I looked up at the stars in awe. Never in my life had I see so many of them. I could actually see the Milky Way with my bare eyes. Everything was set in perspective and for a moment, I felt so insignificantly small under this night sky, standing somewhere in the Norwegian hills far away from civilisation.
The day before, we had taken a bus out of Trondheim and hiked up into the hills around Ilfjellet mountain. We had come across a lonely farm, a waterfall, cows and sheep on our way, before finally reaching the cabin somewhere in the wilderness. Like many traditional wooden cabins, it had no electricity or running water, but a stream right beside it, an old oven and a store for logs.
In the morning we were woken up by the bleating of sheep browsing just below the windows. It was early September and the sun was rising at 6.30am. Although warm during the day, the night had been chilly. We picked fresh blueberries and cloudberries outside our cabin to have with our porridge for breakfast.
Afterwards, we packed our bags and headed out to Ilfjellet mountain equipped with compass and map. The ground was muddy and mushy from a wet summer, so we headed up the surrounding mountains quickly. Up there, without any sheltering trees and bushes, the wind was blowing a strong, cold breeze into our faces. I filled my lungs with the fresh air. The view was amazing. Hills and valley as far as you could see, trees sprinkled across the landscape, the colours already hinting that summer would be over soon and autumn was already approaching with big steps. Not a single house until the horizon, not a single person out in the hills. Big, grey clouds were chasing each other across the azure blue sky quickly.
After enjoying sandwiches and freshly picked cloudberries in the shelter of a big rock on the peak of Ilfjellet, we decided to return. The wind had freshened up even more and was so strong up on the mountain peaks that we decided to descend a little for the return route. Watching our step closely to avoid getting stuck in the mud, we must have come slightly off route. We didn’t recognize the river we came across. Before going any further, we powered up our GPS device to check our position. We had gone too far north, that was all. We weren’t far away from our cabin at all.
Fifteen minutes later, we reached our cabin. Chilled to the bones by the wind, we lit a campfire and roasted marshmallows and bread over the fire. The sun set around 8.30pm, but the daylight was lingering for quite a while after that. With the daylight fading, the last bits of warmth were fading as well and a crisp night was falling. We drowned the dying embers with water before we got up.
Our eyes took a moment to adjust to the darkness. And then we saw it, millions of stars way above our heads shining bright. It was a truly magical night before we headed back to Trondheim the next day.