Getting back on the horse
26th July 2018
Where are we? Andalsnes, Norway
The walk we did a few days ago took it out of us so we had a day of rest at our campsite where we just caught up with work and washing and hung out relaxing. Then it was time to move on and after Alvundfjord which is definitely not on the tourist trail making for an easy time and the freedom to do what we want without having to worry about other people getting in our way our next destination was back on the tourist carousel. We had our next location and campsite picked out and it was a leisurely Norwegian paced drive around fjords, through tunnels and over one fairly minor but nevertheless impressive mountain. The problem with the tourist carousel and guidebooks though is that somewhere that has a nice location and that can be made to seem very picturesque can turn out to be very different in reality. We checked in and paid at our next campsite and set off in search of a pitch, but we didn’t have much luck, mostly because we didn’t want to pitch up in a puddle, which given the rain overnight seemed to be our only choice so we made the choice to ask for a refund and move on. We managed to find a very small and much more beautiful campsite, without the fancy facilities but who cares, that’s not what we are after. We have a horseshoe of mountains surrounding us and a beach on a river about 5 metres from our van, there are toilets and showers and electricity, so we have everything we need. When we arrived the clouds were low on the mountains so we just needed that to improve and it would be perfection. So when we awoke this morning and saw a clear blue sky and we could see the full outline of the mountains all around us we knew it was going to be a good day. We had spent yesterday looking at all the brochures telling us about all the mountain walks we could do in the area so Jessica had a perfect day planned in her head. Unfortunately there comes a time when reality crashes headlong into Jess’s plans so there would be no 8 hour hike across a 1000m high mountain ridge for our family today. Instead a bike ride and ‘gentle’ mountain hike was on the cards. I never feel like it is a sign of good things to come if we have problems getting started so when the chain came off Ruby’s bike 50 metres out the gate and then Allegra had issues with the first slight gradient we had I was not optimistic, you could almost describe me as grumpy and the ripple effect took hold and it spread around the family. Once it hit Jess I could only hope there was no mention of DT, that’s when I know it is serious. I think we managed to avoid that although it was a hilly ride and there were a few ripples but we made it to the start of our walk. This walk was a little different from our previous walk. For a start we were in tourist country now so instead of having a mountain all to ourselves we were sharing it with every other person who felt like hiking this particular spot today. Compared to our previous hike the path was wider and slightly more worn and described in the guidebooks as a ‘moderate’ difficulty level, the sort of path a Norwegian might take on before breakfast but as we craned our neck back to look up ahead it was clear that we were not getting an easier time of it today. Most of the walk was through the trees so underfoot was a mix of tree roots and rock and with the weather a bit warmer it was slowish going, we needed to stop for plenty of water breaks. As we got higher there were a few spots where there was a 3-4 foot wide path with a chain to hold on to and a sheer drop down one side. The girls strolled along as if it were nothing while I held on with two hands and practically straddled the chain leaning into the mountain. Then there was a section of steps that had been built by Sherpas, I think Norway is where they go on holidays, and by this point I definitely had the shakes in my legs. But I did know that this meant I was near our destination, which was a platform jutting out from the side of the mountain so that everyone could get ridiculously frightening photos of themselves. We sat down for lunch and tiredness and hunger overcame us all and we bickered amongst ourselves until Jess got the big guns out and took away our chocolate privileges, except for Olivia’s because she has such a calm nature and never seems to get sucked in to our family arguments. After lunch was time to fly the drone and get some footage and for those brave enough to walk out onto the platform to have a photo opportunity, needless to say I stayed with the drone. The walk down was a challenge and very tiring on wobbly legs and it was amazing to see Olivia, Allegra and Lily mountain goating it all the way down and charging off ahead of the rest of us. I thought that we had managed to get in a whole mountain walk of about 4 hours without DT coming up but about halfway down Jess brought him out although I can’t remember exactly why. So we had a little chat with Ruby about Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton and how you should never decide you don’t like someone based on what other people tell you and you should always find out for yourself and make your own decisions. Unless of course you are talking about DT and then you just have to not like him because he is such a massive tool. We made it to the bottom of the hill and just collapsed onto the grass for a bit before dragging ourselves up to ride back to the campsite. We got back and decided a nice swim was in order, I dived into the river and it was bloody freezing, very glacial. But it did refresh me even if I could only stay in for about a minute before losing sensation in my feet. And because we had so much energy after our exertions we blew up (with air, not explosives) our kayak so we could have a little paddle. I think if I didn’t call the twins into the van at about 9 they would still be running and riding around the campsite laughing and screaming at the top of their voices; I’m not sure where they get their energy from but I want some of it.
What have we learned? We want to be fitter than we actually are, but we try not to let this stop us from having fun.