Europe’s most extreme photo location

Norway’s most enjoyable day-hike.

We stopped for a minute to catch our breath.  “Where could she be?” Elena asked, between her panting. We had not seen Lucy for almost two hours now. She had a habit of racing ahead of our group of four during our hikes, but would reappear again further along the track, having run out of stamina in which time we’d catch back up. The three of us had just climbed to the top of a rocky pass saddled between two hilltops. We had an excellent panorama of the pancake flat plain in front of us, dropping down hundreds of meters to the lake filled fjord below, which we would walk along to our right. By our estimates we could see much further in distance than Lucy could have walked, but she was nowhere to be seen.

We were hiking along the Trollstunga track in Norway, a 10 hour, 24km return journey to one of the most recognisable and scenic locations, in the country. Not only is it a great spot, but it’s also a rewarding (note for some, Challenging!) day-hike through some picturesque highland scenery.

Painting, or picture? Highlands on Norways Trollstunga Europe's most extreme photo location Europe's most extreme photo location painting or picture highlands on norways trollstunga

Painting, or picture? Highlands on Norways Trollstunga (hint: this picture is upside down!)

 

We began at 8am, after driving up from Skjeggedal to the trailhead along a very narrow road used for serving the local hydroelectric station. The first kilometer of the hike is a rapid ascent up the mountainside, agonizingly, right alongside the railway used for the handful of lodges that you’ll see once you reach the top. Note – the impossibly steep railway is closed to the public! Fear not though, for most of the hike’s 1280 vertical meters are conquered in that first section (snaking up a 60 degree slope!) a great way to start the day and get the heart pumping!

After the first kilometer, most of the climbing was done and we continued hiking (at this stage we lost our friend!) for a short section before another upward segment that led to the saddle between the hilltops. Numerous huts were built around the area, and they provide a beautiful staging post for the hike if you have the money to spare! Alternatively, you can throw the tent up along the trail for a more adventurous night sleep, and we passed two Norwegian girls packing down their tent as we climbed slowly to the saddle.

Trollstunga, on route Europe's most extreme photo location Europe's most extreme photo location DSC00430

Trollstunga, on route

The day was perfect, and the early morning fog was settled into the fjord, covering the water below. The wonderful white fog drifted between the fjords, with brilliant bright sunshine beating down from above. The effect was beautiful and added an extra dimension of awe to the landscape.

 The wonderful white fog drifted between the fjords, with brilliant bright sunshine beating down from above.

 

An hour later, coming behind us at our unawares, our lost crusader returned! She had taken a wrong turn on the trail, and had realized only much later. We stopped for a rest and allowed her to catch her breath while we gazed down upon the fjords. Another Iranian hiker stopped to talk with us, and was quite amazed after I mentioned we had spent 3 weeks in Iran, just earlier in the year.

Trollstunga Trail, Norway Europe's most extreme photo location Europe's most extreme photo location trollstunga trail norway

Trollstunga Trail, Norway

 

The hours passed, and shortly after 12pm we arrived at the Trollstunga. The view was worth the hike immediately. Trollstunga translates to “Trolls Tongue” and it’s easy to see why. The rock formation protrudes outwards from the Cliffside, in a dangerous fashion. We have been informed there have been no deaths from people falling from the rock, although it would not be hard to imagine it happening! The Trollstunga is a rectangular rock slab, pointing out above the fjord at a slight upward angle. Its width gets less the further along you go, and by the end it is thin enough to bend your knees, and pull your legs up underneath!

 

Trollstunga reverse side Europe's most extreme photo location Europe's most extreme photo location trollstunga reverse side

Trollstunga reverse side, as seen from the back

Our new Iranian friend turned out to be a great help, as he took the pictures of us on the rock, while we returned the favor afterwards for him. In total, there were around 20 people there at the same time as us, and although it may sound like a lot, for a major attraction in Europe – that’s pretty good! The length of the hike obviously removes it from the basket of ‘Bus tour’, which is great. No crowds, and much more pleasant than Pulpit Rock (which I was quite disappointed with)..

Highly recommended!

 

A long return journey retracing our steps, we arrived back at the car at 17:30.

Stats : +1280 meters ascent, -1306 meters descent, 9:33 minutes total, 2454m highest point, 8am start. 3rd September 2013

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