This hike in Aurland was recommended to me by my friend Regula. It's a one way hike along the Aurland valley from Østerbro to Vassbygdi. Very convenient for anyone staying in the Sognefjord area as there is a bus that picks drops you off at Østerbro in the morning and picks you up six hours later in Vassbygdi. Another option is to break the hike into two days and stay in the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) cabins, of which there are two along the trail. One at the starting point in Østerbro and one a little more than half way through. Great for if you want to take your time or explore some of the smaller trails that branch off. The hike was about 10 miles long and took me almost the whole six hours, although that included lots of photo stops and a bit of off-trail exploration.
The hike starts at the Østerbro campground site, which pretty high up in the mountains. While there is a lot of incline along the trail, overall it's about a 400 meter decline into Vassbygdi. However, there is an option to hike up to the top of the one of the mountains and then back down to meet up with the main trail later on if you're looking for more of a challenge. Although, I would by no means consider this an easy hike, in some ways it was more challenging for me than Rimstigen. The terrain is very rocky and at several points the trail is very narrow, close to the edge of mountain, and even crosses a few waterfalls which really forces you to slow down and walk carefully, while also taking in the amazing scenery of course.
The view from my lunch spot- the water looked amazing! Similar color to the fjord yesterday and absolutely clear! Sometimes the river would be completely still like glass and only a few minutes walk later it would be raging wildly.
Waterfalls, waterfalls everywhere! If there's one thing Norway has plenty of it's rocks and waterfalls. Here's one I had to cross over with nothing but a wire to hold on to and a wooden plank balancing on some wet rocks. Not going to lie, it was a little scary.
One of the trailheads along the river, surrounded by beautiful wildflowers which were blooming everywhere, and so many fields of Lupine! I couldn't resist making myself a flower crown along the way.
This is the second DNT cabin along the trail. Perched on this outcropping surrounded by the most amazing cliffs and waterfalls, and nestled in between fields of flowers and grazing goats. Coming around the bend to this scene was maybe the most spectacular sight of the whole day. I felt like Heidi coming home to grandfather's cabin. I never thought I would see life or a place like this. It was a long and challenging hike but absolutely worth it. Every time I came around a corner there was more beauty waiting for me. I kind of just forgot where I was and everything else that was happening in the world from becoming completely and utterly enthralled in this place's magic. I can understand now how so many folk stories and fairy tales originated from Norway, the landscape is so amazing an inspiring!