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Europe, Hiking, Norway, Top Trips, Travel

Besseggen

We’re back from a great vacation in the old country – we got to spend time with all our family and a lot of our friends, laze about the summer house eating Norwegian chocolate, and I got to see Leonard Cohen, my big hero, in concert. Absolutely amazing. Best concert ever!

Waiting for the ferry by Gjendesheim

Another highlight for us geeks was to finally hike Besseggen; the (in)famous ridge Peer Gynt claimed to have ridden on a reindeer. The hike across the Besseggen ridge is the most popular trail in Norway, so be prepared to share it with hordes (40,000 every year!) of not just Norwegians, but tourists from continental Europe in various states of preparedness – a couple years ago my friend had to help a tourist who was scrambling up the ridge in flip flops…

Next stop: Gjendebu

Anyway, the reason why I haven’t hiked this before (even though my family used to have a cabin in the area) is because I am ridiculously afraid of heights. I’ve been pushing my limits this last year though, so I thought I would do fine. Ahem.

Gorgeous!

We drove up and stayed in an overpriced hotel ($200 for a pretty shabby room) at Beitostølen so JK and I could get up early and catch the first ferry at 7:45 the next morning – we owe my dad many thanks for getting up and driving us… :) A much better plan would have been to stay for next to nothing at Gjendesheim, where you take the ferry ($20). All you need is a sleeping bag. You could also camp in the area.

Snack spot

Once you get off the ferry, the trail immediately starts climbing up. It was only 40 degrees (Fahrenheit..) when we started, but the combination of the sun and the hill had me stripping off in less than 15 minutes, a new record! Fortunately this part of the trail also serves to thin out the crowd as the stragglers fall back; a blessing since everyone from the ferry starts hiking at the same time.

JK

As you get higher, the views into Jotunheimen really open up. Definitely one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been – the glacier-fed Lake Gjende and those beautiful peaks…our photos really don’t do it justice! Seeing a flock of reindeer was an unexpected bonus.

Reindeer!

Finally we reached the part I was dreading – the Besseggen ridge. Supposedly (I think these figures sound too high), when you near the top of the ridge there is a 700 meter drop down to Lake Gjende on one side and 300 meters to Bessvatn on the other. As we started scrambling up the ridge, I had an embarrassing moment of panic and got really dizzy. It got better once I sat down to breathe, and then all I could think of was getting to the top..

Ugh

Scrambling

Looking back, I can see that it really isn’t that dangerous; it was all in my vertically-challenged head. It is comforting to know that even with all the people that hike this every year, no one has ever fallen off and died. I felt a little silly panicking up there while little children just ran past me…

...aaand another one

I don’t have any good stats on this hike since Norwegian trail guides measure trails in hours, not distance. This hike is supposed to take 6 hours without rest stops – we used 8 with all our food/photo/looking-at-reindeer breaks.

I found out on the intertubes that the hike is around 10 miles long, and if I had to guess, I would say the elevation gain is around 3,500 feet.

One last obstacle

For those of you who are NOT scared of heights, I would recommend doing this hike the other way around; starting at Gjendesheim, walking down Besseggen, and then taking the ferry back – this way you get the best views without having to turn around all the time.

Heh

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14 Comments

  • Reply Anette S July 18, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Hallo og takk for sist :) tihi!
    Vi har hytte på Beitostølen, så jeg har selvsagt tatt båten. Men både frem og tilbake, er jeg redd. Men jeg har gått Bitihorn, da. Ikke akkurat en bragd, men jeg er ganske lat!

  • Reply Lene S July 18, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Fantastiske bilder!! Vi har hytte på “andre sida”, Valdres mot Golsfjellet, og det har hendt at vi tar en tur til Beitofjellet :o) Har lenge hatt en drøm å gå Besseggen..elsker fjellet, men er vanvittig redd for høyder. Tror allikevel jeg må utfordre meg selv en vakker dag ;o) Takk fot titten :o)

    Lene S

  • Reply raquel July 18, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    The pictures you took were amazing! I would love to go to Norway some day! We just got back from a 2 week long motorcycle trip with our family. We rode through a lot of the North-eastern states and took a lot of back roads. It was beautiful….theres nothing like being with family!

  • Reply moon ko July 19, 2008 at 11:15 am

    what an amazing place!
    beautiful. just beautiful.
    if i’m ever in norway…
    :)

  • Reply Joscelyne Cutchens July 19, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    these pictures are awesome and you are looking great ingunn! :)

  • Reply Camilla Gjerde July 20, 2008 at 12:54 am

    Spennende, virkelig vakker tur dere har gått. Kjekt at dere hadde en fin tur til gamlelandet, og fikk besøkt venner & familie:) Jeg har tenkt at norsk natur ikke kan måle seg med det lansdskapet du opplever over there- men det er nok bare siden det er så anderledes enn det jeg ser hver dag. For når jeg ser på bildene dine (som forøvrig er kjempegode) så er det bare -wow! Vi har det virkelig vakkert her til lands. Jeg fikk kjempelyst til å gå den turen der i sommer, må sjekke litt mer opp. Vel hjemme med kofferten full i freia nå da? *lol* Ha en flott uke!

  • Reply Leanne Stamatellos July 20, 2008 at 3:39 am

    way to go!
    looks like a most amazing thing to do.

  • Reply kellyangelo July 23, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I love your wide-angle lense self-portraits together!

    I’ve never been interested in hiking in my life, but you make it sound (and look!) fascinating!

  • Reply kerry lynn July 25, 2008 at 6:31 am

    just beautiful ingunn!!
    makes me miss norway even more.
    thanks.
    ;)

  • Reply Linn August 4, 2008 at 11:25 am

    denne turen er heilt fantastisk :) I år valgte vi å ta turen utover Hardangervidda og det er også utrolig flott.
    Jeg misunner deg det flotte turterrenget dere har der dere bor, for det ser skikkelig flott ut. Det er alltid like spennende å titte innom bloggen din :)

  • Reply Nora August 10, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Besseggen er en fin tur:) Har gått den 3 ganger faktisk, en gang som barn, en gang som 12 år og en gang med ungdomsskolen. Da jeg var 12 gjorde jeg og pappa turen litt “lenger”. Vi startet på Gjendesheim og tok ferge + gikk en lang fin tur gjennom en dal inn til Gjendesbu som ligger innerst i vannet. Dagen etter gikk vi fra Gjendesbu til Memerubu, og dagen etter igjen gikk vi Beseggen:) Utrolig masse fine bilder du tok! Fikk lyst til å gå i fjellet igjen nå jeg..hehe.

  • Reply Merete August 18, 2008 at 10:57 am

    For noen nydelige bilder!! Tror jammen meg jeg har lyst til å gå Besseggen igjen. Er jo over 10 år siden jeg gikk over der…i tåke og mild snøstorm. Ikke helt det store det igrunn… ikke så vi så mye heller. Men det er nå en fin tur – og det er absolutt en opplevelse :) Flott blogg du har!

  • Reply sessfully September 4, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I would love to go to Norway some day! We just got back from a 2 week long motorcycle trip with our family. We rode through a lot of the North-eastern states and took a lot of back roads. It was beautiful….theres nothing like being with family!

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