Riding the ferry back to Bodø from Moskenes, I slumped in my chair and stared out at the grey sea and clouds ahead of us. My body felt like jelly and all I could think was how grateful I was for the three-hour voyage ahead of us, during which I planned to do little more than sleep and eat. My zombified state was the result of the previous three hours, our last on the Lofoten Islands, which had turned into an Ironman-like race that kicked off at the breakfast table.

Three days earlier, Britnee and I had arrived at the tiny fishing village of Hamnøy where we were staying at an expensive hostel and eating expensive food in a rather remote portion of an expensive country: Norway. Spending a hefty chunk of our travel budget so that I could see for myself the splendor of Reinefjord, which I’d been admiring in a poster of my own for over a decade.

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I’d begged Britnee to include this stop in our itinerary despite the high cost (our fast food meals there cost on average $16 each). But I think it’s safe to say that on our first night in Hamnøy, as we admired an endless sunset that illuminated the fjord after 11 p.m., both of us were thrilled to be visiting Norway.

After snapping a few photos, I eventually decided to head to bed while it was still light, planning to get plenty more sunset photos in the days to come. Sadly, we awoke to heavy clouds and a cold wind in the morning and the weather would only worsen the following day — despite weather reports saying that things would improve.

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So, we spent our first full day puttering around the fishing villages, eating fish soup and fish burgers, shopping for groceries and relaxing at our hostel. We did all this while putting off the crown-jewel hike of our stay, a short but steep climb up Mount Reinebringen, expecting better weather to come. By that evening, though, the weather reports for the next day changed for the worse, reporting a 60 percent chance of rain all day with low clouds.

I woke up in a bad mood, but tried to keep my spirits up as we rode rented bikes and hiked some less treacherous trails (the Mount Reinebringen summit was covered in clouds and the trail, we were told, was too slippery and dangerous to climb when wet).

Despite the rain, we had an enjoyable day out exploring jaw-dropping landscapes that were made more mystical by the low-hanging clouds. Yet that evening, knowing we would be leaving the next day, I was somewhat disappointed that we’d missed out on the spectacular view from atop the famous ridge.

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We went to bed planning one last go at Mount Reinebringen if the weather happened to improve. But pulling aside the curtains in our room at 6 a.m., the low clouds remained — leaving us lounging in bed before having a leisurely breakfast in the kitchen downstairs.

Then, while we ate, the weather suddenly improved; the sky brightened and clouds lifted a little, begging us to give the hike one last chance. Britnee had to be on a ferry by 2 p.m. to reach Bodø in time for her evening flight (I would leave Bodø the following morning). This meant she’d have to catch an 11:45 a.m. bus to get to the ferry terminal in Moskenes on time, as another bus wouldn’t pass for hours.

In order to make the climb, we’d have to pay for the bike rentals again to get to the trailhead and later hire an expensive taxi to get us to the ferry on time. The high price of visiting Norway was climbing higher, but the thought of  missing out on Mount Reinebringen was too much to bear.

Soon we were biking back over bridges and islands, legs burning on the climbs, rushing the three miles to the trailhead just beyond the village of Reine. Thirty minutes later we were on the trail, which had indeed become a slippery, muddy mess. Thankfully, other hikers had forged newer trails that circumnavigated sections of slippery rock that had became almost impassable as the trial steepened toward the top. For what felt like hours we were scrambling upward, out of breath, using fixed ropes in places. But every time we stopped for a rest, we were spurred on by the thought of low clouds returning to spoil our view.

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Finally, after just 45 minutes, we hit the ridge that dropped away a few steps beyond us into the beautiful Reinefjord below. The morning light was magnificent, yet we were barely on the top for a few minutes before low clouds moved in, obscuring our view. With a ferry to catch, we were soon making our way back down the slippery, rain-soaked mountain — and after two hours on the trail we arrived back at our bikes and peddled furiously for the hostel, bodies exhausted.

Once there, we had time to rinse our muddy feet, snack on some cheese and pack a few last things before our taxi arrived. I was completely drained when I finally fell into my seat aboard the ferry, but happy to have finally completed the hike we came to Hamnøy to do.

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About The Author

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Mark is currently traveling for a year with his wife Britnee. Besides that stuff, (traveling and his wife), Mark's other likes include: mountain bikes he can’t afford, eerie movies starring Paul Dano, morning coffee--preferably brewed by someone else, and at least one song by Iggy Azalea.

One Response

  1. Andrew Darwitan

    The weather in Reine is really ridiculously unpredictable. But I’m glad things worked out well for you in the end and you get to climb up to witness the iconic sight from the top of the mountain. I came there with the haze engulfing the whole island, thinking I wouldn’t stay a chance to witness Northern Lights at all, but then after many hours the weather got better right at night. How lucky!
    Andrew Darwitan recently posted…Lofoten Islands – Destination of the Month (Nov ’16)My Profile

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