Over the next few days we moved farther away from the Sognefjord region, our last glimpse of it was hiking the Prest summit. Another fairly steep but short hike, it begins as you are driving up the mountain in Aurland, just past the Stegastein lookout point. Once you're past Stegastein there's a parking lot about half a mile up the road on the left, it was a bit difficult to find since there are no signs or obvious trailhead markers. Since you are already above the tree line the trail is nice and open but also very windy. It took us about 3 hours in total, including a nice long lunch stop at the top, a perfect place to eat and enjoy the view.
After the hike we continued up up and over the mountains, along a narrow windy road going higher and higher while also getting colder and colder. In many places along the road were walls of snow parted like the Red Sea to make way for our little car. For the most part the roads were empty except for the wild sheep roaming about, but when you do come across another car, one person has to pull off the side of the road at a designated pull out to let the other car pass. Kind of scary at first but once you're on top of the mountains it's pretty flat so you're not close to any sharp drop offs.
I couldn't believe how different the scenery was once we got on top of the mountains! No more clear blue green water, tall trees, or wet mossy rocks. Just all barren stone and rolling hills coated in snow speckled with melting lakes and the odd cairn here and there. The diversity in nature that we saw in just a few days, in only a few hours of driving really, was incredible. I'm not sure where else in the world you can find such beautiful, unique, and interesting landscapes all so close to each other. Each one has something different and special to offer, which only confirms, in my mind, what a special place Norway is.
After coming down over the mountains we took a ferry across the Lustrafjorden and continued onto the darling town of Marifiøja. We only stayed there one night and set off the next day to do some smaller hikes along various lakes and up to a waterfall. The sun finally broke through during parts of the day but since it had been raining off and on the trails were still very muddy, but we did get to see some beautiful rainbows and more blossoming wildflowers everywhere.
Everywhere you turned the views were spectacular, although not as dramatic as in the fjord region the valleys of Norway are still so majestic and charming. There were still waterfalls everywhere you looked and the water was an even paler yet vibrant light aqua that positively sparkled when the sun hit it.