Light cairn: The headlights from the hikers were visible from a long distance, and the the light cairn was showing UN´s 17 sustainable development goals. (Photo: Aleksander Myklebust/Norad)
Last Saturday evening, incredible 5,000 people walked together up Telemark County’s highest mountain. With everyone wearing headlamps, it was a spectacular sight spreading alongside the 1883 meter tall Gaustatoppen. At the top, a musical reward was waiting for the hikers.
– It was an amazing experience, says Bjørn Sverre Birkeland, Mayor of Tinn municipality to NRK.
He says that the goal was 1,000 hikers, and are overwhelmed that over 5,000 people attended.
The trail is called “Opplysningsløypa”.(English: Enlightenment Trail) The walk was supposed to be held a week earlier, but was postponed due to the weather. This weekend, the weather gods were on their side.
-It was calm, clear weather and a full moon – absolutely magic!, says Birkeland.
UN Development Goals
Norad (The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation), the Norwegian Trekking Association and Tinn municipality have collaborated on the event with main focus on UN´s 17 sustainable development goals. The world countries have set big goals for the future, and the organizers wanted to show what people could achieve together.
– There were people from 10 to 80 years old who participated. Several living in Tinn, but many hikers had traveled from all over Western and Eastern Norway, says Birkeland.
The mountain trail was so crowded that people had to go in line. When they finally reached the top around 11. p.m., Norwegian artist Sivert Høyem held an acoustic concert for the attendants.
Around midnight, the majority chose to return down the trail. However, some decided to take the Gaustabanen train – 850 meters inside the mountain.
The late-night hikers joins the long line of adventurous tourists to Gaustatoppen this year. Last year, 80,000 reached the top, but this year, they expect more than 100,000 people.
– The biggest fear we had was that someone should be injured, says Jon Atle Holmberg, Managing Director of Telemark Trekking Association.
Only a few got a sprained ankle, and someone was so tired that they had to take the Gaustadbanen train back down.
Along the way, they were looked after by 120 people – and of these 70 volunteers came from the Trekking Association, the Red Cross and the Scouts.
After a very special night, the final participants came down from the mountain around 4:00 a.m.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews