After my friends and I had decided that our travel destination for 2019 would be the beautiful Scandinavian country Norway, we immediately began the discussion about whether or not we would accept the challenge to hike to one of the most famous views in the country; Trolltunga.
Trolltunga is a rock cliff that horizontally juts out from a mountain at 1100 meters above sea level and 700 metres above the lake below. With an ascent of 800 meters and 28 kilometers, the hike to this point is very demanding and not for everyone, but the view is so worth it.
Considering we were – and are!- still young and considered ourselves in good shape, we figured that it was pretty much now or never. So we – with a little heart – added the Trolltunga hike to our itinerary.
In the weeks and months leading up to our trip, this hike was on my mind quite a lot. It was kind of the only part of our trip that I had been planning a little. I read a lot of blogs and watched many videos of people who had hiked it before to be prepared the best way I could.
And then disaster struck. A couple of days before we left for Norway – and one week before we would hike Trolltunga – I got diagnosed with mono. A lot of rest was prescribed and hiking Trolltunga probably didn’t really fall under the category of “resting”. But I just couldn’t accept that I wouldn’t be hiking this iconic hike I’d been looking forward to for months. So I consulted my doctor and he agreed that if I took it slowly the days before and wasn’t feverish the day before and the day itself, I could start the hike. Thank god!
Fortunately I had also just read about a parking lot higher up the trail that had recently opened. With a price tag of 600NOK, it’s a little bit more expensive than the lower parking lot (500NOK) but it saves you four kilometers of climbing and then another four kilometers of descent on the way back. That would make the entire hike 20 kilometers instead of 28. A massive difference in my opinion. There aren’t that many spaces available in the lot – I think about forty -, so making a reservation is highly recommended. You can cancel up to 48 hours before the hike, so this way you can still keep an eye on the weather forecast and make sure you don’t get caught in a massive storm.
Considering my health situation and the fact that this would just make the hike a lot easier for all of us, we decided to cheat a bit and book the upper parking lot. The weather forecast was also perfect – a bit of sun but not too hot – so at 7am on Monday morning September First, we fastened the laces on our hiking boots and were ready to tackle this challenge.
By driving the hairpin bends to the parking lot, we had already become very aware of the fact that most of the climbing on this hike is in the first few kilometers. But we weren’t entirely out of the woods yet. There was still some height to cover, but most of that was mostly at the beginning. Once we’d reached the ridge, it became more flat. But still rocky nonetheless and with occasional climbing of course. It still wasn’t a walk in the park.
Since we were hiking this trail pretty late in the season (beginning of September), we only needed to worry a bit about wet feet. There wasn’t any snow on the trail anymore, only some minor puddles to cross. A huge advantage as well. So do note that if you’re hiking this one earlier in summer, you definitely need waterproof shoeing.
While I had been quite afraid of this trail, I must admit that I didn’t have that many difficulties reaching the end point. I think being in the most beautiful environment definitely helps to keep you distracted from the task you’re dealing with. And the conditions were also perfect in our case.
It is quite a magical moment laying eyes upon the rock for the first time. It’s the view you’ve seen on the internet and on postcards so many times before and suddenly it’s right there in front of you. I must admit that I had expected it to be a bit bigger, but nonetheless the view is still a stunner.
There were already quite a lot of people hanging around at the rock, so we decided to first get our iconic pictures taken. People are very polite around there and are forming a neat and orderly queue so that everyone can get their perfect picture without any other hikers blocking the view. Do take into account that you will need someone to take the picture from a bit further away. We were lucky that the queue wasn’t that big yet so we could queue again for every one of us to get their picture.
My friend and I were also lucky to witness a proposal right in front of us. However it was so quick that everyone else around us seemed to have missed it. This couple was just so nice not to keep the queue up for too long that they sort of seemed to have rushed their moment. I hope that it didn’t feel that way for them and they are still very happy about their engagement.
Once we got our pictures, it was time to take a seat, enjoy the view for a bit and have some lunch. Unfortunately the sun wasn’t that present anymore and with it only being around the freezing point up there, we very quickly got cold. We tried to endure it for as long as we could – we had hiked four hours to get there after all – but after one hour up there, we decided to start our descent back to the parking lot.
Only a couple of minutes later, it sadly started drizzling a little. Fortunately we were prepared and had brought our rain jackets, but that surely didn’t help against the cold. The spare socks we had brought to save us from wet feet however did help a little to replace the gloves we had forgotten. Often it takes just a little bit of creativity. We also quickened our pace a little, hoping that we wouldn’t be hit by more rainfall later on.
But we were lucky. It only drizzled for a while and only three hours later, we found ourselves back in the parking lot. Challenge completed! The way back had taken us a lot less time because of our quicker pace to avoid the rain and of course because we didn’t stop every five seconds to take pictures of the environment.
Looking back at it now, two months later, it was a really lovely hike, but while at that point I was really full about it, it didn’t end up being the highlight of our trip. That was yet to come. However it was a really, really beautiful hike, with the most amazing views along the way and the cherry on top view. The only downside is that there are quite a lot of people hiking along with you, so that kind of ruins the experience of hiking in nature. But I had an absolute blast and it was worth every aching muscle. And hey, at least I can now say I’ve stood on the Troll’s Tongue!