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Trystan: Stavanger, friends, beauty

June 17, 2010

After a few short days of hanging out with my parents in Bergen, it was time for one last road trip. Bags were packed, food was made, cars were collected, and everyone put on their Fun Caps™.

Stavanger’s a decent drive from Bergen, something like 4–5 hours, including ferries. The ferries, by the way, are killer. For our whole trip, with two cars, we spent almost as much on ferries as we did on cars (kr 1.800). It’s a nice drive, though, and the ferries actually break up what little monotony there is. Driving in Norway is like aiming a freight train up a bee’s ass: it’s hard to get a straight shot, and all it takes is one wrong move for game over.

test 019 We got to see the city of Stavanger for a couple hours when the sun was going down. Although we barely glimpsed the surface, the main shopping area was very cool, cute, and clever.

Maybe an hour out of the city we pulled off onto a little side-road-of-a-side-road. After some initial consternation, we agreed on it and found a soft camping spot, where grass covered the rocks so thickly it was like walking on hay. There we were – camping on the beach with a fire, food and drink, and the best company one could ask for. The place was beautiful, too. Watching the sun set—and then start rising just a few hours later—over a mountainous lake with wine and friends is superb.

first camp

DSC_6662We packed it up early, and got back on the road to Kjerag. The drive there is beautiful, as it is everywhere. At the end it gets very hairy—hard hairpins constantly,  and only one lane wide the whole way (you have to pull over and/or back up if you want to let someone pass!). We also saw a bunch of goats just chillin’ in the road, which was fun.

We knew Kjerag would be a tough climb. We knew that. But I didn’t realize just how exhausting it’d really be. The views, at every single point, were beyond breathtaking. Even little things, like drinking right from a stream, are so cool

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DSC_0065There was still a lot of snow up on top of Kjerag. It’s strange to think that it was the middle of June, and here we were trudging through snow – again. But, finally we made it! It was tiresome and overwhelming(ly beautiful), but we made it! At the top of Kjerag is Kjeragbolten—the Kjerag boulder. It’s wedged between two sheer rock edges of a huge rift, and has been for who-knows-how-long. That means that directly beneath is an 984-meter plummet into the fjord (that’s 2/3 of a mile!). For those of you who know me, I’m not a huge fan of heights. Furthermore, I’m a clutz. Majorly. So, you say, a wise, clumsy person afraid of heights would not venture out on a round boulder with no footholds dangling 1000m above the sea. Fortunately, I am no sage. Mother, stop reading. Everyone else, behold:

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Neža  and Sam got out there too, which was pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to stand up on it, unlike Florian, who apparently has bigger cajones than the boulder itself. Mike couldn’t bring himself to do it, but he tried his damn best – impressive nonetheless.

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We rested on top and meandered our way back. Tired is an understatement. Five hours of hiking on only 4–5 hours of sleep really takes its toll. But back into the car we clambered, heading towards test 102Preikestolen, looking for our next camping place. We got, um, lost. And by lost I mean, we all realized more simultaneously that nothing looked familiar, and it turns out we were +/- 3 hours out of the way.

We made it back up towards Preikestolen, and found what can only be described as the most unbelievably perfect camping spot… ever. On the beach, in an inlet, surrounded by trees and water, with the sun setting over the sea. Not a soul in sight.

camp2

camp2 day

The sun was well up by the time we went to bed, but after a few hours of sleep, we were ready to tackle Preikestolen. Preikestolen is completely unimaginable. From the side it’s beautiful, and from on top it’s terrifying and stunning. We had much better weather for Preikestolen, and the colors of the fjord were really something to take it. Photos just can’t do it justice. But it can help give a perspective of the sheer size of this monstrosity.

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