On the 15th of September I returned the keys for my apartment in geilo and we crossed Hardangervidda and drove down to Odda- a small village located by Sørfjorden in Hordaland. Before driving the remaining 750km back to my hometown in Sweden we were going to hike to Trolltunga- one pf the most popular hiking trails and mountain formations in Norway. So popular that it have been videly discussed if there should be restrictions on how and whom should be able to hike it.
We drove from Odda just haver 8.00 in the morning and arrived to the starting point 30 minutes later. The parking place was already full and the area teemed with people. I have never seen so many hikers in one place during my years in Norway. We did know that is most likely should be a lot of people on the trail since it was really good weather and Saturday, but this was really out of proportions.
The roundtrip was around 26km and the first four consisted on walking the gravel road up to the top parking place, that had open by 7.00 but was already full. We walked in a group of probably 50 other persons from all over the world and the languages melted together in a great mix. Around one hour later we had reached the top of the gravel road and we got on the main trail into the mountains.
The last two summers there have at times been totally chaos on this hiking leg. Many people want to get their picture taken out on the magnificent mountain formation (it looks like a tongue- a trolls tongue) but they are not prepared on how much effort it actually takes to get there. The terrain is rather ruff for an unexperienced hiker or someone who is just out of shape and not used to spend time in the mountains. Even if we had really good weather, the last 5km back to the parking was hard. And I can only imagine how it would be in rain and thick fog. You would not be able to orientate yourself without compass and a map.
However, since the situation on this hiking trail has been so widely discussed in the region and in Norway in general they have started to make the trail more accessible. They have put in new bridges over the streams, put up better trail markings, built two more rescue huts, mountain guards are patrolling the trail and they have clearing parts of the trail. If this is a good strategy or not I will leave for someone else to decide, but during 2017 around 150 000 people are expected to do the walk so it is clear that some new decisions have to be made in order to keep both the hikers and the nature safe.
I will keep this post short on text. We did the walk to Trolltunga on around 4,5 hours excluding breaks, took a quick look on this so called spectacular mountain formation and then walked back. I was not impressed. It was so small compared to all the photos I have seen, and there were so much people waiting in the line to just be able to go out and get there photo taken.
And I have to admit- I did not even take a photo on it myself. I just pulled out my camera once and the rest of the photos are from my boyfriends or mine Iphone. All in all: it was a magnificent hike, but as I already suspected it was nothing special compared to other hikes in Norway. If you really want to do the hike, do it. If you just are looking for an amazing view- search another mountain to explore. Norway is full of them.