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Stryn, Norway
hiker in Norway's fjord country

Hiking Stryn:
The Norwegian Fjord Country

Story & Photographs by Frank Mazer

reathtaking fjords and glaciers spread in every direction. The beautifully situated town of Stryn, Norway, lies around the corner of the valley below.

Thirst. Surrounded by glaciers but consumed by thirst. My friend and I know all about the dangers of dehydration and exercise in arid areas. We have resided near Death Valley for years and done sports to a high level. No dehydration is going to sneak up on us in Norway, the land of waterfalls and cold wet weather. Now, however, there is not a drop of water to drink. Temperatures hover around 85 degrees. Humidity pushes 90 percent. We stand atop our mountain.

“Glaciers to left of us; glaciers to the right of us,” This calls to us like thunder while chasms of several thousand feet separate us from them, but not from our blunder. Here we are. Our goal achieved, we stand next to the stone hut we could see from far below. We stand amidst a scattering of rocks. We stand where there are no streams and no pools of water and no faucet to be found. We, the experienced hikers, stand humbled, and we stand thirsty as we stare at our empty water bottles and know we have a 4 hour journey back to the river and small road, and our car below where bottles of water sit mocking us.

the town of Stryn in the Nordfjorden, Norway

We ran out of water half way up the trail. Two veteran hikers who thought they knew Norway. The temperatures would not be in the 80’s all day all the way we told ourselves. When does that happen in Norway, and up on a mountain no less? And so, parched and humbled, and wiser, we begin our journey to the turquoise-grey water of the fjords and rivers below, and we motivate ourselves with thoughts of the comfort of our campground near the town of Stryn, right around the bend.

Truth be told, we are driving and hiking Norway. We have done this other summers. The chance to stay in “hyttes” (small cabins) is a fantastic and inexpensive and comfortable way to see the fjords from above as well as from sea level of cruise ships. These huts come in all varieties at many campgrounds. Luxury hyttes complete with TV’s and sofas, or small 2 bed hyttes with a table and chairs. Always they come with incomparable views and fresh Northern air along with peace and quiet and stillness.

Stryn. A wonderfully situated, beautiful town near alpine mountains and greenery reminiscent of the Alps while also sharing immense glaciers and fjords and rushing rivers. It’s a small town where conveniences are available. The Nordfjord is nearby. Access to the famous Geiranger Fjord is over the pass beyond the neon blue lake. Geiranger is a narrow fjord with cruise ships docking at its village.

hut on the banks of a lake in Stryn, Norway

For now we are staying in a hut near Stryn, which sits at the end of a stunning turquoise lake with snowcapped peaks in the distance 20 kilometers away. The gigantic Jostedalen glacier beckons for inspection or guided walks nearby. A rushing river (for those who choose fishing) lies a quarter mile away. I sit on our porch in the quiet, enveloped by the calm and beauty. The water lies still with only a red rowboat lying upon its near shore as if only to add the splash of color. This is Stryn country, filled with tranquility and wonder.

We stagger out from the trail at the bottom, spewed out by the mocking mountain with a little kick to our butt. We stagger across the empty two lane road to where our car is parked on the road shoulder near the roaring stream. Many gulps from a bottle of water in the little ice-chest and I turn to my friend and ask, “Want to do that again tomorrow?” We summon a tired laugh, we consider the option, the beauty we saw and then, in the moment, we become enchanted by the magnificent stream. We pick our way across some rocks to a little island and sit under the shade of the small trees listening to the stream rushing by and enjoying the glaciers above while leaving the “world” far away. Welcome to Stryn country.

We make dinner on the stove and listen to NRK (Norwegian) radio. We become acquainted with some Norwegian pop and jazz singers in the background. We see the northern lights lingering past midnight.

view from an island in a stream, Stryn

At Geiranger fjord we experience a moment in our hytte, located 1,000 feet above the fjord and village, where we sit on our porch watching the big cruise ships parked below. Later, we roam the narrow streets where wonderful art is available at the local artist’s shops, modern and traditional, while around every corner lays a tourist shop or some eatery or some friendly local hangout where we can exchange tall tales. Most of all, we see the steep green slopes and the waterfalls of a thousand feet spraying their way downward.

