Nick in Norway

A Little Off Balance but Not Out of Step, Part 2: Hiking in Norway

Submitted by admin on Mon, 12/19/2016 - 07:52
Nick Kucharew is an ANAC board member. He elected to have complete surgical removal of his tumour in 2013. Although he still experiences minor balance issues, Nick is grateful for the support he received from ANAC through his diagnosis and treatment.

After quite a bit of discussion, my wife and I arrived at a plan that we hoped would work. We outfitted ourselves with some hiking gear - backpacks, walking poles and hiking boots. We decided to train for our Norwegian hike by going on treks near our home. This allowed me to practice, practice, practice, and either find out if this dream was a possibility, or not.

With about six weeks before we were due to leave, there really wasn't a lot of time! But better late than never.

The first weekend we noted that the hike did not look terribly difficult. As we continued to walk up hills and over rocks, I discovered my balance was actually BETTER than normal. What gives? Maybe the ground was so uneven and rocky that it was offsetting my imbalance? Who was I to argue?

Over the next six weeks, we hiked and hiked and hiked, as much as we could. We wanted to get used to the rougher terrain while carrying all the weight from our gear in our backpacks. We were bringing cameras, a tripod, wind jackets, extra clothes and water. We needed to be prepared. Our hikes were all okay. And we got a lot of exercise too!

Now on to Norway and Pulpit’s Rock!

We left our hotel early in the morning, before 7 am, travelled by ferry and then drove to the base of our climb.

Here is a picture near the beginning to give you some idea of what we were climbing/hiking up.

The start of the climb
The start of the climb

The climb to the top went well. The preparation and training were well worth the effort. After 3 or 4 hours, we reached the top.

This is what we saw. Pretty nice.

View from the top
View from the top

After only a few minutes I decided I had to go close to the edge, lie down and look over, straight down to the water. Previous to the trip there was NO WAY I could even imagine being near the edge. I didn’t think I would be able to do it. I was nervous that a gust of wind would hit me, I'd lose my balance and get tossed over!

So here I am looking over the edge for about a minute and a half, while the guide took these pictures. My wife is just behind me. I think she was going to grab my legs, just in case.

On the edge
On the edge
On the top
On the top

I also climbed up here so I could get some more pictures.

View from the climb
View from the climb

Like this one.

View from the climb
View from the climb

It took us another 3 or 4 hours to descend a back-route that very few people know about. Fortunately, our guide had hiked this area for many years and knew the trails that would work best for my needs. Hiring a guide was, in the end, one of our best decisions.

The entire trek took us almost 8 hours - to go up and back down. It was the most gruelling hike we could have ever imagined. We were exhausted and very sore for a few days afterwards.

But it was worth it. Let me tell you. It was worth it!

I was also extremely happy that I worked up the courage to go to the edge. It was something I never thought I could do, but I did with enthusiasm. That alone has given me a bit of a reputation with my wife as a "Wild Man."

As a final send off to our adventure, here is a picture I shot at the end of the trip when our ship was in a harbour after a storm. Can you see the double rainbow? My wife said she saw a triple.

Rainbow after the storm
Rainbow after the storm