When we decided to take the hike to beautiful Preikestolen, my friends and I knew that the well placed signage and semi challenging but not impossible trail would get us up to a magical and serene vantage point. Enough research had been done.
What we didn’t know was the emotions that would be stirred as we made it atop. The night before, my friend and I had trouble sleeping. My nervousness, especially due to reading about some deaths on that cliff recently, manifested in strange but excited behavior. So unable to get a good night’s rest and on 4 hours of sleep, we started our trek at 9am.
I couldn’t wait to do the 5 hour trek, but I was also a bit fearful. As Kelly recommends in her awesome blog,
On a scale of difficulty from 1 to 10, I’d give it a 7. The length (suggested 2 hours up and 2 hours down) isn’t a problem, the altitude isn’t a problem, and the trail is relatively safe. What makes this hike difficult is that half of it is through rocks varying from basketballs to volkswagons in size. They’re difficult to navigate, can be slippery, and at times you’ll be crawling up on all fours. I found coming down was harder than going up. Bring good shoes and perhaps walking sticks and you’ll be fine. Don’t forget some food and lots of water.
Preikestolen, also known by the English translations Pulpit Rock, is in Forsand, Ryfylke, Norway. It consists of a steep cliff which rises 604 metres (1982 feet) above Lysefjorden, opposite the Kjerag plateau, with an almost flat top of approximately 25 by 25 metres (82 by 82 feet)
and my bare feet were touching those energetically powerful rocks as I went into some asana for a quick and fearful photo shoot. If you want some live footage of the hike (about 3 minutes of the 300 were/are all documented on Snapchat).
As we trekked up it rained for a good one hour of the 2.5. The hardest it hit us was when we actually got to the top where we encountered to our left a steep cliff unprotected and indiscriminately welcoming of death anyone who does not practice some precaution. Of course it took us a bit to build the courage to get close and peek down.
The afterthoughts I had post adrenaline rush after headstands and warrior poses (safely taken) and feet dangling (I still question any level of safety that can be practiced there) were the following:
If one is not fearful of death, then they are likely not fearful of living. It is our human condition to fear what is inevitable and knowing that it is part of our fate, the thought of it can preoccupy us greatly at times. We are unaware of when this event will greet us, but some of us wait our whole life for it. Whereas, some of us do not even consider it in the periphery of our thoughts. Although I may not speak fully of this matter, the philosophy I try to live by is that death is inescapable; hence, why not enjoy life and fill it with moments that when it is your time you have lived a fulfilling and meaningful one.
Every time I travel and chase a corner of the globe that contains such beauty, I truly have the thought that I have already lived a good one. I’m grateful for it and hope to have a longer one to be inspired by the wisdom of nature and those around me. This trip has given me the realization of not taking my already fragile life for granted, but instead fill it with experiences and extreme joy.
In fact, say F*** off to fear and be unfearful of living. Because living is what we are placed on this earth to do. Death will come and it might come sooner for some. So enjoy it. As Joan Didion says in her book The Year of Magical Thinking:
Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.