Norway - We paid our respects to Herr Munch as we passed by.

Norway

We paid our respects to Herr Munch as we passed by.

Norway: 1 / 115
Norway - Bergen Railway: Oslo-Bergen

Norway

Bergen Railway: Oslo-Bergen

Norway: 2 / 115
Norway - Bergen Railway: Oslo-Bergen

Norway

Bergen Railway: Oslo-Bergen

Norway: 3 / 115
Norway - Bergen station, the final stop on the Bergen Railway

Norway

Bergen station, the final stop on the Bergen Railway

Norway: 4 / 115
Norway - Bryggen, the UNESCO listed Hanseatic wharf town is also Norway’s second largest city.

Norway

Bryggen, the UNESCO listed Hanseatic wharf town is also Norway’s second largest city.

Norway: 5 / 115
Norway -

Norway

Norway: 6 / 115
Norway -

Norway

Norway: 7 / 115
Norway - I found my troll mate

Norway

I found my troll mate

Norway: 8 / 115
Norway - Norwegian humor

Norway

Norwegian humor

Norway: 9 / 115
Norway - As if you needed more reasons to hug a tree. Yarn bomber hits Bergen!

Norway

As if you needed more reasons to hug a tree. Yarn bomber hits Bergen!

Norway: 10 / 115
Norway - It wasn’t just good, the bread in Norway was outstanding! Most of our hotels served robust breakfast buffets with a selection of freshly baked multi-grain breads prominently featured.

Norway

It wasn’t just good, the bread in Norway was outstanding! Most of our hotels served robust breakfast buffets with a selection of freshly baked multi-grain breads prominently featured.

Norway: 11 / 115
Norway - Let’s get this party started! First ferry out of Bergen.

Norway

Let’s get this party started! First ferry out of Bergen.

Norway: 12 / 115
Norway - 50+ shades of blue

Norway

50+ shades of blue

Norway: 13 / 115
Norway - Wind in our hair, don’t care.

Norway

Wind in our hair, don’t care.

Norway: 14 / 115
Norway - Jon didn’t hesitate. He slapped on his new Top Set Trekker cap and got right to business.

Norway

Jon didn’t hesitate. He slapped on his new Top Set Trekker cap and got right to business.

Norway: 15 / 115
Norway - Veten cliff

Norway

Veten cliff

Norway: 16 / 115
Norway - I have never seen a nicer trailhead facility; heated too.

Norway

I have never seen a nicer trailhead facility; heated too.

Norway: 17 / 115
Norway - There was no real trail at first. We just scrambled up the hillside above the beach.

Norway

There was no real trail at first. We just scrambled up the hillside above the beach.

Norway: 18 / 115
Norway - Grotle, Norway: the trailhead for Veten Cliff

Norway

Grotle, Norway: the trailhead for Veten Cliff

Norway: 19 / 115
Norway - Helen

Norway

Helen

Norway: 20 / 115
Norway - Jenny

Norway

Jenny

Norway: 21 / 115
Norway - Jon and Stacey

Norway

Jon and Stacey

Norway: 22 / 115
Norway - This big open meadow leads to an overlook at the far edge, Veten Cliff

Norway

This big open meadow leads to an overlook at the far edge, Veten Cliff

Norway: 23 / 115
Norway - Headed back to the van and the beach below.

Norway

Headed back to the van and the beach below.

Norway: 24 / 115
Norway - Jon took us to the cozy harbor town Kalvåg, where we stayed the night.

Norway

Jon took us to the cozy harbor town Kalvåg, where we stayed the night.

Norway: 25 / 115
Norway - From Kalvåg we took the van to Løen, on two-way roads wide enough for only one car.

Norway

From Kalvåg we took the van to Løen, on two-way roads wide enough for only one car.

Norway: 26 / 115
Norway - We stopped in to meet Anne and Rogier and enjoyed a cup of espresso at their historic 1865 sheep farm in Davik. As on many other farms, only the main house is painted white, because white paint was more expensive. All the other houses on the farm (like the barn) are painted in red.

