Bourgeau Lake and Harvey’s Pass Hike

Our first stop after Calgary was Banff. Maybe it would have been logical to start out slow, but we decided to tackle a long hike as our first hike in Canada. After taking our time in the morning, we left our tent in Banff and headed to the trail head– just off of Trans-Canada Highway 1. Our plan was to make it to Bourgeau Lake, and continue onto Harvey’s Pass if we had the time and energy.

The hike started out mildly inclined and heavily wooded. This was a breeze, so we spent the first two hours chatting and laughing– catching up on our past year’s adventures. Eventually the trail got steeper and we got quieter. We hiked for about an hour without saying anything to each other– which is why hiking with these girls is so great. We have a great time whether we are gabbing about Margit’s new witch and Maria’s new boyfriend, or hiking in total silence. Eventually we passed the heavy tree line and the landscape opened up to great views.

Shortly after, we arrived at Bourgeau Lake. The lake was beautiful, but also positioned in a wind tunnel, making it pretty chilly. We had our lunch, saved a German from drinking from the glacial-melt lake, and carried on our way.

Our way up to Harvey’s pass was more taxing. The wind was strong at some points, and it was easy to lose track of the trail. It was obvious that this part of the trail hadn’t been hiked much (or at all) this season.

Even though we had been fighting heavy winds and cold rain for the last 40 minutes, the view from the top was amazing. The clouds cleared up just long enough for us to snap some pictures.

After debating whether or not we should continue the next 2km or so of steep terrain to summit the top of Mount Bourgeau, we decided to head back down because of the storm that was headed our way.

By the time we got to our car, my legs were like jello. I replaced my hiking books with Chacos and drove us back to camp, exhausted. Our first Canadian hike was a 7 hour success.

Hiking up Skottinden

Our second day in Leknes began like most days, with bread, coffee, and laughs. While Vigdis was hard at work, Margit, Maria, and I walked to Leknessjøen (Leknes Lake) in complete awe of our surroundings. With every turn we were faced with a new landscape just as jaw-dropping as the last. We were reminded of just how small Leknes really is when we ran into the lady Maria and I hitch-hiked with the day before. After tanning (like Norwegians) by the lake, we headed back to prepare dinner.

Vigdis returned from work just in time for dinner. After loading up on food and coffee, we set out on our first hike up Skottinden. As you can see below, Skottinden is a steep mountain with unique shape that stands out from the landscape.


As we began our trip to the summit, I realized my legs weren’t quite as strong as they used to be.

I had trouble keeping up with the Norwegian mountain-goddesses… but I am going to blame it on the constant amazing views.

We carefully maneuvered past a hole of unknown depth, (that took the life of a woman back in 1994,) in order to reach the summit. As if the views during the hike weren’t jaw-dropping enough, the view from the top was spectacular.

We somehow managed to find enough room up there to dance, skip, and practice our headstands before heading back down the mountain.


Lofoten Norway: Day One


Lofoten is a stunning archipelago off of the northern coast of Norway. Maria, Margit and I made the trip to Leknes (an island near the southern tip of Lofoten) to visit our crazy cool Northern-Norwegian friend, Vigdis.

Boarding the plane!

Maria and I landed at the Leknes airport in the late morning. I use the word “airport” loosely because the runway is about the size of an american suburban driveway and the luggage belt is the size of a grocery store checkout counter.

Margit and Vigdis were due to arrive later that night so Maria and I had some time to kill. After hitching a ride into the center of town, we decided to explore. 6 minutes later, we deemed the town: explored. leknes3

While pondering what to do, we spotted a store that had a “Tourist Info” sign in the window. There was a guy (about our age) who was immediately eager to help us. We asked him for suggestions on what to do with the 5 hours we had left on our own. His response was basically: “Oh, you want to do something? You should probably go to the next town, Gravdal.”

Fast forward a few hours and we discover that the hospital is Gravdal’s greatest attraction. We decided to head back to Leknes and wait for our funny friends to arrive. Cups and cones of softis, (soft-serve ice cream, but 100% yummier), made the time fly by!