Thank you for booking the SV05 Hike to Pulpit Rock in Stavanger. As you are aware, this is an ACTIVE Hiking tour and we want to remind you to keep hydrated and please ensure you have all the appropriate outerwear and shoes to participate in this port adventure. Thanks so much and have a great Hike!
Kind Regards, Port Adventures Team / Disney Magic”
Interesting! Our first warning from Disney Cruise Line that we’d booked an ACTIVE tour! We thought it was funny…until…
Remember, I tried to book interesting, action-packed port adventures. After being criticized by my offspring for some “boring” excursions on the 2011 Wonder-in-Alaska cruise, I was NOT booking anything remotely mild. To kick things off, I booked a full day’s activity – an 8-hour tour that started with a motor coach ride to a ferry, ferry ride to more motor coach action, and finally, a 4-5 hour hike up to the world famous Pulpit Rock (and back down again). This hike was not for wimps! The stateroom warning card was proof!!! It was not a cheap undertaking, this port adventure, but if I booked through Disney Cruise Line, I knew I was paying for peace of mind – if we returned later than the all-aboard time, the ship would not leave without us!
If I remember correctly, we were to meet sometime around 8:15 am in Fathoms. We got up early, bundled in layers and hiking shoes, and hit the Cabana’s Buffet for breakfast. We were really excited and ready to go on time. Once the ship had been cleared for all-ashore, we headed out with the other members of our tour group to meet our guide, Paul. Paul was kind, easy going, and very welcoming as he ushered us along the pier to our very comfortable motor coach. We’d packed the new backpack we’d received as a Castaway Club gift with trail mix, nuts, granola bars, and water. We’d actually brought the snacks with us from home, having read that we’d have a long day ahead of us and would want the extra food.
By 10:00 am, we’d reached the starting point for our hike. In the parking lot, Paul distributed our box lunches (included with the excursion and he took this responsibility very seriously) – these were large-ish Styrofoam containers holding an unwrapped sandwich, apple, candy bar, and bottle of water. There was absolutely no way we could carry these with us, so we left them in our seats on the bus – hoping they’d keep until we returned. At around 10:15, we started the hike to Pulpit Rock – it was around 52-degrees out and overcast.
Paul was very clear with his pre-adventure warning – it would take us the same amount of time to reach Pulpit Rock as it would to hike back down. The goal was to reach the plateau by noon (or so) and begin the trip back down by 12:40 pm at the latest. No pressure! Personally, I was feeling ultra confident at this point – my family is in excellent shape! We would have absolutely no problem making the hike in the allotted time period – Paul would need to worry about those other families, not mine! THEN we started the hike – walking up a wide, gravel path…and it felt like we were walking straight up! (See elevation map a the top of the page.)
I was out of breath immediately. Surely this was due to the fact that I was carrying the full backpack, right? Or maybe it was the altitude in Norway (Louisiana is extremely flat and mostly at sea level). Raymond took a turn carrying the snacks. Megan and I were walking together and, for a short time, we could see Raymond and Joseph ahead of us. They were getting farther and farther away, then we lost them completely.
After the gravel path ended, the real work began. We were on an extremely rocky, sometimes very narrow upward path. The rocks were of an amazing variety of shapes, sizes and texture. Some were slippery where water ran in streams between the stones. It was like climbing up an endless flight of stairs – where each individual stair was of a different height and angle. The only way to take in our surroundings was to stop completely for a look around – otherwise, all we did was watch our feet to make sure we stepped carefully! Every time we stopped, the view took our breath away…or maybe it was the climb. No matter, we were working hard and had amazing things to see.
Occasionally, we’d get a break in a valley with a wooden walkway or on a flat plateau, but ever mindful of the time constraint, we pushed onward and upward. We couldn’t help but notice when the path became extremely narrow along the edge of a cliff – one wrong step and…
After an hour and a half, we were nearing Pulpit Rock – Megan and I were feeling a great sense of accomplishment. Coming so close to the edge of disaster over and over completely desensitized us…when we reached the incredible Pulpit Rock, we were able to walk right up to the edge and have a seat! Unfazed by the danger of falling, we were euphoric! We’d made it and the final destination was worth every bit of the effort it had taken to get there!
Sure, we were happy, but also really thirsty and starving! It was time to find Raymond and Joseph and, more importantly, the backpack. We had about 50 minutes to relax and enjoy the views before we had to head back down.
Now, logic would dictate that going up would be harder than going down – not so in Norway! The trip back down to the bus was, to me, more difficult than the climb. The rocks were slippery and I fell onto my bottom more than once. I counted myself lucky – I was well-padded and didn’t suffer anything worse than a little hurt pride. By the time I reached the busses, the rest of my family had been waiting a little while. All of us were happy with our first day in Norway. (Some of us might have been a bit sore the next day.)
We made the reverse trip to the port – back on the bus, the ferry, and the bus again before bidding Paul goodbye. The next day would bring a new and completely different adventure – Sea Kayaking in Alesund, Norway.
Thanks for following along! Watch this adventure’s YouTube video here.
Links to the other parts of this trip report:
- Disney Cruising in Norway (an overview)
- Copenhagen – Part 1
- Copenhagen – Segway Tour
- Copenhagen – Tivoli Gardens
- Sailing Away on the Disney Magic
- Disney’s Magic in Norway – At Sea Day