As a story teller and photographer, I love sharing and writing about all the different stories I'm honored to learn about and document. From clients to personal journeys in life, to advice and interesting things I've learned; read along and follow as I document about what's happening and all the things I'm up to.
Let me share a story about this phrase above. A number of years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Norway. I had seen all these amazing images of Norway and thought to myself, wow, how beautiful are these locations. Not really doing much research (which is rare for me on trips), I thought it would be like any other tourist destination that we see here in the US. You drive to some locations, walk up to the lookout point…lookout (obviously) and after a time of enjoying the views, you go back to your car and drive to your hotel. Right?!?!? Oh no…boy was I so so so incredibly WRONG!!!
There were three locations we wanted to hit up. Pulpit Rock, Kjeragbolten, and Trolltunga. So, we mapped it out and made a plan to drive in this order to our destinations. We booked our trip so that we stayed in a combination of hotels, B&B’s, and even camped a couple nights. Yup…we pitched a tent and camped in Norway!!! We also took this trip in September aka the beginning of off-season. We didn’t bother to look up the weather patterns in that time nor what it took to get to these places. So…here I was, packing for September in Wisconsin with light sweaters and zipup tops and hoodies. Typical early fall weather right??!?! WRONG again!! Oh, and the best part, I didn’t bring running shoes, hiking shoes, or any kind of shoes that would require physical exercise. YEP…check it out. Below is a screen shot of the exact shoes that I wore on this trip and what I wore on all our hikes with the exception of one hike. So seriously…where there’s a will, there’s a way. Cause I don’t think anyone else would have still gone on three long a$$ hikes with the complete opposite of proper gear.
First hike, we arrive at Pulpit Rock in the early afternoon. We went to the visitor center to check out where the starting point was and that to expect. I’m dressed in jeans, clarks (above), tee-shirt and zip up fleece and it’s 50 degrees and raining. Not knowing much, we kindly ask the volunteer how long it would take to get to Pulpit Rock. And if this was a cartoon, my eyes would have been popping out of my eye sockets at this point!! Like seriously…..he says in a calm manner….oh….the average is 4 hours. FOUR HOURS!?!?!?!! Say what?!?! Wait, four hours round trip to hike to this place? You’ve got to be kidding me? My heart sank as I realized that this was probably our shortest and easiest hike of all three of them and I was SO unprepared I couldn’t even think. Needless to say, it’s not everyday you find yourself in Norway so I bucked up and we went trekking. Because it was so cold and rainy, the trail was fairly empty and when we did finally reach Pulpit Rock, there were only a handful of folks out there with us. It was quite nice to not be up there with hundreds of people. And then I did the scariest thing ever, I sat myself right at the edge of this massive cliff while my husband took a photo. I still have chills just thinking about it!!!
Again, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
So…after this hike, I thought to myself. I’m going to need hiking boots. Great idea…but not really. DO NOT Hike on a long hike if brand new unbroken hiking shoes. Our second hike was to Kjeragbolton. Only a 5 hour hike…on a good day. Well, it was a rainy day again and super cold. Not to mention I slipped multiple times on crazy slippery rocks. Well…it doesn’t help that some of the climbs on this trail are SO steep that they have chains punched into the boulders in order for people to be able to climb them. Woo…what a work out!!! And it was so foggy once we reached to the top that you couldn’t even see. Which was a great thing for me, because I think if I could look down and see how insanely close I was from falling to my death…I don’t know if I could do it.
Onward to Trolltunga….the more interesting adventure, lol!!!
After two hikes, and blistered feet from new boots….we camped out just a short drive from the start of the Trolltunga trail the night prior. I was so scared and cold and freaking out about embarking on this 10+ hour hike. With just my jeans, long sleeve shirt and fleece zipup, we woke up that morning and took a look at the weather. The forecast called for high winds, rain, snow and sleet. HA! That should have been my first hint to run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. I was so hesitant the entire time. We (I) reluctantly drove to the starting point to get an early start so we wouldn’t be hiking back in the dark. I knew that it would be a full day of hiking and with my blisters and having to resort to wearing my clarks (which I threw away after this hike because they just got destroyed!! haha), we sat in the empty parking lot and debated on whether or not we were going to take this hike. And that wasn’t the only time either. We decided to get going and up up up we went. The first 2 kilometers was a straight up mountain climb!! It was insane, cold, super muddy and wet. As we continued, we ran into a couple that hiked alongside with for a time before they took a break. Not even half way through, we had gotten high enough that the rain had started to turn into snow. We took a break by a large boulder where we meet a couple that was making their way back because the weather was too much that they turned back. They did however….tell us that if we went further, we would run into sleet and high winds. Being faced with that new information, the couple that we hiked alongside with decided to turn around as well. Wow…there was like no one else on this trail, haha. Again, I pondered for a good ten minutes (shivering and miserable, lol) on whether or not I wanted to continue. I was SO ready to give up but I knew I would never ever forgive myself for not seeing it through and not finishing what I started. So I put my head down, avoided the harsh winds and sleet the best I could and kept going. We were about 1km from Trolltunga and the winds slowed, the snow and sleet stopped and the clouds gracefully parted. It was meant to be. I got so happy, I started running!! Sort of…it was more like hoping and walking quickly on rocks and uneven terrain trying to avoid falling and tripping. When we finally made it, I was SO SO SO happy and we were the only ones up there. It was completely empty and we sat down, ate lunch together and slowly a few others arrived. We enjoyed as much sun as the skies would give us and then packed up and made our journey back.
When we finally made it back down, my shoes were completed trashed. Filled with water, mud and totally scuffed up. So..in the shoe pile they went along with all the other shoes that were donated to shoe heaven after this hike.
So, this is a very long story about my travels but an important one to share. Despite all the awful weather and the challenges and being completely unprepared…I feel like that is what life is all about. No one is ever truly prepared for all the things life tosses your way. We can’t predict things and even when we think we can, it’s always different and you always run into unexpected challenges. And the thing is, it’s SO easy to turn around and say “I’m not doing this”. It’s so easy to give up. But the thing is, how many opportunities do you get to do the things you do in life? How many chances do you get to try something different, take an adventure, start a new business, think outside the box? Sometimes you just have to put your head down, bear all the sleet and snow and tough it out. Because in the end….your accomplishments are going to trump all of it! It’s going to be worth it. And you can grow old saying that you took all those opportunities…saying that you didn’t waste your life playing it safe…saying you took a chance. And even if you fail…you tried your heart out and you can be damn proud of that! And that’s where I’ll leave you. So, be more and do more! Life is short, make every bit of it worth while!