When in Norway, we had a plethora of choices for beautiful sights to see and extraordinary hikes to embrace. Alas, we couldn’t see it all in one short week, but Geiranger Fjord was high on our list.
Norway has so many fjords, it’s hard to pick one out of the bunch to prioritize above the others. Geiranger is a magical spot, though, with sapphire-blue water hugged by chiseled mountainsides. We had the joy of camping just beyond the mist of a raging waterfall that feeds it, accompanied by some resident goats. The common patio overlooks the gorge, and it even houses a trampoline to launch you to a higher vantage (or to just get some fun jumping pictures).
A quaint town is nestled in the crook of the fjord, and cruises depart several times a day for sightseeing of nearby waterfalls. The friends with whom we were traveling splurged on a cruise the last time they were there, and the trip offered an optional hike in the middle. It sounded interesting, but it also screamed tourist trap, so we opted for the path less traveled (literally).
We followed the signs to the Westeras Restaurant, where we could park and begin our hike along the Losta trail. It felt a bit awkward wandering through someone’s private gate onto their property, but due to Norway’s Right to Roam laws, it’s all perfectly legal. This did make finding the correct trail a bit challenging, as we kept ending up on little paths worn down by residents that really didn’t lead anywhere. They were kind enough to steer us in the correct direction (toward the fjord), and we were on our way!
Right off the bat, we rounded the grassy corner to discover an entire field of goats. Ok, there were a few llamas in there, too, but the goats were definitely cuter. They were lounging in the grass, soaking up the sun, and posing for the camera.
A pair were even fighting over a raised rock, vying for dominance over the elevated throne. The battle seemed a bit half-hearted, however, neither terribly enthusiastic about their head-butts. Even in this photo, it looks more like they’re merely nuzzling rather than giving each other headaches. Oddly, this white one didn’t seem to mind the third goat who had already clearly staked its claim.
I was so glad to have my bazooka lens with me that day. It sure is a beast to carry, but it’s so fun to get these kinds of close shots – and we weren’t even to the fjord yet! I’m finding I rather like goats.
The Losta Trail
From the goat field, the trail split. Left would take us down a short path to an overlook of the fjord. But we weren’t there to take the easy path. Instead, we turned right to Losta and began the ascent.
The trail passed a shed with scrap wood strewn about before merging with a rocky trickle that brought us up in elevation. Suddenly, the trees cleared to our left, permitting a peek at the remarkable Geiranger colors below. But we weren’t there yet.
Another ten minutes up the path, the trail appeared to end at a cliff. We could clamber down onto a rocky outcropping for a better view, and you can bet I was the first to jump at the chance (no, not literally jump…). Each step brought more wow – the distance, the sky, the fjord walls, the far-off waterfalls, the stunning blue water so far below. And as we rounded the corner of the rock face, we espied the telltale zigzag of a road climbing its way back out of the fjord.
It was all so breathtakingly beautiful.
But wait, there’s more!
But as I glanced back, I discovered the trail kept going. Now, I just can’t leave a perfectly good trail just sitting there unexplored. The others in our group were content with the first stop, but I had to see what lay beyond.
Another fifteen minutes of switchback ascent brought me to the vista proper. A small rock painted with the word “Losta” proclaimed the true end of the trail, and as the spectacular panorama expanded out before me, I knew I had made the right decision in continuing onward.
I had several minutes of glorious silence atop that summit to just take in all the marvelous details of the valley below. The slight breeze on my moistened brow. The celebration of my heart, warm and strong from the exertion. The delight as a single ship disturbed the still water, etching a slow fan of wake into its surface.
And of course I drank it all in through my camera as well. Though visuals are only a fraction of the experience, the images have the power to draw me back to that day.
It wasn’t long before I was joined by Aaron, who had to find out if I had a better view. And amid grumbles of fatigue, a third from our group made the summit. We never did see our last two, but there are no bad views in Norway, so I can’t blame them.
Like so many places, I could have lingered there for hours, just enjoying the day. But more awaited us – other amazing view points, the craziest bathrooms I’ve ever seen, and the all-famous Trollstigen.
Sure, we didn’t cruise up to the base of a thundering waterfall, and we didn’t venture behind one with thousands of tourists. But we found a beautiful gem in Geiranger, and we had the trail all to ourselves.
And we had goats!
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Catch up on the entire Norway series here!