He’s pining for the fjords! And so it was…we motored into the Lysefjord, hoping that the doom and gloom above was not forecasting this to have been a terrible mistake! The Lysefjord hosts some of the most impressive tourist attractions near Stavanger, Norway; spectacular views and marvelous mountain heights! We motored 26-miles to the head of the fjord, craning our necks to admire the sheer rock walls beside us. The depth sounder was flashing, “LAST 170” (sounder is set to read meters) with the previous depth since it could no longer calculate the plummeting depths of up to 1,500-feet in the center of the fjord. Detour came as close as a boat possibly could to the base of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock); a popular plateau overhanging the Lysefjord.
We docked at Lysebotn. At the dock, a warning sign was posted, “Moor at your own risk…” due to the wave created by the high speed ferry and ferry landing times were posted. At 07:10 the next morning, we were rocked from our bed when the high speed ferry docked and a tidal wave swept up the fjord behind it. Detour had never rocked so much on the ocean! We scrambled to the deck to check docklines and adjust fenders, which were compressd flat each time the boat rolled against the dock. The waves settled, however continued for 40-minutes after the ferry departed. Detour would have to survive two more high speed ferry landindings that afternoon, while we had our own wilderness survival ahead.
Lysebotn was the starting point for a hike to the summit of Kjerag, the highest peak (1094m) near the Lysefjord. Kjerag offers a view of the fjord from atop a large boulder that is stuck! The boulder is wedged between the cliffs, suspended above the fjord, at the height of 1000m. During this time of year, there is no bus running to the trailhead, so Brian and I began our hike from the bottom of the fjord and very slowly walked seven-kilometers up a steep, paved road. This road would have easily sufficied for the day’s hike! It had 27 hairpin turns, winding directly up the mountainside, and a one-kilometer tunnel. When we finally reached the parking lot at Kjerag’s trailhead, the attendant was surprised to learn we had walked the entire way. Henrik explained to us that the parking fees merely maintained the lot and bathrooms. “But we parked at the bottom,” explained that we really aren’t so cheap to have slogged seven-kilometers uphill to avoid a parking fee. “We are here on a sailboat.” Henrik replied, “Oh! The one that came in late last night.” Henrik posts a daily photo of Lysbotn on his Facebook page and had seen us approaching in the distance the night before. And so we became easily acquainted and after our hike Henrik joined us aboard Detour for a great evening! Hiking to Kjerag was challenging. To begin, we knew it would rain and we knew there would be snow at the top. Last year this time there was 10-feet of snow in the parking lot. In fact, we were lucky to have been able to hike at all. Fortunately it has been a warm spring and the trail opened earlier than it’s May 24th anticipated date. What we got, in addition to rain, were entire fields of snow topped with fog. Not great contidions for the view, but nonetheless we were so pleased to have made it to the top! Brian even braved the boulder and stepped onto the suspended rock to celebrate his triumph.