This strange story of mine takes me back to July 2014. It was a fine Friday evening, I was bumping glasses of wine with friends to celebrate a good working week. Pretty drunk we were when it strike to me that I want to visit at least one of top five locations to see before I die. And I wanted to do that before 2014 ends. Being in Norway in the month of July, the only place to visited was Trolltunga. Bold place to hike, I thought. But I dint know my drunkenness was having its romantic dance with my sense of adrenaline. So the fact was I was in Oslo; first time travelling to Norway and it was Friday evening. If I had to reach trolltunga, I must leave Oslo by night fall and reach a place called Odda by dawn. With my minimum knowledge of Norwegian transportation system and a drunken mind I requested my local friends to put me in a bus which will take me to Odda. By 2200 hrs I was off from Oslo. July month gives a sunset time of 2300 hrs in Norway. That was perfect for me as I can see the golden meadow stretching to the mountain base and growing more golden as twilight stretched its legs. Lush northern forest was staring back at me as I lay motionless on my seat looking through a foot long glass window. The view gave a strange good feeling that I am going to have best day of my life soon. And boy! what a surprise was waiting for me 400 miles away.
Nightfall brought me down as well. Slept peacefully in a comfortable seat of Norway Bus Transport. Occasionally opening my eyes to see dark silhouette of passing trees jeweled with a moonlit sky. The darkness did reflect my own eyes and made me think “Here I am all alone trying to reach what I think is memorable”. Dawn came with a massive burst of cloud. Pretty cold it was as the outskirts of Odda was snow capped with a week old snow fall. As the bus crawled through the mountainous narrow road, the view I had of the waterfalls connecting to famous Fjords of Norway was breathtaking. 0530 hrs I reached the small town of Odda. I must take some time to talk about this beautiful little town. Tucked between the snow covered mountains Odda supports a small fjord across the city. A decade ago Norway government tapped the water reserve and constructed a hydro dam. However today the dam has been abandoned and rather being used for rappelling training. How cool is that.
Back to senses I had no booking done in any hotel. So feeling a bit lost I asked few local residents to help me out. They directed me to a dormitory hotel called Trolltunga Hotel. What a coincidence. And thank god when I reached there few hotel attendants responded to my knock on the door. Usually Norway is famous for strict business hours. Booked a dom for 50 bucks per night and laid down for a while to recharge my batteries for a long ordeal ahead. Calling it a short nap I set my way to gear my self for the climb. Packed a ham and cheese sandwich. Perhaps the biggest mistake. I packed a single ham and cheese for 15 hours trek. Well who to blame; I overly underestimated the ginormous power of northern mountains.
Started my daylong journey by taking a cab from the hotel. It was a 20 mins drive to reach the base of the mountain. The base was so scenic that I sat there for a while to admire the beauty of northern earth.
Snapping out of my morning admiration I moved to a ‘Trek chart’ notice board. Gracefully sitting on that notice board was a topological view of mountain trail & a simplified representation of the trek heights. My mouth was awe opened when I discovered that the 1st two kilometers of the trek was 45 degrees inclines railway track.
It took me at least one hour to reach the top of the 1st leg. Out of breath I consoled my self the toughest part is over and its going to be all walking on a velvet shire now. And so mistaken I was. Moving along and dodging occasional patches of snow I met with one fellow trekker on the verge of giving up in 1st three kms of the trek. Giving him a proper moral boost I revitalized him to tag along for next 2 kms. Five kilometers in the trek my stranger friend gave up. I had to bid him good bye & now he is my FB buddy. So there I was all alone again, looking forward to walk 7 kilometers. It was around 1 pm in the afternoon when my energy level was touching bare base. With no options I hogged on my sole sandwich. Briefly I called my self an idiotic genius to bring a piece of sandwich. Atleast I was glad that my determination was still strong and green. Took me 6 more hours to glace a first preview of trolltunga. And my god was the witness, what an unearthly view was that. Pushed myself for next hour to reach the tongue of troll. With a shy a my luck I met with few over night tenting trekkers. Perfect guys to take my pictures! And so they did.
I guess I spent the best one hour of my life on top of that mountain. To be precise I spent 5pm till 6 pm on that hardly ventured paradise. But looking at my watch drag me back to the reality that I was on a clock. And not so easy clock it was. Sitting a lump of rock sticking out of snow I did some primary school mathematics. It took me a good nine hours to reach there. Of course it had some climbing to do but it was nine hours. If I leave trolltunga immediately and walk faster it will be atleast 12 midnight before I reach the base. I got a scary chill running through my spine. Night falls by 11pm!! Do I have to walk in night with a fear of mountain storms. Gathering my self together I decided I will descend to the ground by 11pm.
I must say I was a tough descent. I rolled on the banks where I deemed the snow was soft. I slid on the slopes where I deemed the snow was hard. Most of all my wits never betrayed me. And I did had few nasty accidents and badly hurt my right knee. Limping on my right leg I descended last 4 kms. With all my luck working together I was at the base 15mins before night fall. What relief it was. Sat down on the grass and pulled out my camera. When I had a relook at the pictures, I clenched my lips with a sense of achievement.
Going back home from the mountain base was even fun. Asked few local truckers to help me transport the hotel. And yes they said. Asked me if I mind hopping on the tuck basket. I was more than glad to sit in the basket looking at the twilight sky and gathering all my memories together. What an ending to my northern adventure!