Kayaking in the Fjords

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I’m still going through the bazillion photos from our trip to Norway, but I’m impatient to share one of the trip highlights: Kayaking in the Fjords. As you may remember, a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Jordan and Liz zip-lining through the Redwoods. Well, the whole family was really inspired by their adventure and we’ve been craving an epic family playdate for ourselves.

Since I knew we had a trip to Norway on the schedule, I started searching out activities that would be amazing and that the whole family could participate in — which is sometimes tricky when the youngest is 2 (actually 3! she had her birthday on this trip) and the oldest is 15. Kayaking was perfect!

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We weren’t sure when and where we would find kayaks during our stay, but in this case, flying by the seat of our pants worked out really well. On one night of our trip, we stayed in charming cabins that were right on a fjord in a tiny town called Aurland.

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We knew we needed to catch a ferry at 3:00 the next day, but the morning was free for exploring. And luckily, there were kayaks to rent just down the road (just look for the “padling” sign). Fantastic!

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After getting prepped by the Kayak Guide, and donning lifejackets, everyone rowed out to a waterfall — all the way across the fjord. Friends, it looked a lot closer than it actually was. Hah!

Also. The water was cold! And the air too —in fact, you can see parkas in some of the photos. But the day was gorgeous, and rowing kept muscles moving and bodies warm.

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What a day!

When we ask the kids what their favorite part of the Norway trip is, everyone instantly says: Kayaking!

I hope we’ll seek out more adventures like this. Good exercise. Gorgeous scenery. And a dose of thrill. I would call this an epic playdate for sure. Happily, I know there are adventurous options wherever we are — we don’t have to go to Norway. Although I wouldn’t say no to another fjord visit! : )

What sorts of things do you like to do on vacation? Are you more of a read-a-book-on-the-beach kind of person? Or are you more of a thrill seeker? Maybe a little of both?

P.S. — Did you spot the 9th member of our traveling party? My niece, Ruth, was with us too. She’s currently an exchange student, living with a French family here in our town.

39 thoughts on “Kayaking in the Fjords”

  1. We are decidedly a do something or die kind of vacationing family. Definitely NOT a sit a read a book (sigh), but we have wonderful memories and I love to hear my kids re-live the past adventures and plan the future outings.

    1. It really was stunning. And we kept reminding ourselves it was about to become more stunning — the trees were just starting to bud, and we could picture how green the mountainsides will be in just a week or so. Amazing!

  2. I soaked up these pictures and then viewed all of them again. Wonderfully dramatic scenery!
    Eager for my own little vacation at the beginning of June- I’m a do-it-all kind of traveler, which may lead to exhaustion and some slip-ups, but in the end it’s worth it.

  3. Just a silly, nitpicky correction: you were paddling, not rowing. When you paddle, you face where you’re going and pull the water toward you. When you row, you face backward and pull/push the water away from you. :)

    1. Hah! You will know what a novice I am when I tell you I had no idea there was a difference. All this time I thought you could interchange those words. Too funny!

      Confession: I’m also unclear on what makes a boat a canoe versus a kayak. : )

      1. The open boats were canoes, although somewhat different that our Canadian ones. The yellow boat in one of the first photos is an ocean kayak. (or k’ayak, as was recently told us by an Inuit storyteller) There are so many different variations on canoes and kayaks than there used to be. My brother has 2 open kayaks that you sit on, and they are a ton of fun. (plus, you don’t have to learn an Eskimo roll – which might be a politically incorrect term, now that I think of it) For awhile, we would go canoeing with all 7 of us in one boat, but luckily for us, we now have 3.

    1. I hear you, and I feel it’s hard to find a good balance sometimes. I feel like when we’re with the kids it’s go, go, go. And if we take a grown-ups only weekend away, then I get to relax.

  4. Ohhhh…literally bringing tears to my eyes. I want to go so bad. Sad we had to cut this out of our trip. Looks amazing.

    Love the photo of Ben in the boat with the littler ones with the mountain/town in the back. Beautiful.

    1. Oh Linda! I hope you get to go sooner than later. I know you will love it. We were already daydreaming about our next Norway trip before we’d even arrived home.

  5. Love these photos. We have fjords in the US–Misty Fjords National Monument, just outside of Ketchikan, Alaska. They look so similar to Norway, although they’re much more isolated than the Norway fjords seem to be. I used to work at the Monument as a kayak ranger–it was a beautiful, wonderous place and your photos reminded me of it. Thanks!

  6. Love this! I grew up canoeing and kayaking in Canada, and spent my summers in college guiding overnight canoe trips for a kids’ camp. Nothing makes me happier than paddling! I absolutely cannot wait to teach my little ones to paddle, when the time comes :)

    P.S. Makes me think about the post earlier this week, about helicopter parenting. In my experience, nothing builds independence and resiliency like spending time outdoors. As a child/teenager, canoe tripping taught me to take responsibility (setting up my tent, carrying my load) and work with others (a canoe won’t go very far unless everyone is cooperating!). I also learnt to weather little bumps in the road (a rainy day, sore muscles) with equanimity. Just a thought :)

  7. I can’t wait to see more of your Norway adventures. My father-in-law served his mission in Norway a long time ago. He wants to take his children & spouses back next year and I’ve been tasked with doing a majority of the planning. The father-in-law hasn’t given me much to work with, so I’ll be looking to you for pointers! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Wow, gorgeous! I like to mix it up on vacation. One day of relaxing. Next day go on an adventure. Next day do something educational. Variety is the spice of life.

  9. Stunning!! It’s so nice when vacations are long enough to not rush around and feel you have to do everything quickly. That’s what’s actually so nice about Kayaking – everything slows down….just as you glide through the water, you can enjoy the peace and serenity of any area you are in!! What a great experience for you kids! Looked like everyone had a great time!

  10. Wow, looks like fun. Your husband looks so much older than 40 though! He should shave his beard thing …

  11. House Hunters International is in Aurland tonight! And I just pinned your picture from Pinterest without realizing it was yours, then saw tonight’s tv guide, then clicked over to your blog and saw this, haha. Norway! I’m so excited to see more of your pictures!

  12. Kayaking is so fun! Now you need to go kayaking in the Kenai Fjords in AK and watch glaciers calve! I’m from Seward and every time I have gone kayaking we’ve seems seals or whales or sea lions.

    Although I will tell you the architecture in AK is nothing compared to Goegeous Norway.

  13. Sooo beautiful! I now feel terribly guilty that I’ve never thought of doing things out in nature with my girls. I mean, I let them put on their bathing suits and splash in rain puddles today, but that hardly compares to kayaking the fjords of Norway. LOL

    I think Ben Blair looks fantastic! I love beards AND redheads. ;)

  14. We were at that same fjord last summer, although we stayed at the marina in Flam – so gorgeous!! I really wanted to kayak, but the timing didn’t work out. Instead, we did a zodiac boat tour of the fjord, which was so fun. We saw a herd of goats running along the shore, thinking that we were the farmer bringing them their supper. Such an amazing country – and we had the opportunity to meet some relatives there too. So glad you had the chance to visit!

  15. Beautiful! Do you think you could post about how you celebrated the two birthdays on the trip? I always love to hear about your birthday celebrations!

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