I fumbled around in the dark for my blaring phone alarm, a piercing fog horn in the darkness, the sound reverberating throughout the campsite. I lay flat on my back, swaddled in my warm sleeping bag, contemplating whether I should follow the advice I’d been given.
“The sound of my tent fly unzipping the silence brought back nostalgic memories — god I love camping.”
I tossed the idea around, stacked the pros and cons, weighed my decision. I’d come all the way here and made the effort to stay in this particular campsite — it would all be for nothing if I didn’t go. I sat up, my bare shoulders shivering in the cool air, and pressed my hands to my cold, puffy face.
▣ Highly recommend ▣ Boring but safe ▣ Shit. Boring, strenuous & dangerous ▣ Incomplete
What I thought’d happen
I’d wake up like a coiled spring and bound off to watch the sunrise.
What actually happened
I felt like death, slogged for hours to some godforsaken rock, but the view at the end was unbelievable.
The deafening silence
The sound of my tent fly unzipping the silence brought back nostalgic memories — god I love camping. Cloaked in several layers of wool, feathers and Gore-tex I shuffled out of my coffin. My knees, ankles, back, neck and elbows cracked as I stood up and straightened. I quietly unchained my bike, the links chinking softly in the darkness. I slid into my helmet, the foam compressing my swollen cheeks.
Ready to go
I rolled my bike out of its lair. The engine roared to life, a frightening disruption in the stillness. I scanned the horizon expecting to see flocks of startled birds taking flight. Nothing happened. I dropped the clutch and sped off into the misty morning.
Halfway down the road I heard a clatter. In my experience I have a tendency to occasional mishaps, so I figured something was wrong. I stopped and looked down and sure enough my phone was gone. I propped my bike on it’s stand and, leaving it running, headlights illuminating the fog, jogged back to my desolate companion on the road.
Lifeproof case survived. Phone survived. My lucky day. Phew.
I reached the carpark at 5am but the gate was shut. I put-putted to the left and discovered a gap between the garden bed and the boom gate. My pony effortlessly mounted the little retaining wall. I eased into a parking spot, dumped my gear on the back of my bike and crunched over to the start of the trail. I was about to hike to Preikestolen. Not a soul in sight.
My stomach grumbled
My mouth was dry. An elastic band of fatigue and dehydration tightened around my head and pulsed as I hiked uphill. A fiery orange blur darted across my path. A fox. An early morning flame.
I scaled the rocky path easily for the first hour, through the thick forest, tree trunks watching with their deep-set, wide brown eyes. The sun softly laced through the trees, illuminating the path in front of me. As I walked onto the first plateau I watched it tint the edges of the rocky cliffs pink and yellow. Natures light-show. There was no sound bar the soothing trickle of water and crunch of rocks under my feet. Serenity.
After some time I became aware that I was actually hiking, and it was mind numbing. Every turn looked the same, rocks and undergrowth, trees, boulders. I was on a carousel. The scenery blurred at the edges. I zoned out. I hate that I hated it. But it wasn’t extraordinary.
Then I found myself above the tree line, climbing the edge of a cliff. I broke out of my stupor as I looked back, the dense forest outlined by the rising sun and I wondered at the simple beauty of it. I rounded a corner of the cliff to an orgasmic eruption of scenery. A giant crevice in the Earth opened up before me, a drop of water of immeasurable size. Barren cliffs stood tall either side, ancient stone-faced guardians.
I clambered up to a higher ledge to admire Preikestolen from above. The view in its entirety took my breath away. An oddly perfect plateau jutting from the cliff, I watched little toy men walk across the table and peer over the edge. The fjord below stretched forever. The rising sun, filtered by the clouds, gilded a patchwork of light across the water and glazed the surrounding rock. I suddenly felt like I had never known how small I was before. A tiny, insignificant pinprick in the universe.
What I learned today:
- If I think something went wrong, it probably did
- Everybody thinks of themselves, except me, I think of myself