A Winter’s Hike to Pulpit Rock

It’s been awhile since my last blog post and over 2 months since I got back from a week long adventure to visit my friend Tale in Norway.  One of the most amazing things we did while I was in Norway was a winter hike to Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen).  Fortunately we ran into a park ranger (or whatever the Norwegian equivalent is) in the parking lot and were advised to rent spikes for our shoes in order to deal with the ice and snow that started two thirds of the way up the mountain.  We would have definitely turned back once we came to the ice if not for the spikes and would have missed out on some amazing views.

The hike up took about 2 hours and involved walking 3.8 km (2.4 miles) and going up 334 meters in elevation (~1100 feet).  For someone who has spent most of her life in the flatlands of Nebraska and Iowa, this was quite the hike for me!  This was also the first time I have ever been hiking in the winter.  Fortunately the weather was good so we just had to be careful on some ice.

The initial climb was the worst part and I was worried I wouldn’t make it to the top!  However, once I reached the first plateau my stubbornness took over and I was determined to make the rest of the climb.

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My favorite part of the hike was probably when we were crossing the marshland.  It was a little surreal to go from hiking in the mountains to being surrounded by them and crossing a marsh on a boardwalk.  There weren’t any other hikers in the marsh when we were there which added to the mystical ambiance.  At the end of the marsh we came to a stone path that had been rebuilt by Sherpas from Nepal.

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If the mash was mystical, the clearing we found higher up the mountain could only be described as enchanting.  In fact, the clearing was a mini winter wonderland!  The clearing was both shielded from the wind and covered in snow. We took a brief break there to eat the cinnamon rolls that Tale’s mother-in-law had brought with us.

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Further up the mountain there were frozen lakes (we didn’t have too much higher to go at this point).  If you find pictures online of these lakes from the summer, there are so many more people around!  The great thing about hiking to Pulpit Rock at the end of winter was the weather was decent, but there were only a few other small groups on the mountains.

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At last, after about 2 hours of hiking, we made it to Pulpit Rock! The view of the fjord was breathtaking!

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And I absolutely love heights so I got as close to the edge as Tale would allow.  If it hadn’t been for the snow and ice I would have chanced the gusts of wind and sat on the edge of the rock.

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This was definitely the hike of a lifetime and I’m glad my Midwest/ great plains legs were able to get me up there and that Tale was an awesome cheerleader as I pushed on, sometimes just through sheer force of will.

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