Besseggen is one of the most famous day walks in all of Norway. It is situated on the edge of Jotunheimen national park, one of the prime alpine areas in the country. The walk is surrounded by a sort of national nostalgia and most Norwegians will probably walk it (or at least attempt to) once in a lifetime. Since it’s only a 3 hour drive from here it was an almost obligatory activity this summer. For our third training weekend we teamed up with Pj’s parents and hit the road into the mountains.
Since it is one of the country’s most renowned day hike destinations and it is still high season there was obviously a lot of people there. So we figured out that we had to get there early, to get an early spot on the boats across the Gjende lake and an early start for the 16km long hike. When we got there at 7.45 in the morning the parking closest to the start was already full and the boats were sold out until 10.30. Most people take the boat in first to Memurubu and then walk back towards the start at Gjendesheim.
This unfortunate start actually made our day a whole lot better. As it turns out all the pretty views are in front of you when you walk this way. The peaks of the Jotunheimen show over the horizon almost the entire walk. Furthermore, the beautiful colour contrasts between the two lakes at the ridge also unfolds straight in front of you as you make your way down. It would have been a pity to have all of those beautiful images behind us.
It is a pretty tough day walk to be done by so many untrained people. There is an approximate 1600m of height difference and the climbs are steep and many. We all expected a steep climb and then a steady walk over, but the trail keeps losing and gaining height all the way. Especially the central ridge looks like an impossible obstacle once you made it down and look back at it. In spite of being used to height differences by now, Pj and I both felt it in our legs afterwards. We were pretty proud that his parents made it all the way through.
From the highest points of the way you have some breathtaking views over the remote areas around. Seeing the queue of people in front and behind us made me want to go beyond our day hike and disappear into this park. Hopefully we will have some more time before we leave here to explore some more of this wild place.
But for now we have another 1600m of height and 16km to add to our total training amount this summer. Nearing the 20.000m of height in total, I already look forward to training weekend number 4.