Thoughts of Stryn, the lakes, and Geiranger go with us as we begin our waterless descent. Relentlessly down. Down is always tougher on the leg joints than the hike upwards. The legs show us that they can quiver and cramp as much as the spirit can flutter and soar.

Access to Stryn comes by way of Molde on the Norwegian coast, or by ferry to nearby Nordfjord.

Related Articles:
Norway's Fjords; Norway in a Nutshell; Cruising Norway's Coast; Enjoying Norway; Norway's Three Capitals; Tough Sledding in Stavanger; An Expedition to the Norwegian Arctic; Three Things We Didn't Know About Norway

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FEEDBACK FOR PATTI

I enjoy your newsletters -and particularly Patti Nickell's article about the 'Pudding Club' in the Cotswold's. An old friend of mine is taking a holiday there this year and plans to try their Jam Roly Poly and Spotted Dick - amongst many!

--- John & Maggie - UK

FEEDBACK FOR JULIO

The way I read this article, you stayed at the "Breeze and Waves". Do you have any pictures of the cottages, and would you recommend to some first time visitors to Caramoan?

--- Richard Simons, Stockton, CA

Hi Richard,

Breeze and Waves was still under construction when I stayed there in Feb. 2010. It should be finished by now. You can see pictures of the resort on this page. We got to stay in one of the small cottages in the picture. I'll recommend it to budget travelers but you might want to look at other options. We chose it because of its location right by the beach. You can try other resorts in the Caramoan town proper (you have to get a ride to get to the beach and the jump-off point to go island-hopping but it's a relatively short distance). There are also two higher end resorts located on a cove and very near the islands: Gota Village Resort (unfortunately there is something wrong with their website right now) and its twin resort Hunongan Cove. Caramoan is a relatively new tourism development so resorts are just now being built.

You can go to this site for a good list of choices for accommodations in Caramoan.

I should add that it might be good to go to Caramoan (and almost anywhere in the Philippines) during the dry season from December to May. June to November are the typhoon months and sometimes typhoons will still come during early December.

Julio

* * * * *

Hi, I'm planning to go to Caramoan this coming May. Would you know the number of Breeze and Waves Cottages? Thanks!

--- Ann, Manila, Philippines

Hi Ann,

Breeze and Waves' phone number is 0908-2911072. Look for Freddie. Hope you have a grand time at Caramoan!

Julio

FEEDBACK FOR WENDY

For Nature's Playground: The South Island of New Zealand

Hi Wendy,

In winter, Heritage Heights Apts. now offers free shuttle service to and from Queenstown 24/7 to guests without cars. We own a 7-passenger 4-wd Toyota Highlander used specifically to taxi guests up and down the hill during winter months. We also run advance purchase winter promotions which include a 4-wd rental.

If any of your readers head over this direction, I will enjoy extending Heritage Heights hospitality!!

Cheers

--- Ailey, Owner, Queenstown, NZ

* * * * *

New Zealand text and pix top drawer! Almost as good as making the trip. ( but one still wants to. . . ) Full of useful detail. Only trouble with the website: It's tough figuring out which feedback goes with which article, and the more there are, the tougher it gets!

--- Ken W., Camarillo CA

Thanks Ken..."álmost" is right, you really have to experience the South Island firsthand. Granted this piece is long, but still all I can think about is how much I left out! I agree abut the relevancy factor re the feedback--it can be confusing...sometimes I have a "Wait a minute...what?" moment myself.

Thanks for writing,

Wendy

* * * * *

Okay Wendy, from now on whenever you book your travel, please reserve space for me. I will carry your luggage, bring you cold drinks, massage your shoulders, and change the film in your camera (oops, I guess you don't have to do that anymore). Wonderful ideas and recommendations. Can you get to New Zealand from Boston in less than a week?

