Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Come away with me

As a new citizen of Oslo, I would like to file a complaint. Although, in this city, there is an opera house, hundreds, possibly thousands of kebab places, supermarkets open at every hour of the day, a gigantic ski jump, a complex metro system and tons of interesting research going on, we are so far from the mountains. Norway is such a moutainous country, and four hours driving to the nearest mountains is such a long way!

That is, until you factor in Norfjell. An hour and half from Oslo, you can get your vitamin M. And that's just what Audun and I did last weekend. We decided not to plan too strenuous a hike, as Audun has been having some knee troubles.

When we started from the middle of the ski lift on Saturday, the sun was high in the sky. And it was warm. As we headed up the ski hill, I was sweating hard in a t-shirt and long pants rolled up.

I hated our hike a little at that point. Who wants to hike up a stupid ski hill? I thought, and then realized the irony on me paying money to run up one just two weeks before. I thought about all the things I should have done that week, and generally stressed out. But by the time we reached the crest of the hill and gazed at the rocky, alpine landscape ahead of us, I let it all go.

A veritable trail highway
We followed the highway of a trail inward, farther away from cars, roads and the ski lift. Carrying all you need on your back, your only goal being one step forward, and then another - this is mediation. I don't need anything else.

In four fairly easy hours we reached Høgvarde, one of two DNT huts in these moutains. We hiked up the peak for which the hut is named, the highest in Norefjell, and were treated to a panoramic view often called one of the broadest in Norway. You can see Oslo, Jotunheimen and Handangervidda all from one point.

Sunset on Høgvarde, from Høgvarde hut

In the evening, with no internet to suck us in and no TV to distract us from the impending dark, we talked with the hutkeeper who complained about how Norefjell was too popular. I see his point - we were barely alone all day on the trails. But these are the mountains nearest Oslo, and it only takes a small fraction of the million people living Oslo to fill up one DNT hut.

The next morning I woke as abruptly as if someone had shaken me. I look outside, and the entire sky was a delicious red orange. I shook Audun.

"Wake up! It's sunrise!"

"Muuuuuurf."

"But it's pretty!"

"It's warm right here."

"But it's pretty!"

And so we ended up on the hill behind the hut at 7:30 in the morning watching a Norwegian fall sunrise.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a real camera (my lens died in August, and Audun's was out of battery), so all our pictures from the weekend are from a cell phone camera.
It was perfect.

Me, the hut and the sunrise
- the Wild Bazilchuk



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