Rondane: Norway’s Oldest National Park

Hiking in autumn

Rondane National Park, Day One. 

Rondane National Park. Tucked away? Barely. Rondane stretches over 963 km². It is one park in a cluster of many enchanting national parks, each with its own characteristics and pull. I’d never been and wanted to go. It was autumn, and Rondane was at its undeniable best.

Except for that wind.

“Not so bad” at first. On trek day, however, the wind picked up, to say the least. Determined to peak Formokampen (1248 meters), I didn’t care. I was going to climb that mountain.

at the top of the mountain

Formokampen (1248 meters)

We waited until mid-day, to see if the wind would die down at all. Not a chance. So we set out. We had packed bread with Nugatti spread, tea, and some extra food. It was windy, sure, but it was the incline that started to wear on me. Stepping carefully, rock by rock, like a long staircase, slowly upwards. Just short of the peak, I could see the wind and fog at the top would be a challenge. I bundled a little more, and step by step, I wrestled my way to the top.

At the top, the wind almost knocked me over. The sound it made was like a tornado in the movies, demanding attention and respect. We found partial cover from the wind (above) and put additional layers on.

After all, in Norway, there’s no bad weather, “just bad clothing.”

We sat. Part of me couldn’t believe I was sitting. My prairie, flatlands instincts told me “get down from there immediately.” The Norwegian in me won. At the only pace my fingers would allow (excruciatingly slow), I unzipped the backpack. I untied the plastic bag, handed out sandwiches, and took my own. It felt absolutely insane to sit there and eat.

But it felt so good.

I’m not sure it was necessarily exhilarating, but it was a thrill. Extreme weather has always had that effect on me. In it, I feel alive, more so than any beach ever could. Where a heatwave drains energy, cold weather… it breathes more life.

The older I get, the more I love autumn. When I get to explore Norway in these stunning conditions, I cannot help but wonder why I had not explored it earlier.

Happy trekking!

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