8.5 Bucket List Checked
“Can you hold my hands?” The good looking girl before me asked me. I always pride myself for going great length to help others selflessly. I held her hands so she could jump on and off the boulder confidently. She thanked me and I told her: any time. I serious contemplated the idea of offering a hand holding service near the boulder, for ladies.
When it is my turn, pressing myself against the wall, the shoulder width ditch formed between the boulder and the cliff appeared to be ever expanding. Before I was about to have a panic attack, I held my heart beat, leapt and landed firmly yet slightly off the center of the bevel. I eventually minced over to the center, straightened my hunched back, stood up on my wildly shaking legs and extended my hands, looking as normal as possible towards the cameraman and smiled. Luckily on the photo my legs looked steady and I appeared as courageous as any other travelers did. I jumped back, proudly looking at the long queue behind me – I didn’t let the baton down!
I also noted to myself to let go the hand holding service idea.
Hiking around Norway Fjord was not like any other hiking I have done before. Our first stop was Preikestolen. Starting from Stavanger, it took an hour to reach the foot of the hill. The whole horizontal distance was about 6km (one way), but felt a lot longer partly due to the altitude and partly due to the path construction. The path was made of oversize stones, broken steps and many times just randomly placed rocks. Many places we had to go down on all 4s to “climb” up. In comparison, all the hiking I did before were like bowling on lanes with side barriers. Had this been in England, whoever build the path would have been buried many times over with lawsuits. In Norway, both children and elderly alike joined the rank of climbers. Sitting near the edges hundred meters above sea level, breathe in the cool and fresh air, the view was awarding: artistically carved mountain backs interlacing with tall trees, ponds and massive rocks. Dark blue, quiet Lyseford looked like a rich, smooth stroke on a master piece, neatly separating the Fjord. Preikestolen was a protruding flat platform with a bird view of the whole Fjord. Audacious travelers dangled their feet off the cliff. I crawled to the edge and managed to take a photo on my knee!
(PS: a thousand tourists have been cropped out)
Kjerag was on a whole different level. It is like bowling without bowling lanes. Climbers had to do with smooth rock surfaces that close to 60 degrees. Lines of cracks in between and broken plates were the only way to go up and down. I suddenly felt stairs were the best invention ever made! The whole journey was intensive physically and psychologically. The route leading to the boulder was connected with narrow ledges, flowing springs, thick and slippery ice sheets and awe inspiring landscape. It definitely should be on anyone’s bucket list.
If you still had energy, Stravenger was a quiet coastal town. Generous greenery and cozy small houses will make a pleasant afternoon walk.