Norway

We stopped in to meet Anne and Rogier and enjoyed a cup of espresso at their historic 1865 sheep farm in Davik. As on many other farms, only the main house is painted white, because white paint was more expensive. All the other houses on the farm (like the barn) are painted in red.

Norway: 27 / 115
Norway - We met Anne and Rogier and got to pet and feed their sheep, an old breed, called ‘wild sheep’. They live outside all year, and also give birth to their lambs outdoors, by themselves.

Norway

We met Anne and Rogier and got to pet and feed their sheep, an old breed, called ‘wild sheep’. They live outside all year, and also give birth to their lambs outdoors, by themselves.

Norway: 28 / 115
Norway - As we approached Løen, we rounded a bend in the road and the Skåla peak came into view. We stopped once more for provisions and then set out on our hike to the top.

Norway

As we approached Løen, we rounded a bend in the road and the Skåla peak came into view. We stopped once more for provisions and then set out on our hike to the top.

Norway: 29 / 115
Norway - Karen

Norway

Karen

Norway: 30 / 115
Norway - Missy, Helen, Stacey, Jenny F

Norway

Missy, Helen, Stacey, Jenny F

Norway: 31 / 115
Norway - Packs up and ready to hit the trail.

Norway

Packs up and ready to hit the trail.

Norway: 32 / 115
Norway - This compact, lightweight device allows you to safely drink directly from streams and lakes. @jon.meiholt had assured us the water in Norway is 100% safe without filtration (and it was!) but it was fun to test the @LifeStraw for future trips.

Norway

This compact, lightweight device allows you to safely drink directly from streams and lakes. @jon.meiholt had assured us the water in Norway is 100% safe without filtration (and it was!) but it was fun to test the @LifeStraw for future trips.

Norway: 33 / 115
Norway - We settled into a rhythm hiking this section of gentle grassy switchbacks past the tree line. We drifted into pods of two or three, taking the time to catch up, or get to know one another better.

Norway

We settled into a rhythm hiking this section of gentle grassy switchbacks past the tree line. We drifted into pods of two or three, taking the time to catch up, or get to know one another better.

Norway: 34 / 115
Norway - Skåla, being Norway’s longest continual ascent, is host to an annual summer event called the La Sportiva Skåla Opp, Northern Europe’s toughest uphill race.

Norway

Skåla, being Norway’s longest continual ascent, is host to an annual summer event called the La Sportiva Skåla Opp, Northern Europe’s toughest uphill race.

Norway: 35 / 115
Norway - Jenny

Norway

Jenny

Norway: 36 / 115
Norway - The luxury of clean, safe water was a plus. It was nice and cold too.

Norway

The luxury of clean, safe water was a plus. It was nice and cold too.

Norway: 37 / 115
Norway - We had the trail largely to ourselves, though we did encounter a few locals out trail running. One, who we nicknamed “supergirl” blitzed past us when we were just 20 minutes from the summit. We shouted encouragements to her and she tucked in and went for it, sailing by in her tank top and running shorts, her long sleeve shirt tied around her neck, floating like a cape. On her way back down, she thanked us. It had not been a PB she said, but she was pleased with her time, and off she went. The women’s record for the race: 1 hour, 20 minutes and 6 seconds.

Norway

We had the trail largely to ourselves, though we did encounter a few locals out trail running. One, who we nicknamed “supergirl” blitzed past us when we were just 20 minutes from the summit. We shouted encouragements to her and she tucked in and went for it, sailing by in her tank top and running shorts, her long sleeve shirt tied around her neck, floating like a cape. On her way back down, she thanked us. It had not been a PB she said, but she was pleased with her time, and off she went. The women’s record for the race: 1 hour, 20 minutes and 6 seconds.

Norway: 38 / 115
Norway - After a brief stop to regroup and have a snack, fill water bottles, we encountered snow, and the trail was harder to follow.

Norway

After a brief stop to regroup and have a snack, fill water bottles, we encountered snow, and the trail was harder to follow.

Norway: 39 / 115
Norway - Stacey

Norway

Stacey

Norway: 40 / 115
Norway - Jon

Norway

Jon

Norway: 41 / 115
Norway - Missy

Norway

Missy

Norway: 42 / 115
Norway - Skåla group photo before the final summit push.

