Snow, sandwich and a pair of sonic shoes

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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