I almost died.
Well, that’d be an exaggeration, but I think it’s safe to say the hike near Tromsø was one of the first adventures where I set out to do something, and decided I probably have a higher likelihood of staying alive if I didn’t finish. Yes, coming from the girl that dangled her feet off cliffs in both Peru and Norway. In the words of Jalen Rose, “Not gonna be able to do it!”
We had set out to go on 3 adventures in one of the northernmost cities in the world. Before you jump to conclusions, yes, finding Santa was on the list until we realized we weren’t far north enough:
- Epic Fishing Trip (and to eat our catch)
- Epic Hiking Trip (because we already did Trolltunga so why the hell not?)
- Epic Kayaking Trip (and not drown)
They all had varying degrees of success, which can mainly be attributed to Mother Nature being a biyach. Exhibit 1: she had a seagull poop on my Duke championship t shirt.
I’m pretty sure, by the time we were up north, Mother Nature was having her period. Mood swings all about…
Epic Adventure 1: Fishing
The idea was great. I’m always hungry, so why not experience catching your food and eating it too? The plan was to go out on a boat and fish for about 3 hours, dock on a nearby island, and eat our catch. Unfortunately, we didn’t hit the minimum number of participants required to hit the seas so, we wandered around the city instead. Good thing too, because it rained the entire time we would’ve been on the boat. Speaking of rain
Epic Adventure 2: Hiking
An hour or so north of Tromsø is an area called Kvaløya. You get a gorgeous view of mountains and rivers as you drive down windy roads; very similar to central Norway. Hiking there would’ve been fun, consider we tackled a beast earlier, DBF and I felt like nothing could stop us now. But then it rained, and there was wind, and more rain, and clouds, which, when puffy and white are friendly. These guys were dark and gray, and swirly.
We booked this hike and the following kayaking trip through Active Tromsø. I have to say, our guide was probably the coolest, more adventurous guide we’ve met. I loved it. The hike? Not so much. Let me illustrate with keyboard emoji, throwing it back to pre-iPhone days:
Car Ride to Mountain 😀
We slept, enjoyed the view, and saw mountains. There were ooohs and aaahhhs and, most importantly, folks, we were D-R-Y. Well rested and warmed up from the car’s heat, we set off for the mountain.
Slight Drizzle, All Good 🙂
Still happy and excited for another hike that would result in a bajillion instagram likes, we set off towards the mountain. The top was hidden by clouds, and I personally thought it’d be a really sick picture, when at the top, you see nothing but clouds below you. There was a slight drizzle, but nothing that bothered me. Shameless plug: Northface is AMAZING.
Mud, ew 😐
I don’t like mud. I’m a total girly girl around mud, well mud on my shoes. I couldn’t give a crap about mud on my face or arms; that’ll wash off. But if you ever get a slight piece of brownish goo near my Nikes…there will be hell to pay. So imagine my “ew” face as I’m walking on a slightly steepening hill, with a slightly harder drizzle/rain, and trying to hop away from muddy patches of ground. Not the best situations, but there’s always worse.
I’m getting wet on the outside. Oh well…that’s what I brought my Northface jacket for. My backpack is kinda wet, but the stuff inside is a-ok. iPhone is dry. But this is getting on my nerves. Kinda hear that Empire song on super speed, “Drip, drop, drip drippity drop”
It’s one of the few times where I’m thinking, if only I weighed more, then there’d be more mass here and I won’t get blown over. Shit got real here. Besides the rain that’s getting stronger, the wind is threatening to take me skydiving. All I’m thinking is, are we halfway there yet?
Wind + Rain + Wet T_T
At this point, our guide stopped and asked for the 5th or 6th time how we were all doing. I asked how far we were, and he calmly said, “You’re halfway there.” I stared at him a bit longer and he responded, “Ok, I said that to make you feel better, you’re not halfway there.” This is about 2 hours into the hike and about a gallon of water on top of me from grand ol’ Mother Nature. We decided then that we should turn around.
Slippery Downhill >.<
The tried and true method of butt sliding got us down the mountain, but not without slight hiccups. Nevermind my squishy shoes *insert Phoebe coffeshop song* but going down is sometimes harder than climbing up. I decided it’s better to climb down backwards, so that I’m doing a reverse bear crawl. I’ve done it before, and if I fall, I only fall about 6 inches forward into the ground, vs. massively face planting, rolling downhill, cracking my head open on a rock and well, finding out if God really existed.
Coffee & Cake XD
And heat! Our guide was really kind. He saw we were wet, cold, and miserable. Despite telling us, “Things could be worse, it’s just a bit of water,” he took us safely down the mountain and drove us to a nearby coffee and cake shop. After some warm coffee and delicious carrot cake, we’re back to our chipper selves. We also learned a thing or two about our guide: Tore Albrigtsen:
- He’s a musher, and has done the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest dog sled races
- In one year, he’s done them back to back
- He’s working towards the 7 summits, climbed 4 of them thus far
- And he has almost 70 huskies on his property, 70!!! Huskies!!! ^_^
- He’s uber nice because he took us to see the dogs
I’m sure he had some thoughts after DBF and I happily declared he’d see us again the next day for kayaking, yay!
But, check out the dope pics of clouds around mountains I took before the XO moment:
Epic Adventure 3: Kayaking
Clouds. There just had to be clouds. We’re kayaking in the evening and we see clouds.
Mother Nature was a bitch during the hike. And clouds right before kayaking was no bueno in my book. I was hoping she’d figure her shit out by then. We made a pitstop before hitting the waters. Because, and I quote, something “made us a promise after the hike” to see his dogs.
The only thing that would’ve made us squeal in a higher pitched voice would probably be 100 huskies, licking us, and hugging us. After we got over the cuteness in Tore’s backyard, we suited up for the kayaks.
Peaceful, calming, and a very nice upper body workout, kayaking was a nice change of pace from all the lower body trials we had faced in the last week and a half. My arms were happy to be moving and my core was having fun keeping myself stable and upright so as to not fall into the water. What was serene about our surroundings was the calmness in the air. Being so far up north, the daylight made it feel like it was midafternoon, despite the time being closer to 10pm.
The very light drizzle did give us a sense of “is she or isn’t she?” with the weather. We had a “fun” experience with rain earlier and I think we’re good on the precipitation. I had mentally told Mother Nature that, but I’ve also concluded from the day before that she was a b***. And they don’t give a damn about your opinion.
While the light clouds overhead were a bit of a downer, having just the super light drizzle and no wind means I should have nothing to complain about. After 90 min or so of rowing, we hit an island and I found out why Tore had a giant bag in his kayak. After 90 min of rowing, I also got hungry and our guide was well prepared. Ever the nature man, he started a fire for us and passed around sticks for, not cooking marshmallows, but sausages. Noms!
The fire was all the more impressive as the light drizzle teased us by turning into a 2 min downpour. But, it was all over after that and boom! Sunshine and a rainbow. If this were Ireland, I’d say we should go find a pot of gold. If this were the US, I’d say let’s get some Lucky Charms or ask for Skittles. But it was Norway, so I decided to just say, oooh pretty rainbow.
Getting back down from the mini island and pulling away in our kayaks, we caught a peak of the midnight sun.
With still water, you could also see a perfect reflection of the water below you. Going back, we saw puffy clouds (the nice kind), and a clearer sky. The nighttime sun gave us some extra energy and I was happily rowing back to shore, snapping pics along the way. Didn’t fall over at all, not bad for a first time kayaker, I’d say.
Not to be cliched, but a picture is worth a thousand words:
Up next: fuel for our busy bodies!