Mud on Storheia

The previous days had been all rainy, but that morning was much better. I dropped a few books off at the library and then took a bus for a few stops to get out of the main area of Trondheim and into Bymarka, the hills outside the city.

I set off for my solo hike in the area, all prepared with a map and compass. The route I had planned would take me to some main and mostly smaller tracks. All seemed to go well and I gained confidence in my navigation skills until I reached the bottom of the hill I intended to climb. Storheia was my peak of choice, the highest hill of Bymarka. I was expecting a great view from the top. My map showed a minor track zig-zagging up the hill, but there was nothing on the actual hill. I checked my position again, walked a little bit further on, a little bit back. Nope, I was in the right place. With a lot of imagination I could see an ever so slightly trodden path up the hill. Great, I thought, I’ll just take that one.

The view over the fjord from Storheia. In the distance, rainclouds were approaching.
The view over the fjord from Storheia. In the distance, rainclouds were approaching.

Full of energy I tackled the hill with a brisk walk, and got stuck almost immediately. The slopes of the hill were pure mud and I was sinking in to the rim of my hiking boots. The rain of the days before a turned the hill into a swamp. A normal person would have just turned around. Unfortunately, I am extremely stubborn. I wouldn’t let the mud ruin my plans. I was gonna get to the top of the hill at any cost. There had to be a way up.

Every here and there rocks were sticking out of the mud and thick patches of grass seemed promising. Only loosely following the hardly visible path, I hopped from rock to rock. A few times I had to turn around and hop back all the way, when I came to a huge puddle. A few times I hopped onto what seemed rather solid and sunk into the mud ankle deep.

The hikers' mark indicating the top of the peak.
The hikers’ mark indicating the top of the peak.

Eventually, the rocks got bigger and the hillside less swampy. The little hikers’ mark indicating the top of the hill came into sight. I was relieved, I had made it to the top without getting lost. The view was breathtaking. Chains of hills in one direction, the narrow fjord followed by higher peaks in the other direction. A chilly and strong wind blew into my face. In the distance I saw rain clouds coming across the fjord.

After enjoying my sandwich, I decided that it was time to go back. Not far away I could see rain pouring down. I didn’t want to be caught in the rain while still up on that hill and stuck in the mud. I took a look at my map and the route I had picked to go back home. That would have me descending towards a lake, following the shore and eventually branching off into the woods. I could see no path and after the experience on the way up, I had little faith that it would be any less swampy.

View from Storheia over the lake I originally wanted to descend towards.
View from Storheia over the lake I originally wanted to descend towards.

The rain started to set in, so without further planning I started the descend roughly into the direction of the city. This side of the hill was even worse than the one I had hiked on the way up. I had no clue where to go and felt lost. While only paying attention to my feet to not drown in the mud, I seemed to hardly actually move forward.

When looking up to roughly decide for a direction, I saw a wooden sign in some distance. It was too far away to read though. I desperately needed the guidance, so I had to walk through the more than ankle deep mud. I took a few deep breaths to gather courage before stepping down from the rock. Immediately the mud reached the rim of my boots and started to slowly fill them. The sign pointed towards a little chalet on a neighbouring hill. I quickly checked my map, I should be getting onto a main track soon if I followed the sign.

After the rain had stopped and I had reached the main track, the scenery seemed a lot more friendly again.
After the rain had stopped and I had reached the main track, the scenery seemed a lot more friendly again.

I gave up my hope, my shoes were lost to the mud and I was soaking wet, so I could as well just walk on through that mini swamp. That would be way faster than rock hopping. And indeed, not much later the little trodden path met a gravelled main path.

Having firm ground under my feet again and with the rain stopping, my spirits were revived again. I made much faster progress and enjoyed the scenery. Soon my house came into sight.

When I took a look into the mirror back home, I realised why others had looked at me with some curiosity before. My whole rear side was sprinkled in mud. Not only a little, but all over from heels to shoulders. I laughed.

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