In Africa the hunters go after the big five game. It means the most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot. The same term has been used to refer to tourist safaris, which I think is a much better way of encountering nature. My Big Four “safari” took place a week ago when it was time for the 4 moutain hike I had signed up for. Even though the traditional challenge is the 7 mountain hike, this too is enough to keep you busy during the day. The weather was very warm and sunny. It was in every way a perfect day for a hike. Once again, I joined the Red Cross Til topps group, which I think is a nice way of meeting new people and practice Norwegian.
1. Ulriken (640)
I had encountered this majestic mountain before so I knew what to expect: a steep rise and rocky terrain. I also knew that if I could reach Ulriken, I would manage the whole hike. Ulriken gives you spectacular views with what I would describe as Nordic roughness.
2. Fløyen (400)
I live quite close to Fløyen and feel like it is my “mountain next door”. From Ulriken to Fløyen the hike was very pleasant. I didn’t even take any pictures. I guess I treated this mountain as a passage to the next ones, which I hadn’t visited yet. However, Fløyen is a lovely, friendly fjell which I intend to visit many times. A thing that delighted me very much during the hike was the fact that people who lived along the 4-fjellsturen route had water hoses open and running for those hiking past their houses. It is a sign of encouragement and a way to show care. Because the day turned out to be very hot, it was crucial to have water supply points along the way.
3. Rundemanen (560)
It was actually Rundemanen where I felt most tired when hiking up. Probably because it was the third fjell and there was a lot of sunshine without many places to take a break in the shadow. Here I had to pause for many times before I reached the top. There we had a longer break and got served chocolate and juice by one of the sponsors of the hike. I found the way from Fløyen to Rundemanen very idyllic, and I can see myself spending the day there just relaxing and enjoying.
4. Sandviksfjellet (417)
From Rundemanen our hike continued to Sandviksfjellet and we descended near a lake where people got the chance to go swimming. We received some cardamom bread/buns and had a chance to congratulate each other from a job well done. Of course, we still had to continue down to the center to reach the finishing line but as far as conquering the four mountains we had done it.
As we walked back to the center I felt quite happy. I did it. Sure, my feet were tender and my shoes had rubbed a bit against my feet but all in all I got away with one blister and a slight reminder of an old injury on my right foot. Nothing that a little rest and stretching wouldn’t cure. At the finish line we received t-shirts and diplomas for participating.
Just to make it a full circle with the Big Five metaphor, I include here a number five: it is really about understanding your own strength and conquering your limits. Within reason, I would add. There is no point in breaking your bones or injuring yourself just because you want to finish a strenuous hike. Be smart, be merciful, and then, be aware that you probably can do more than you imagined.