After our wet and rainy day hiking up to Pulpit Rock, we were forced to rent a car, or forget about getting to Kjeargbolten. When you fly several thousand miles across the Atlantic, you don’t just forget about the things that brought you there. We woke up obscenely early to catch the bus to the airport where we rented a Fiat 500. I was actually pretty stoked about the car as I almost bought one earlier this year. I nearly crashed trying to find my way out of parking garage, but it was smooth sailing from there on out. While it was expensive for us to rent a car for less than 24 hours, I highly recommend adding this luxury into your budget. Not having to wait on buses and ferries is fantastic, you can listen to the radio and take all your gear with you.
It was a several hour drive, due in large part to the amount of water you have to bypass to find the far end of the Lysefjord. It is a beautiful, quiet drive. Norway is not a heavily populated country, which is handy because their roads outside of the cities are one lane wide, with the occasional space to pull over for oncoming traffic. Keep your eyes peeled for free roaming sheep. They’re everywhere! I drove fast and had no worries as we hadn’t seen a police car the entire week in the country.
Driving around Norway is like living in a car commercial. There are a lot of lot hills, valleys and switchbacks. Upon arrival at Kjerag, you need to go see the view. If you come in on the ferry, you probably won’t appreciate it quite as much, but coming in from the back, you are above Lysebotn and have an amazing view of the valley and fjord. It was surreal looking at the town through the clouds There is a cafe that you can go freshen up or grab a bite to eat. They aren’t keen on people bringing food in, but you can’t fault them for that.
The hike is said to be a minimum 5 hour round trip, which was a stretch. It wasn’t raining this day, but it was brisk so we were booking it. The start of the hike is not difficult but it looks like it will be an intimidating trip back down. (Don’t worry, it’s not). There are poles and chains bolted into the rock that give you something to hold on to and pull yourself up. It gives your legs a bit of a break, and may be a life saver if it’s slick. There are a couple of hills you have to climb up and down before finally reaching altitude. It’s an awesome trek, with a lot of nice views of Lysebotn.
Kjerag is home to several hikes, with Kjeragbolten being the most notable. Once you reach a large pole with several signs directing the split of the hikes, you are almost there. You head up and away from the fjord and down into a crevasse. One we got down there, we could see a couple people taking some pictures on the rock. It’s such a cool place to be. The boulder is suspended between two rock faces, hanging hundreds of feet in the air. There are plenty of great angles to get breathtaking photos. Getting on top of the rock was a lot easier than expected, but terrifying in it’s own right. Just to the left, there is a narrow ledge that allows to you step directly on. It’s the giant drop off the side of the ledge that is terrifying.
There is a nice big area to sit and enjoy some food and dangle your feet off the edge, as is customary on all the hikes. After swapping photos with some fellow hikers, and trying to warm up a bit, we headed back down. Sadly, the sun came out on the way back, and not on our way up, but it did make the return hike much warmer. We blew down the hills, and the end of the hike with the chains was actually a breeze, but we followed the chains just to be safe. Total time round trip for us was about 3.5 hours. We had originally planned on staying a night in Lysebotn, but we were unable to make it, so we took the fiat 7.5km down some switchbacks to see the sun beginning to set over the fjord. The bed & breakfast we were hoping to stay in didn’t end up having a view of the fjord, so we weren’t terribly disappointed in not being able to stay. Quaint town and certainly worth stopping in if you are planning to hike.
The drive back was quick, minus a detour that sent us out of our way. I drove fast so we could make it back for some food and find our last accommodations in Stavanger before heading on to Greece early the next morning.