--- Carl A., South Easton, MA

Ha ha ha Carl, you're quite the comedian! But you'd be surprised how short that flight feels. I suspect Qantas isn't the only airline who's figured out that 3 movies, 2 full meals, lots of snacks and a complimentary travel pack (eye mask, warm socks and neck pillow) equals a quiet, well-behaved cabin. It really isn't bad. Just fly direct--pick the shortest flight w/ no lengthy layovers and you'll be fine. Re: signing on as my Super Sherpa...why not? I think you know I seldom travel in anything less than Party mode. There's just that pesky background check...

Thanks for writing,

Wendy

For Excellence Riviera Cancun:

Wendy, I truly enjoyed your info especially since we leave in a week to celebrate my 50th Birthday. Was it necessary to make reservations at the restaurants? Was there a dress code for the restaurants? What would you recommend not missing while there? Was the spa experience worth it? Did you travel away from the resort while there? Thanks,

--- Kim P. Fuquay, Varina, NC

Hi Kim.

Sorry for the delay in responding...you had heavy competition with the holidays. Reservations at Excellence restaurants are not necessary and you will not find a wait. The dress code is basically no bathing suits and flip-flops...with a decided a mix of atmospheres. Mostly the open-air beachside spots are super casual, the rest slightly more formal. Truly, as long as you are clothed, I don't think you'd be turned away anywhere, though most people seemed to enjoy dressing up at night...I suspect more for their own pleasure than any sense of decorum.

The spa experience was worth it, though my favorite part wasn't the actual massage. The precursor was a 45 min. or so rotation from sauna to a series of (kind of wild) water jets which was very different and very cool, not just for women. In its' entirety, and with the serenity of the beach/champagne/strawberries, it was memorable.

We did not travel away from the hotel this trip, but the hotel is very helpful in arranging day excursions to fit your desires and you do not have to book these until you arrive.

Have a great time!

--- Wendy

FEEDBACK FOR NINO

I enjoyed Nino's contribution, since we all read about the frightening terrorist attack. Having travelled somewhat through India years ago, I am continually impressed with this country and the gentle spiritual aspects of this nation. Some day I look forward to going back. Nino has encouraged me. Thank you!

--- Yoka Y., Westlake Village, CA

FEEDBACK FOR RUSH & CHUCK

Dear Mr.s/counselors Brown and Koro,

Thank you for a very informed and succinct article on motorcycle accidents and the law. It inspired me to think about getting a motorcycle, but not have an accident. But, if I do I am now well informed with the basics of what to do providing I do not perish in the accident. Any tips about that too?

--- Unnamed

Dear Rush and Chuck,

I wish I had read your article before our camping trip the Friday prior to President's Day.

My wife and I were in a car accident on our way to a camp ground. We were "rear-ended" and the impact caused our car to crash into the car in front of us. The contents of the truck that we were riding scattered onto several lanes. It's a miracle our two dogs decided to stay inside the car. My wife and I were shaken up badly but despite the mess, I was still able to walk out of the car. I got the license plate of the driver in front of me but, to my surprise, after reviewing the little damage on his car, he then sped off. I didn't know you could do that! The driver who hit me from behind gave me his information and then he too left the scene without saying good 'bye. When the police arrived all I had to go by was the little information I had jotted down which I hope was truthful. What if it was bogus? What if I had written the plate number incorrectly? How would that affect my insurance? What if we were unconscious, who would have written down all that information?

I do have one suggestion if you are injured in an accident. The police asked if my wife wanted an ambulance to bring her to the hospital but we declined the offer. I remembered when I rode an ambulance years ago that it was not a comfortable ride. I was strapped to the stretcher and there were all sorts of medical equipment dangling noisily above me. As long as you are able, it is a more relaxful ride inside a car. Besides, isn't there a fee for ambulance service?

--- Dave S. of Pasadena, CA



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