One journalist's musings about the beautiful, bizarre world in which we live
Beautiful, isn’t it?
And it’s not too difficult to get there, either, with a little bit of research and determination. It’s a small town, but they do have their fair share of tourists.
My preparations started long before landing in Bergen, and they started very broadly. I had three-and-a-half days to do whatever I wanted, and I wanted to do something fun. I really didn’t know much about Norway, so I started with Wikipedia. Norway. Bergen. Fjord.
After learning the basics, I started looking at different things I could do in and around Bergen. Paragliding, whitewater rafting, skiing—it’s paradise for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
I narrowed my focus to the Hardangerfjord region, as it seemed relatively accessible from Bergen. I then narrowed further to a hiking trip, learning that Norway has excellently maintained trails with self-service cabins along many of them.
Den Norske Turistforening—the Norwegian Trekking—also has centres to give people information. The people are beyond friendly. I picked up my detailed map for the hike at the centre in Bergen, along with fuel for my camping stove.
Here is the website I used to find my transportation details. Sure, you may find yourself waiting on the side of a road as I did, where the only passersby are tractors and sheep—but if you’re as lucky as I was, the bus will come on time.
I chose the trail from Sunndal to Fonnabu for several reasons.
One. It was easy to get to from Bergen, and included a spectacular sunset ferry ride.
Two. The path progressed from easy at the beginning to advanced through the second half, and there were stopping points along the path in the event I couldn’t go further.
Three. If the path was so undoable that I couldn’t even begin, there was a nice nearby day hike I could do to the Bondhusvatnet hike and check out the glacier Bondhusbreen.
Four. There was a campsite in town, the aptly named Sunndal Camping, if I were feeling lazy.
One snag was that the path was marked as a summer trail, best done from June through the summer. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a go.
Before embarking, I didn’t find too much of is English blog posts explaining other people’s experiences with this particular trail at this time of year. Perhaps I wasn’t looking in the right places, but this is one of the reasons I decided to start this little portion of my blog.
I chose path before I left, but my decision was affirmed by locals when I arrived—many who spoke English. They agreed that the trail might be a bit snowy this time of year, but I could always stop and turn back if necessary. Many chuckled and said as a Canadian, they were sure I was more than prepared for whatever their mountains could offer.
I arrived at midnight in Sunndal. Though I had corresponded with someone from Sunndal Camping, they didn’t speak much English and I did not know for sure whether I was expected. Nevertheless, I plopped myself down near the waterfront in my sleeping bag, and hoped they wouldn’t be too upset on finding me there in the morning.
Indeed, the next day I found a sign that said that was fine for those who found their way there to set up and pay when they could find the people that ran the facility. As such, I paid my way and off I went up the mountain.
It was frigging beautiful. I was blessed by mostly sun and warmth. You can see that from my photos, eh?
May is a great time to do this hike, I was told—if you bring your snow-scaling equipment. I only made it to Gardshammar, as there was only snow as far as my eye could see past that point, on the other side of the mountain. I was passed by a hike-ski squad, and one member told me it’s a trail they do every year, though generally later in the season.
I spent one night in my tent on this trail (not sure if I was technically allowed to), and I climbed down the next day.
I spent that day hiking around the lake. I even took a swim, meaning I can now say I have swum in glacier lakes on two continents.
Where to next?