Norway

Skåla group photo before the final summit push.

Norway: 43 / 115
Norway - Seeing this trail sign when we had yet to see any sign of the summit gave us the boost we needed to reach the top.

Norway

Seeing this trail sign when we had yet to see any sign of the summit gave us the boost we needed to reach the top.

Norway: 44 / 115
Norway - Noticing we were within the lower end of the estimated hike time, perhaps inspired by “supergirl,” Jenny F and Dagmara decided to sprint the final bit to see if we could get in under 5 ½ hours total time. Yes we did.

Norway

Noticing we were within the lower end of the estimated hike time, perhaps inspired by “supergirl,” Jenny F and Dagmara decided to sprint the final bit to see if we could get in under 5 ½ hours total time. Yes we did.

Norway: 45 / 115
Norway - Summit at last. Success.

Norway

Summit at last. Success.

Norway: 46 / 115
Norway - The iconic Skålatårnet tower, built in 1891 for mountain tourists to rest body and soul.

Norway

The iconic Skålatårnet tower, built in 1891 for mountain tourists to rest body and soul.

Norway: 47 / 115
Norway - It didn’t have to be said. The climb was not completed until you tagged the tower.

Norway

It didn’t have to be said. The climb was not completed until you tagged the tower.

Norway: 48 / 115
Norway - It felt good–damn good.

Norway

It felt good–damn good.

Norway: 49 / 115
Norway - This is how it feels to climb a mountain.

Norway

This is how it feels to climb a mountain.

Norway: 50 / 115
Norway - Together at the top of Skåla.

Norway

Together at the top of Skåla.

Norway: 51 / 115
Norway - We booked our overnight lodging in Skålabu, the new self-service lodge at the summit of Skåla, opened in 2017.

Norway

We booked our overnight lodging in Skålabu, the new self-service lodge at the summit of Skåla, opened in 2017.

Norway: 52 / 115
Norway - We hadn’t imagined such luxuries at 6,063 feet: a potbelly stove, a fully stocked honor-pantry, and down duvets. Welcome to hiking in Norway.

Norway

We hadn’t imagined such luxuries at 6,063 feet: a potbelly stove, a fully stocked honor-pantry, and down duvets. Welcome to hiking in Norway.

Norway: 53 / 115
Norway - We appreciated not having to go outdoors to use the adjacent but separate (and very clean!!!!) toilets with windows and views!

Norway

We appreciated not having to go outdoors to use the adjacent but separate (and very clean!!!!) toilets with windows and views!

Norway: 54 / 115
Norway - Skålabu was a hiker’s dream: an architecturally cool Scandi design, compact, efficient, and meticulously clean.

Norway

Skålabu was a hiker’s dream: an architecturally cool Scandi design, compact, efficient, and meticulously clean.

Norway: 55 / 115
Norway - Dr Hans Henrik Gerhard Klouman’s original tower is still open to mountaineers. There are 22 beds on two levels, and an honor bar with coffee and hot cocoa.

Norway

Dr Hans Henrik Gerhard Klouman’s original tower is still open to mountaineers. There are 22 beds on two levels, and an honor bar with coffee and hot cocoa.

Norway: 56 / 115
Norway - The new structure complements the landscape and does not compete with the original tower.

Norway

The new structure complements the landscape and does not compete with the original tower.

Norway: 57 / 115
Norway - Skålabu sunset, 11:11 pm.

Norway

Skålabu sunset, 11:11 pm.

Norway: 58 / 115
Norway - Tired and comfy cozy under our duvets, but YOLO so we set our alarms for the sunrise at 4:20am

Norway

Tired and comfy cozy under our duvets, but YOLO so we set our alarms for the sunrise at 4:20am

Norway: 59 / 115
Norway - Each of us grew in her own way, to be stronger, more confident, and set new and expanded goals.

Norway

Each of us grew in her own way, to be stronger, more confident, and set new and expanded goals.

Norway: 60 / 115
Norway - Before we left Skålabu, we made sure to chop new ice to melt on the potbelly stove for the next travelers.

Norway

Before we left Skålabu, we made sure to chop new ice to melt on the potbelly stove for the next travelers.

