We woke up early on Saturday to catch the first ferry from Stavanger to Tau at 6am. We drove onto the ferry, got out and climbed the stairs to a seating area where we paid for the ferry ride, which for the two of us, with a car, cost about 200KR. We then went back outside and watched the scenery go by, enjoying the fresh, salty air. The ride lasted about 40 minutes.
When we reached Tau, we drove off and headed on our way. 25 minutes later we were in the parking lot behind the Preikestolen Hotel and the start of the hike to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). We used the bathrooms at the car park quickly, grabbed our bags, and hit the trail at about 715am.
The trail first climbs up a smaller hill/mountain, bringing you up onto a flat, open area with a view of the lake by the hotel, below the car park. Here is a small stand set up for people to zipline. As we found out on our way back, the zipline takes you back down over the trail you just climbed, and not in any way in the direction of the lake, or really, any pretty views. I would have been disappointed had I paid for that…
As we kept climbing and enjoying an improving view of the lake, we kept stopping to snap some pictures. After another long climb, we stopped for a little break on a large rock amongst some trees. We chowed down on some granola bars, and I changed out of my merino wool, long sleeve shirt in favor of a little t-shirt. Climbing this mountain was just too hot, despite it being quite cool and overcast.
We got back on our way, passing through some woods and wet areas on a boardwalk, mostly a flat area. This soon changed, though, and we found ourselves climbing the steepest part of the trail, which lasted for a good distance. This part was quite demanding (its all large, tall rocks set up as stairs), but we actually managed to climb to the top of it without stopping for a break. I was very proud of us!
At the top we did stop, though. We found a large rock, and sat, leaning back against each other, catching our breaths and relaxing. We were starting to get really excited. We knew (from maps along the trail) at this point that we were about half way there and the worst of the climbing was now behind us. From here on out, the climbs would be more gradual.
When we set out again, we were quickly rewarded with an incredible view of the mountains and the Lysefjord in the distance. So of course, we had to stop pretty much immediately to take some pictures of it all. The excitement was increasing, so we didn’t waste too much time before setting off down the trail again, anxious to see Pulpit Rock!
From there it was a relatively flat trek for a period, with small climbs or descents along the way. This gave way to an area of beautifully serene pools of water amongst massive rocks and boulders, lined with little trees. The surface of the water was perfectly smooth, with the trees, rocks, and sky reflecting across the surface. Since we were the only ones along this trail, it was perfectly peaceful. The best, and intended, perk of being there so early.
After this point the remainder of the trail, for the most part, if a gradual climb over the bald, smooth rock of the mountain. When you reach this point, you’re starting to get close, but there’s still plenty of walking left, so don’t go getting too anxious and start running! After a bit more of a hike, we came upon the edge of the cliff looking down upon the Lysefjord. The sheer drop down, from a height of about 600 meters, was incredible, breathtaking. Probably going to be a bit overwhelming if you’re afraid of heights. Fortunately, heights don’t bother me, so I stood on the edge, looking down, taking in the full view of the Lysefjord. I think I can honestly say, this is one of the most incredible places I have been to yet.
Of course, we weren’t at Pulpit Rock yet, so we followed the trail that followed the edge of the cliff, between a sheer drop and a cliff face on your other side. Don’t get alarmed, though, the trail is plenty wide, and you don’t feel like you’re going to topple off to your death. Reassured??
On this cliff-side trail, you very quickly catch your first glimpse of Pulpit Rock and it is an incredible one. The rock is massive, jutting out over the fjord below. We stopped on a rocky outcropping with a good view of Pulpit Rock and took turns running out to the edge of it to take pictures of each other. Yes, we ran for this. There were only a few other individuals on the rock already, but as we were taking our pictures, people started streaming up the trail behind us. So, we hurried to get our shots before the rock was swarmed with people. We succeeded, but only just.
After we got our pictures, we sat on the edge of the cliff, watching all of the people start to cluster on the rock. We took the time to relax, enjoying the view of the rock and fjord below, watching the tour boats pull up below to see Pulpit Rock. We knew that would be us the next day. As we sat there, munching on snacks and hydrating, a group of young men showed up, German as it would turn out, one of them carrying one of those remote controlled helicopter/airplane vehicles with a camera underneath it. They set up, and flew it off the rock and out over the fjord, turning it for a 360 degree view of the Lysefjord and Pulpit Rock. What a great idea! Something I’d love to buy, yet at the same time, that money (those things aren’t cheap) could be better used on a couple of trips!
After a lengthy break, we braved the crowd to get some more pics on the edge of the rock, up close. That turned out to be quite risky, though, especially when idiots are involved. I sat on the corner of the rock, my feet hanging off the edge. An obnoxiously loud and rude man (he had already proven he was these things) came up to stand right behind me to pose for his own picture with one of those annoying selfie sticks, not paying any attention to anything, but it, and nearly bumped into me! I think I shouted at him, I can’t honestly recall, but something caught his attention at the last moment and prevented me being knocked off the edge. It all happened so quickly and I was thoroughly scared by it, so my memory isn’t spot on of that. As I said earlier, I am not bothered by heights, but that sensation of falling… That scares the hell out of me. And feeling as though I am about to fall 600 meters like that… That’s almost like an instant heart attack! Not cool on his part. I don’t mind people using selfie sticks, but at the same time, I’ve seen too many people lose track of what is around them, in the worst places.
Anyways, I quickly left the edge of Pulpit Rock and didn’t return to it. I was too spooked. I snapped some more pics for my friend, though, and then we got ready to start our trek back down. As we got away from Pulpit Rock, though, I did think to turn and snap a picture looking back, to show you all just how crowded it had become since we first arrived there… I can not recommend this hike enough. It was sooo incredible and standing on the edge of Pulpit Rock is a memory I will never forget. But, if you do go, please take my advice and catch the first ferry in the morning to be there before everyone else. This picture of Pulpit Rock might look crowded, but it is surely nothing compared to what it would look like even an hour later. As we hiked back to the bottom, the trail was covered in a never ending stream of people. I don’t know how they would have all managed to fit on Pulpit Rock…
When we got back to the car, we dropped our bags and hit the restroom. We then when looking for and found a little restaurant that had just opened at noon (our hike took about 5 hours total). We got lunch here. There aren’t a ton of menu options, but the food we got was phenomenal, so yummy, and the juice beverages were superb as well. Or maybe it was just because we had hiked a mountain. So if you want a hot and tasty meal after that hike, check out the restaurant. Its in a building that I think is also the hotel, on top of a hill with some picnic tables in front. You can’t miss it.