You go to France for the food and wine, you go to Norway for the hiking. Thems just the facts.
But approaching the topic of hiking in Norway can be an intimidating endeavor. It’s both a small (population-wise) and large (territory and terrain-wise) country at the same time. There’s the temptation to try and do it all at once, somehow simultaneously without taking into account the limits of the human body.
You imagine all the views from the top without seriously considering the transportation to the trailhead or the hours of trodding alongside hills and mountains to get those vistas––and what that does to your body. Besides making you tired, it makes you hungry, and Norway is without exaggeration one of the most expensive countries in the world for purchasing food.
That’s why it’s best to go into Norway with the right attitude, and the attitude is beautifully Norwegian in nature. I’m talking about “Takk for turen.”
Thank you for the hike
I learned about it from our Norwegian family friend and her boyfriend while visiting them this past July. “It means, ‘thank you for the hike,'” they said.
What a wonderful sentiment, I thought; thanking the landscape, the trail, the various organizations and people involved in maintaining the trail, the weather––all of the elements that go into a hike for simply being there. Imagine bringing a similar mindset to other aspects of life.
“Thanks for sleeping!” you could say to your body after a peaceful night’s sleep.
“Thanks for everything being okay!” you could say at the end of the day where nothing profoundly bad or good happened. A “no news is good news” kind of thing.
I’m sure I could stand to implement this mentality in several aspects of my life; thanking people for being courteous, for minding my personal space in grocery store lines, or for just generally not being an ass. I know I won’t start going around thanking everyone, but there are worse habits one could obsessively embrace.
No Bad Hikes
You might be wondering what this “Takk for turen” sentiment has to do with planning a hike in Norway. So here we go:
There are no bad hikes in Norway. Some places in this world are just blessed with incredible natural beauty. And it’s not just that Norway has them, it’s that they’re easy to access. (That is, so long as you can afford the country. Pack snacks!)
If you go to Norway knowing there are no bad hikes and that you’re going to end a hike saying, “Takk for turen,” it takes the pressure off all the research to find the supposed best hike in Norway. Use an app like Komoot or Wikiloc and just do as the locals do. Even from Oslo, you can find plenty of great hiking or trail running. I especially recommend this run around Sognsvann, finishing at the beach on a hot summer day so you can jump into the lake afterward.
Need more ideas? There are a number of trails in Haukeli with the kind of views you’d expect of Norway. You can also go “collect peaks” in Telemark, which (as it was explained to me) is hiking up a series of peaks in the region and writing your name in a journal. (Just Øvrumskollen and Vealøstårnet for me.)
No matter what, don’t sweat finding the perfect hike. It’s Norway. You’ll find something.