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The outdoors expert hiking tips

Here is outdoor expert Inger Haugland’s thoughts on the hiking trend. She also shares her favorite spots.

Inger HauglandInger Haugland lives in the outskirts of Oslo and works in law enforcement, but in her spare time she spends as much time as possible outdoors, preferably running trails in the forests around Oslo or in the mountains. Recently, she’s been busy training for and running in ultra-trail races, with several planned for this year. Eventually she’d like to graduate to running longer races in the 200-plus kilometer range. She documents her outdoors life and running pursuits on her Instagram feed, @hauginger

“I’m convinced that we benefit so much, both mentally and physically, from being outside and using our bodies outdoors,” says Haugland. “It’s about reaching a different state of mind. Our bodies need physical exercise outdoors. Many people live their lives with so much mental exhaustion but none of the physical kind, and I think that’s dangerous. So if hiking and outdoor pursuits are growing in popularity I think it might be because people need the simplicity and the quiet, and also to reconnect with themselves and others that way. Also, there might be an increasing realization that we can’t take nature for granted any longer.”

 

Here are some of her top tips for spots to reconnect with nature, whether doing extreme trail running or just going for a nice hike.

Folldal, Norway

3.5 hours north of Oslo, between Rondane and Dovrefjell national parks. Great for trail running, but also hiking, canoeing, hunting, fishing, cross country skiing and mountain biking. The flatter mountains and plateaus north and northeast of Folldal are great for this, and there’s not much tourism, so you can walk for days without meeting other people. You might, however, run into herds of wild reindeer. Perfect for anyone searching for silence and peace.

Jotunheimen, Norway

Here you’ll find some of the highest mountains in Northern Europe. You can run or hike in spectacular scenery and stay in the cozy mountain huts run by the Norwegian Trekking Association. Most of these mountains are fairly accessible (although you might need a guide and climbing equipment in some parts), and the area is pristine.

Photo: Inger Haugland

Rondane, Norway

A peculiar landscape, in large areas very rocky, formed by the last Ice Age, but also with a few canyons and beautiful mountain flowers at the right time of year. Wild reindeer live in this area as well. All ten peaks here are accessible without climbing equipment. Many trail runners aspire to conquer all the peaks in 24 hours at some point in their careers.

Photo: Inger Haugland

Romsdalen, Norway

On the West coast, this is where trail running superstars Kilian Jornet, Emilie Forsberg and Ida Nilsson live and train. If Norway had a mountaineering capital, it would be the small city of Åndalsnes, which also has a mountaineering center, Norsk Tindesenter. On the way to Åndalsnes, you will probably pass Trollveggen (the Troll Wall), the tallest vertical rock face in Europe, with a fascinating series of pinnacles on the summit rim. You can reach the wall hiking or running on the “backside.” The starting point for that trip would preferably lead you to a drive up Trollstigen (The Troll Road). Running or hiking along the Romsdalseggen ridge is a must-do. Breathtaking views on all sides, and if you have a fear of heights, you’ll get a fair amount of adrenalin free of charge. A Via Ferrata is also available, with or without a guide.

Photo: Niklas Tidbury / Unsplash

Lofoten, Norway

The beauty queen of Norwegian nature, an archipelago located in the far north of Norway. At the southern part of the archipelago, the Moskenes Island is the most stunning with the most dramatic peaks. It has so much to offer – the northern lights in winter, great fishing opportunities, windsurfing and hiking. One of my best outdoor experience ever was in Lofoten with my children, when they were six and eight, walking in the Lofoten mountains and sleeping in a tent on the beach. If you want to see a lot of Lofoten in a short time, sign up for the Lofoten Ultra Trail. The 100-mile race will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of Lofoten.

Photo: Shutterstock

Madeira, Portugal

So many climbs and various flora squeezed into such a relatively small island! I’ve followed the Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT) route from west to east, which is a great way to experience much of Madeira. The ascents and descents are never-ending, so you’d better prepare your legs. At the same time, the trails are very accessible, with stone steps in many places. The amazing landscape and stunning views here will make you forget your sore calves.

The volcanic coastline and Isla Graciosa from Mirador del Rio. Photo: Shutterstock

Lanzarote, Spain

Most people visiting Lanzarote spend their time on the beaches in the south and east of the island. The mountains in the northwest are well worth a visit though. I took part in the Lanzarote ultra-trail race called Haria, which starts on the volcanic soil in the Timanfaya national park. We ran along the beaches by Caleta de Famara, and up in the mountains that are far more lush than other more barren parts of Lanzarote. We also ran through Mirador del Rio on the Northwest coast with its beautiful cliffs, before climbing up steep mountainsides. The race ended in Haria, a nice little city in a remarkably green valley. I’d recommend any part of this route.

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