to the RV was not an option. One group had finished just before us and another group were a bit behind, and that was it. So I went up to the young looking group and asked if we could get a lift back to Scarlett. They were a group of young exchange students and were happy to have their first hitchhikers (sorry Mum).
The actual hike took us 8.5 hours (they recommend 10 hours, yay us) and upon reflection while it is physically challenging, the hardest part is how long 22km actually takes you to walk. You just have to keep going because it’s 100 per cent worth it.
I would highly recommend hiking Trolltunga and if you are going to do it in October, start by 8:30am, don’t walk 6kms before even starting the hike, pack plenty of food, have hiking boots or shoes with good grip, and layer up.
P.s We found out later that the no motorhome sign is only for the high season when the carpark right near the start fills up and it would have been fine for us to drive up there.
P.P.S For those of you shaking your head at me doing the hike in my Nike’s (I’m looking at you Rowena and Medard) there was a woman doing it in a beautiful white trench coat, dress, what I imagine were skin coloured stockings and brown knee high Steve Madden boots. She looked like a Russian Princess and the only plausible explanation I have is that there must have been a helicopter near by that had dropped her off and was coming back soon to pick her up!