Dronningruta – The origin of our love for hiking
The ‘Dronningruta’ or ‘The Queen’s Route’ is a 15 kilometer loop hike in the Vesterålen, north Norway. It starts in the picturesque fisherman’s village of Stø. It is rated challenging, and takes about 5 to 8 hours, depending on your fitness.
It is called ‘The Queen’s Route’, because Queen Sonja of Norway hiked this trail in 1994 and loved it.
- Highest point: 450 meters
- Lowest point: 37 meters
- Distance: 15 kilometers
- Starting point: Stø or Nyksund
- Difficulty: rather challenging
- Total meters going up: 772
- Total meters going down: 772
On top of my bucketlist was a whale safari, which you can do in that region. So when we decided to drive that far, we were looking for a good hike in the neighbourhood. When I came across this one on the Internet, our choice was made.
We started the hike in beautiful Stø, a tiny old fisherman’s village. At this moment in our lives, we were kind of hiking virgins. So we thought: 15 kilometers, that doesn’t sound that hard! We are from Belgium, and are used to hiking in flat regions. So we packed two sandwiches, 0,70 liters of water per person and off we went. In the beginning of the hike, the route is rather flat and easy. You hike over what looks like an exotic beach and pass by a wonderful lake. But after a few kilometers, you start climbing and that’s where things start getting harder. We had no clue, and after half an our we ate our sandwiches and drank our water. We stopped a hundred times to take pictures of the beautiful scenery. I think at that time in my life, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
We hiked further up, and started to realize that this hike wasn’t as easy as we thought. At some parts, it even got a little dangerous with steep cliffs and actual climbing with your hands. We were not prepared for this! The hike is extremely beautiful, but we couldn’t fully enjoy everything because of our lack of experience. At the end we had no more water, it was getting cold and we were so hungry. When we stopped for a break, Jurgen was falling asleep from exhaustion. I had to keep him awake and tell him it couldn’t be that far anymore. It was such a big relieve to see the village of Stø in the far distance, because we really were at the end of our rope.
Afterwards, we realized what a bad situation we were in, and how things can get bad in no time in nature. That’s when we decided that we wouldn’t let this happen again. Next time, we would be prepared!
But also, there was a spark… It felt like it was the start of something new, something great. The hikingbug got us that day, in the far north of Norway. And it was there to stay.