Norway: 61 / 115
Norway - Jenny F

Norway

Jenny F

Norway: 62 / 115
Norway - Exhausted, happy and proud.

Norway

Exhausted, happy and proud.

Norway: 63 / 115
Norway - Løen

Norway

Løen

Norway: 64 / 115
Norway - Løen

Norway

Løen

Norway: 65 / 115
Norway - A new day, a new adventure. After massages and a champagne toast sent to us (from Houston) by Helen’s husband Craig for their anniversary, we were ready to tackle the via ferrata.

Norway

A new day, a new adventure. After massages and a champagne toast sent to us (from Houston) by Helen’s husband Craig for their anniversary, we were ready to tackle the via ferrata.

Norway: 66 / 115
Norway -

Norway

Norway: 67 / 115
Norway - Jenny has been looking forward to the Norway ferrata since we discovered how fun they were in the Dolomites.

Norway

Jenny has been looking forward to the Norway ferrata since we discovered how fun they were in the Dolomites.

Norway: 68 / 115
Norway - Karen’s first ferrata

Norway

Karen’s first ferrata

Norway: 69 / 115
Norway - ****

Norway

****

Norway: 70 / 115
Norway - I didn’t stand too long at the junction between the E Expert route and the moderate option to the top. I had been training weekly at the indoor climbing gym and was eager to see how the effort would translate IRL. 
E it was.

Norway

I didn’t stand too long at the junction between the E Expert route and the moderate option to the top. I had been training weekly at the indoor climbing gym and was eager to see how the effort would translate IRL.

E it was.

Norway: 71 / 115
Norway - Jenny took the E route as well. It was much harder than we expected, and despite a double carabiner system, had potentially fatal consequences. 
Smiles of relief; we made it.

Norway

Jenny took the E route as well. It was much harder than we expected, and despite a double carabiner system, had potentially fatal consequences.

Smiles of relief; we made it.

Norway: 72 / 115
Norway - Next up: a suspension bridge high above the gorge. And more excitement! A repair crew was working on it, yelling instructions to us in Norwegian as we crossed.

Norway

Next up: a suspension bridge high above the gorge. And more excitement! A repair crew was working on it, yelling instructions to us in Norwegian as we crossed.

Norway: 73 / 115
Norway - Going for it. There was no other option.

Norway

Going for it. There was no other option.

Norway: 74 / 115
Norway - The last challenge of the day: a single cable bridge.

Norway

The last challenge of the day: a single cable bridge.

Norway: 75 / 115
Norway - Success!

Norway

Success!

Norway: 76 / 115
Norway - And now a short break to get the money shot with her LifeStraw for Helen’s friends in Houston.

Norway

And now a short break to get the money shot with her LifeStraw for Helen’s friends in Houston.

Norway: 77 / 115
Norway - A full day of adventure in Løen.

Norway

A full day of adventure in Løen.

Norway: 78 / 115
Norway - Dagmara loves ferratas!

Norway

Dagmara loves ferratas!

Norway: 79 / 115
Norway - View from our room at the cozy Hjelle Hotel

Norway

View from our room at the cozy Hjelle Hotel

Norway: 80 / 115
Norway - It was a reunion! Helen and Missy hadn’t seen one another since originally meeting at the Ashram in Calabasas, CA , eight years prior.

Norway

It was a reunion! Helen and Missy hadn’t seen one another since originally meeting at the Ashram in Calabasas, CA , eight years prior.

Norway: 81 / 115
Norway - The clouds have cleared! Let’s get going!

Norway

The clouds have cleared! Let’s get going!

Norway: 82 / 115
Norway - Blue skies-Helen is skirted up and ready.

Norway

Blue skies-Helen is skirted up and ready.

Norway: 83 / 115
Norway - Kayaking is a treat after three rigorous hiking days.

Norway

Kayaking is a treat after three rigorous hiking days.

Norway: 84 / 115
Norway - Stacey lives in Monterey, and among us is the one with the most experience kayaking.

Norway

Stacey lives in Monterey, and among us is the one with the most experience kayaking.

