As I get older, I realise how fortunate I’ve been to have had such positive influences in my life. In all spheres, be it academia, career, motherhood or fitness, I’ve always had role models. A key influence in the area of fitness has been my Aunt Mette. She has always been extremely fit participating in all forms of sport including running, skiing, cycling, hiking, orienteering and mountaineering. Her active fitness lifestyle never stopped her from holding down a busy career, baking cakes for various events, hosting epic pizza nights and organising great birthday parties. I witnessed all this first hand when I stayed with her and my uncle in Oslo while on a half ‘gap year’. Even as a young 19 year old, I was in awe of how she balanced fitness with an active family life. And when I had kids of my own, I always remembered the example she set. As part of my Inspiration Series, I’ve asked Mette to share her Top 5 Mountain Adventures. Enjoy 🙂
“The Mountains Are Calling And I Must Go” ~ John Muir
I have been challenged by my niece Shathiso to share my TOP 5 mountain experiences. As I live in Norway, we have a lot of spectacular mountains here. They may not appear as very high (the highest mountain in Norway is 2,469 meters above sea level), but remember, they often rise directly from sea level. I like to hike both in Norway and other countries, so it is difficult to pick 5 favourites, but anyway – here are some really good adventures:
1/ Mt. Margherita, Rewenzori, Uganda (5,109 meters above sea level) 2005: This was my first very high summit. We were 13 women hiking from Kasese through dense jungle, high grass, rainforest, huge meadows with exotic plants we normally have in our houses in Norway showing up as big trees here, up to the rocks and glacier. It was a hot, clammy, dusty and sweaty start but gradually got cooler as we ascended. We made it all the way to Elena hut at 4,540 meters above sea level, an extremely uncomfortable place. Elena hut is the last cabin before heading for the summit, in fact, it is only a shelter where you cannot stand upright and have to sit. As we started our attempt for the summit early morning, it was snowing and very foggy and some friends had altitude sickness. Unfortunately, the climb was taking too long for us to be able to get down before darkness, and after several hours we had to turn around at the glacier about 100 meters in altitude below the peak. What a disappointment, especially when the mountain appeared in bright sunshine some hours later when we were far down, heading for a lower camp.
2/ Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (5,895 meters above sea level) 2016: Mt. Kilimanjaro had been a dream of mine for many years and finally in 2016 I managed to go there with my oldest son. We hiked the Rongai-route from the north and spent 7 days in the mountains. It was very dusty at the beginning, but gradually we were above the jungle and we could see Mt. Kilimanjaro far away. The altitude was a challenge on this hike, but we managed very well although I always have a challenge with appetite in the altitude. It is a struggle to eat! I hardly managed to eat the day before our top-night, and as such 7 hours climbing in the darkness was tough. We were at Stella Point on the edge of the crater at 7 a.m. and what a sight – the moon, landscape, glacier and the sunrise! I struggled another 2 hours to get to Uhuru peak (the roof of Africa), but it was never in my thoughts to give up. What an incredible experience!
3/ Hiking around Mt. Manaslu in Nepal, 2017: Mt. Manaslu is the world’s 8th highest mountain. We were 9 women hiking around this mountain for 13 days in 2017. It was an awesome hike in an untouched area of Nepal through small villages and up and down in terraces where the locals cultivated potatoes and worked on the fields. We crossed lots of scary suspension bridges and met hundreds of mules transporting everything from construction materials to Coke into and out of the mountains. Our most challenging day was passing Larkey Pass at 5,106 meters above sea level as we spent many hours at high altitude with only garlic soup for breakfast as nutrition! The whole hiking tour was the adventure of a lifetime and a shower was very welcome after so many days in the mountains.
4/ Møysalen, Nordland, Norway (1,262 meters above sea level) 2016: This is the most spectacular hike I have done in Norway. We did it as a family hike in summer 2016. The weather was awesome, and the fjord was completely silent as we were taken by boat at Lonkefjorden to the start-point. It is a long and steep hike that crosses a small glacier, but the view from the summit – OMG! The perfect end to the hike was a bath in the fjord when coming down.
5/ Segla, Senja, Norway (639 meters above sea level) 2018: This is a very spectacular hike at the island Senja in northern Norway. It can be easily reached as it is a short hike although steep, but on the summit there is more than 600 meters between you and the sea below which certainly gives you butterflies in your stomach. We did it in sunshine in the summer of 2018 and the view was breathtaking.
Thank you so much Mette for writing this amazing post sharing some of your epic mountain adventures. I’ve always loved your zest for life and adventure and on my most tired days I find myself asking, “What would Mette do?” I have a long way to go in terms of my fitness but I will continue to set you as my Gold Standard and keep chasing my wildest adventures!
What has been your most epic adventure? Have you climbed any mountains? What was your highest summit? What mountain was your favourite and why?
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining a new link-up, Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, Running on Happy, and Faux Runner! Hop on over to their blogs and others, and be inspired!