The first 100 meters of a hike is always the easiest. You’re full of pent-up energy and the initial steps feel like freedom. The honeymoon phase quickly ends though, especially if you are hiking up a mountain. By the time we were 200m into our climb of Ulrikken, a mountain outside of Bergen, Norway, I knew it was going to be a long day. As we ascended, we entered the thick fog surrounding the mountain and the trail was barely discernable. The way to the top was essentially a riverbed that meandered down the mountain. Without clear trail markings, and a heavy fog that obscured everything farther than 5 meters away, time seems to stretch longer and longer. All I could think about is the rocks ahead of me and the mud below. With no way of knowing how far we had come and no other clear option, we kept ascending into the dense mist.

When we finally reached the top and caught up with the rest of the group that had taken a different route up the mountain, we realized our numbers had been cut drastically. From 11 confident hikers to 5 weary climbers. Our journey, however, wasn’t over. We decided to press on into the fog, and hike along the ridge of the mountain line.

Once again almost everything was indiscernible for around 3 hours of hiking. The mist dispersed yet, there was no end in sight, just a line of stone cairns stretching out towards the horizon. The path got muddier, the wind picked up, and the temperature dropped.

Finally, as we descended into a valley, the sun broke through the thick clouds illuminating the beautiful fjord. By the end of it, we had hiked over 23 kilometers and ascended around 700 meters. The journey was long and tiring but the beautiful views of the valley at the end made it all worth it.