Norway: 85 / 115
Norway - Helen

Norway

Helen

Norway: 86 / 115
Norway - Geirangerfjord is among the world’s longest and deepest, and considered an archetypical fjord landscape, among the most scenically outstanding anywhere.

Norway

Geirangerfjord is among the world’s longest and deepest, and considered an archetypical fjord landscape, among the most scenically outstanding anywhere.

Norway: 87 / 115
Norway - We’re just two women who met and started an adventure trekking group. You never know what the future will bring!

Norway

We’re just two women who met and started an adventure trekking group. You never know what the future will bring!

Norway: 88 / 115
Norway - We are supposed to be kayaking, but this waterfall spoke to us…

Norway

We are supposed to be kayaking, but this waterfall spoke to us…

Norway: 89 / 115
Norway - It was too enticing to pass up. Spontaneous frivolity is part of the bonding experience.

Norway

It was too enticing to pass up. Spontaneous frivolity is part of the bonding experience.

Norway: 90 / 115
Norway - I’ll do it if you do it. And yes, Geirangerfjord is cold.

Norway

I’ll do it if you do it. And yes, Geirangerfjord is cold.

Norway: 91 / 115
Norway - Refreshing!!

Norway

Refreshing!!

Norway: 92 / 115
Norway - It’s impossible to pick one best moment from the trip, but this was one of them.

Norway

It’s impossible to pick one best moment from the trip, but this was one of them.

Norway: 93 / 115
Norway - Seven Sisters Waterfall, Geirangerfjord Norway

Norway

Seven Sisters Waterfall, Geirangerfjord Norway

Norway: 94 / 115
Norway - Seven Sisters Waterfall, Geirangerfjord Norway. There is a waterfall opposite this one called The Bachelors. They are vying for the sisters’ attention.

Norway

Seven Sisters Waterfall, Geirangerfjord Norway. There is a waterfall opposite this one called The Bachelors. They are vying for the sisters’ attention.

Norway: 95 / 115
Norway - Jon was a kayaking guide before he was hired by Norway Adventures to guide us. In Geirangerfjord he was happily in his element. That, or he was relieved to muffle the voices of seven gregarious women for a short while. 🙂

Norway

Jon was a kayaking guide before he was hired by Norway Adventures to guide us. In Geirangerfjord he was happily in his element. That, or he was relieved to muffle the voices of seven gregarious women for a short while. 🙂

Norway: 96 / 115
Norway - On our way up Mt. Saksa, Jon shows us a bear cave. We decide to come back later to pay the bear a visit.

Norway

On our way up Mt. Saksa, Jon shows us a bear cave. We decide to come back later to pay the bear a visit.

Norway: 97 / 115
Norway - This is the last hike of our trip. Saksa means scissors, something we will discover later…

Norway

This is the last hike of our trip. Saksa means scissors, something we will discover later…

Norway: 98 / 115
Norway - Jenny F from Portland, OR and Helen C from Houston, TX did not know one another before this trip.

Norway

Jenny F from Portland, OR and Helen C from Houston, TX did not know one another before this trip.

Norway: 99 / 115
Norway - At the far end of Hjørundfjord (sword-fjord) is the town of Øye, where we spent the night in the charming historic Union Hotel Øye.

Norway

At the far end of Hjørundfjord (sword-fjord) is the town of Øye, where we spent the night in the charming historic Union Hotel Øye.

Norway: 100 / 115
Norway - Jenny F and Jenny G, friends from when they both were living in Portland, OR.

Norway

Jenny F and Jenny G, friends from when they both were living in Portland, OR.

Norway: 101 / 115
Norway - Missy adorned her new waterproof L. L. Bean backpack with our snazzy Top Set Trekkers sticker (also waterproof.)

Norway

Missy adorned her new waterproof L. L. Bean backpack with our snazzy Top Set Trekkers sticker (also waterproof.)

Norway: 102 / 115
Norway - We paused for a snack at the summit, not ready to head back. Jenny F surveyed the surroundings. There was a sense of something left undone…

Norway

We paused for a snack at the summit, not ready to head back. Jenny F surveyed the surroundings. There was a sense of something left undone…

Norway: 103 / 115
Norway - What’s that knob over there? It looks like we could head down and back up. Is that knob at a higher elevation than the one we are on?

