Norway is for Hikers!
Norway is for Hikers!
And needs to be on your Bucket List!
Greetings Explorer Chicks!
I recently returned from a 2 week trip to Norway – The top European country on my personal bucket list! It was nothing short of amazing! Those turquoise fjords, dramatic cliffs diving into the water, and the folklore all really do exist. The pictures online hardly do it any justice.
A travel professional business trip was the reason for the trip, but then I opted to extend my stay a second week to hike off my booty exploring some of Norway’s most spectacular landmarks (Trolltunga, Pulpit Rock, Kjeragbolten).
During both weeks, I wandered throughout central and western Norway sampling the best experiences in the region. I spent a couple of days in the Sognefjord (the largest in Norway) trekking to Molden with its outstanding view overlooking the Fjord. I hiked to a bucolic farm high above a waterfall in a hanging valley to enjoy a hot bowl of vegetable soup. I crossed rivers, climbed mountain passes, slept in mountain huts, and scrambled up Besseggen ridge in Jotunheimen National Park (“The Home of Giants” for Norway’s highest peaks). I clipped into a rope team and crampons to trek on a glacier. I was blown away by the beauty of the landscapes during the challenging hikes up to Norway’s most popular landmarks (Again, Trolltunga, Pulpit Rock, Kjeragbolten). And, you’re darn tootin’ I threw off my puffy coat to jump into the semi-salty waters of the Fjord.
The kicker is that I had this truly magical experience despite the crummy weather conditions. Everyday was shrouded in fog with rain, wind, and cold. The last week and a half, I had no problems deciding what to wear: Wool tights, rain pants, wool hooded top, puffy, rain coat, hat, gloves. Lucky for me, wool doesn’t hold onto my lovely hiking “essence.” 🤢 It was a not so subtle reminder, that there is no bad weather, just bad clothes.
The real truth is that the inclement weather was a blessing in a wickedly cold disguise. There were no crowds on the trails. The wait for Trolltunga averages 1 hour. I waited 10 minutes. Upon arriving at Pulpit Rock just before sunset, it was fog as far as the eye could see. People didn’t stick around. Yet, after eating a dinner of hot stew at the summit, the fog lifted and the views were unreal! And, there was no one else there! It was truly a special experience. Now the rain on the hike up very slick rock to reach Kjeragbolten made for bonus challenges when descending, but who doesn’t love white knuckle gripping a chain and backing down a rock face. 🤷♀️
For my second week I opted to travel with a tour group. What? Nicki traveled with a tour. Oh, yeah. You betcha. Here’s the beauty of tours – No logistical planning is required. You just show up when and where instructed. I knew what I wanted to see, but figuring out bus schedules, car rentals, mapping the route, booking lodging, researching, budgeting, meal planning, gathering trail maps, etc requires a ton of time. Meanwhile, me and the Explorer Chick team are doing all of this for you! Heck, I needed a vacation from it! It was a no brainer!
I was also intrigued to travel on the other side of things. Be the tour traveler and not the tour guide. It was my opportunity to take a walk in your shoes. I hoped I could find ways to improve your experience reflecting on my own before, during, and after the tour.
What did I learn? Explorer Chicks are THE BEST! I swear, I’m not being biased. Hear me out. My tour consisted of 2 married couples and then 2 single people (1 chick and 1 dude) who were students or very recent grads. Our entire group got along wonderfully. There was no shortage of laughter or support. I enjoyed our time together immensely. However, that was it. Finito. I’m not friends with any of them on Facebook. There was no “Step Brothers” moment (Did we just become best friends?). There were no moments of girlfriend therapy on the trails or instantaneous, unconditional love for each other. Our dynamics were very much just surface level. The niceties. There was no reason for us to continue our friendships beyond the tour.
I’m a big believer in that travel is enriched immensely by people. Whether it’s the people with whom you travel or you meet along the way, it’s those interactions that unequivocally paint the most colorful memories. Test my theory. Think of one of your most treasured travel experiences. Who did you share it with?
This is why I pounced on a crazy idea and founded Explorer Chick. It’s the opportunity to travel to extraordinary destinations with a group of women who are like-minded and equally rambunctious. What happens on our trips is magical. If you’ve traveled with us, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the friendships, the meaningful conversations, the genuine love and support. It’s the Facebook conversations coming through your Newsfeed between women who met on an Explorer Chick trip long after their trip together.
So, yeah. It was a deeply appreciated reminder of how special and distinctly unique our groups of Explorer Chicks make our adventures together. To this, I must say, “Thank you.” 💗 It’s honestly a privilege to travel with you.
See below for some pictures from my trip. “Yes.” Explorer Chicks will be hiking their booties all around Norway next year. 👣