One of the best things Volda has is its nature. It’s not a secret that a lot of students choose to come here because of the beautiful landscapes surrounding the village. Some exchange students, including me, are used to live in big cities. All we see there are busy streets and a lot of tall buildings. Therefore it can be such a marvelous experience to connect with nature and forget about the stress, when we are here in Volda.
At the beginning when you arrive Volda, just the face of the mountains could be enough. You start admiring the mountains, its shapes and the different colors that emerge throughout the day. However, the more you get to know the area, the more you want to experience how the wildlife really is here. And then, sooner or later you’ll want to go hiking.
Hiking is quite a common activity for a lot of Norwegian people. A lot of us exchange students are also motivated by the Scandinavian lifestyle, and want to spend our stay here by traveling and discovering new places. Which also includes hiking. However, there is not like we are all that experienced hikers, and therefore we need to start easy. Here I present to you a story that might help you think an extra time before you go out hiking by yourself.
The normal thing to do as a new citizen of Volda, whether you are a beginner or experienced, is to start hiking in one of the most famous mountains Volda has to offer, Rotsethornet or Melshornet. It is a nice way to start, and the views they offer, among the fjord and the village, are breathtaking. But some people, especially those who are not experienced at all, do not know how dangerous this activity can be. You have to be well prepared in advance, and careful along the way.
You have heard stories about people that have gotten lost in the mountains, and helicopters flying around the sky trying to find them. This might sound like a plot of a movie you’d watch on a Sunday evening. You probably think that it is not going to happen to you or your friends, until it does…
My roomie got lost at Rotsethornet a couple of months ago, and it was one of the worst experiences she has ever had. She was supposed to hike with friends, but they changed plans in the last minute. My friend then decided to go by herself. In conviction of a clear path, marked all the way, she believed it would not be difficult to go, even though it was her first time hiking that mountain.
She took off with a positive attitude. But after only a couple of quarters up the hill, it turned out that she was not following the path anymore and all of a sudden, she was lost. With no idea of how to neither go down or up, she started feeling anxious and scared. Being alone on a place she did not know was a bad idea after all. She started feeling cold and hungry, but realized that she had forgotten to bring food. Everything seemed like a mess, but she had no other options, than continue to walk towards the top. Hoping to finally find the path again.
After five hours she made it. Unbelievable, she thought. She was exhausted, but got a little calm while resting and enjoying the view. After a break on the top, it was time to go down again. This time, she decided to take another path which was supposedly shorter.
As it was late, the sun was going down and the night approached turning the atmosphere black. She ended up getting lost again. Nightmare once more. With less vision, and not knowing where to go, she really thought she would not be able to later tell the story to anyone. She had no energy, and due to the change in the pubertal weather of Norway she had to deal with not only the dark and the cold, but also the rain. By this time, she was desperate, regretting that she took the decision of hiking alone. As a last thing to do, she called Pangaia, the international office. Luckily, they found her through the location she sent via Whatsapp. And finally, during the late hours she was sent home safe.
What my friend experienced was not a good day at work, during the moment. However can we all learn from this story, and luckily, my friend did too. We have therefore gathered some tips, for those who go hiking for the first time:
1.Remember to bring provisions with you. A backpack with some food or snacks are always a must. You are burning a lot of calories during the hike, and you need the energy to keep going.
2. Keep yourself hydrated. To bring water is as essential as having food in your backpack. Hiking can last for multiple hours, both excepted and unexpected. To stay hydrated is therefore necessary.
3. Check the weather. In Norway the day may change in a blink of an eye. Having sun in the morning does not mean it will be like that all day. It can be cloudy, starting to rain, or temperatures can drop just at any moment. For that reason, it is very important to check the weather before your hike.
4. Dress properly. Choose clothes according to the weather, but also according to the kind of activity you are doing. Good shoes and a warm jacket are essential on a hike. You could also bring some extra in your backpack.
5. Never go alone. Do not go alone if you do not know the path well. If it is your first time hiking, go with other people that are more experienced than you are. They can also give you valuable tips, tell you facts about hiking, or information about the mountain, that you would not get if you were not hiking with them.
6. Try to stick to the same path up and down. Do not choose one path going up, and another one for going down. You have more chances of getting lost if you try to discover a way you do not know yet. * Note: Some trails are very steep, and must be attacked from different angels up and down. Make sure to talk with people that have been there before you, or look it up on the internet, to see what they recommend.
7. Bring a full charged phone. No one wants to get lost or having injuries on a hike, but sometimes it happens. To be prepared on a situation where you need some extra help, bring your phone, and a call may save you.
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