Norway

What’s that knob over there? It looks like we could head down and back up. Is that knob at a higher elevation than the one we are on?

Norway: 104 / 115
Norway - We couldn’t resist. “If it’s a trail, we will find a way to hike it.”

Norway

We couldn’t resist. “If it’s a trail, we will find a way to hike it.”

Norway: 105 / 115
Norway - Now you see why this mountain is called “saksa” or scissors. It looks like a giant pair of scissors with the tips buried in the earth. The two knobs are the handles.

Norway

Now you see why this mountain is called “saksa” or scissors. It looks like a giant pair of scissors with the tips buried in the earth. The two knobs are the handles.

Norway: 106 / 115
Norway - Just over the edge there is a cable handrail to help you access the saddle connecting the two peaks.

Norway

Just over the edge there is a cable handrail to help you access the saddle connecting the two peaks.

Norway: 107 / 115
Norway - Stacey celebrating on the second summit of Saksa.

Norway

Stacey celebrating on the second summit of Saksa.

Norway: 108 / 115
Norway - Jenny F, happy we agreed to visit the second summit.

Norway

Jenny F, happy we agreed to visit the second summit.

Norway: 109 / 115
Norway - Jenny G

Norway

Jenny G

Norway: 110 / 115
Norway - The five of us couldn’t fit standing on the second summit. We had to kneel, balance carefully and lean in to the center.

Norway

The five of us couldn’t fit standing on the second summit. We had to kneel, balance carefully and lean in to the center.

Norway: 111 / 115
Norway - Missy always packs Swedish Fish, Dagmara’s favorite treat.

Norway

Missy always packs Swedish Fish, Dagmara’s favorite treat.

Norway: 112 / 115
Norway - Safely back at the original Saksa summit, we gather to sign the logbook.

Norway

Safely back at the original Saksa summit, we gather to sign the logbook.

Norway: 113 / 115
Norway - Top Set Trekkers: Norway with our intrepid guide Jon at the summit of Mount Saksa.

Norway

Top Set Trekkers: Norway with our intrepid guide Jon at the summit of Mount Saksa.

Norway: 114 / 115
Norway -

Norway

Norway: 115 / 115

Select a Journey

Adventurer

Photos: 203
Tags: adventure, explore, ferrata, fitness adventure, mountains, peaks, try something new,

Thinker

Photos: 219
Tags: challenge yourself, fitness adventure, friendship, persevere, reflections, together in adventure, transformative travel, try something new, women who hike,

Traveler

Photos: 209
Tags: destinations, explore, food/culture, peaks, UNESCO,

Wanderer

Photos: 236
Tags: backpack, get outside, hiking, trails, wanderlust, women who hike,
Location:

Norway

Trip Length:

10 days

Distance Hiked:

23.5 miles

Season:

June

The Super Donnas take Norway! We scaled Mt. Høven via cables, bridges and skylift, crushed Skåla in record time, double summit-ed Saksa, because it was there, and came away with a reaffirmation that we can do whatever we set our minds to. From the comically perfect weather to bread worth climbing an extra mountain for, Norway exceeded our expectations in many ways. But the majestic fjords and rugged terrain were only the backdrop for the personal transformations and friendship we shared. Each of us grew in her own way, to be stronger, more confident, to set our minds on new and expanded goals.

Hikes

Veten

Grotle, Norway

Veten
Hike Duration:

3.75 hours

Distance:

5.6 miles

Elevation Change:

1,975 ft

Difficulty:

5

Skåla

Loen, Norway

Skåla
Hike Duration:

4.25 hours

Distance:

5 miles

Elevation Change:

5,915 ft

Difficulty:

8

Loen Ferrata

Loen, Norway

Loen Ferrata
Hike Duration:

4.25 hours

Distance:

2.8 miles

Elevation Change:

2,989 ft

Difficulty:

7

Saksa

Urke, Norway

Saksa
Hike Duration:

5 hours

Distance:

5.1 miles

Elevation Change:

3,117 ft

Difficulty:

6