April Exercise Challenge

April month has been a great month – Weather-wise and “hiking wise”. I entered a new virtual challenge on the 20th of April. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m doing a new virtual challenge every month. The latest challenge is one of the hikes you will find at Pacer Virtual Adventure Challenges, and it’s called The Great Ocean Walk.

I love the concept of tracking your progress by using the app; Pacer. This app allows you to learn about other countries and the checkpoints along the routes/challenges. Every checkpoint gives you some interesting facts about the sites along the hike. The great ocean walk stretches from Apollo Bay in Australia and ends at Twelve Apostles and is 104 km long.

The Best Virtual Challenges

I’ve participated in many challenges over the last couple of years, but the last year I’ve found a new way to participate – Virtual Challenges. I personally think that Pacer Virtual Adventure Challenges has the best challenges out there. You get to learn a bit about different countries, and the medals are great!

You can log on to their web page; and find the challenge that suits you the best. There are many routes to “explore”. The length of the challenges varies, and if you are a new beginner you can choose a route that is not too long to start with.

There are two ways of participating:

  1. Get The Finisher Certificate: Download the app, Pacer, and find the virtual challenge you wish to participate in. Enter the challenge and receive a digital badge and a certificate when you finish. Satellite images show you where you’re at and are constantly updated during the hike or jog.
  2. Get The Medal & The Finisher Certificate: Download the app, Pacer. Visit and select the challenge you want. Click the “register now” button and fill in the required information. If you choose to receive the medal, there is a fee – usually around $29.99. Shipping is free worldwide.

When you finish the challenge you can share the badge and the certificate with friends on social media. You can join the Facebook group; Pacer Adventure Challenge Group and share your adventures with the community. It’s a great place to find and receive motivation – share, and receive experience.

Entering these challenges is so motivating and a good way of getting fit or keeping fit.

A Walk In Wonderland

I love finding new hiking routes, and I think I’ve just found one of the nicest ones in a long time during the April challenge. I can’t believe that I have not discovered this place before. It is only a 15 minutes drive from where I live. And it’s so beautiful. I got the feeling of walking straight into The Lord of the Rings movie.

One of my passions in life is photography – preferably nature photography. I really got to snap a lot of pictures on this hike in Wonderland. The route I found is located in a forest called Sælandsskogen (Saeland forest). There are multiple routes to choose from, but they all start at the car park in Saeland forest

There is a large board with a map of the area, and a good overview of the various routes. I chose the “Saelandsfjellet rundt” (Around the Saeland mountain). This is an approximately 8 km hike and the trail varies between boulders, gravel, and grass. The surrounding are stunning, and you’ll get a bit of “everything” along your hike.

Different Types Of Landscapes Taksdalvatnet

The hike starts in the forest, where a nice gravel path has been made. The path divides after a while, and you keep to the right over a small bridge. Now you go in the direction of Sælandsfjellet (Saeland mountain).

A nice lake appears in the beginning of the hike – Taksdalvannet, where some people are having a barbecue by the beach. The path inland here is rocky, so it is important to have good and stable hiking boots.

After a short distance along the lake, you are at the backside of Sælandsfjellet, in Urådalen (A nice valley). It’s so beautiful here, and a small river (Urdåna) flows past making it even more gorgeous. There is a magical atmosphere on this side of the mountain and you have shelter from the wind. This stretch is quite long, and the trail is mostly rocky. You can also hike up the mountain (Saelandsfjellet), which is 272 meters above sea level.

The terrain gradually becomes flatter, and less rocky. You pass an idyllic little pond; Moldtjørna. Eventually you see that a greener landscape opens up on the horizon, this is Bjødnalia – An old sheep farm with large grasslands and a beautiful lake, Bjødnalivannet. Here flow sweet little streams, which play the most beautiful music to my ears.

The road further from Bjødnalia is a nice gravel road along Bjødnalivannet. You end up at the top of the sheep pasture, where you can meet sheep and cute little lambs. You follow this tractor road for a while, until you reach a farm. A sign tells you to keep left inwards along a field before you see a paved road.Urdåna river

The last stage of the hike starts on a small piece of asphalt, where you again turn left at the sign towards Saeland forest. You then cross a field, along a stream and end up in Saeland forest again where the hike started.

This trip offers such an incredibly varied landscape, and you really get a little of everything that nature has to offer. You will encounter forests, lakes and ponds, streams and rivers, grassy fields, and grazing animals on your hike. A magical hike you won’t soon forget.

The three pictures are from; Taksdalsvannet (Taksdal lake), the rocky path inland,

and Urdåna (The river at the backside of Saeland mountain).

What The History Told Me

The trip to Saeland forest had historical information along the route. I find this very interesting and the hike is even more fun to perform. It also gave me the idea to read a little about the place when I returned home.

Here’s what the story told me:

The road at the backside of Saeland mountain was first built in 1917 – 1918 by Aadne Saeland, but in 1943 the road was repaired by prisoners from Opstad so that they could transport oak timber and firewood. The road was also built up to Saelandsfjellet, where a magnificent view awaits the happy hiker.

After you have passed Moldetjørn (the little pond), you reach Bjødnalia (the old sheep farm).

The farm was developed with houses and cultivated land in the period;1855-1870, by a mountain shepherd from Eidland named Fanuel Svenson (1831-1892).

Fanuel had as many as 3 wives and 15 children, with the first of his wives. It was the son-in-law, Ola Rasmusson (1857-1928) who ran the farm until they moved in 1907).

Today the farm is used as a cabin and sheep grazing. It’s a perfect and magical place to stop for a snack and a drink along the hike. Bjødnalivatnet (Bjødnali lake) is a beautiful lake you can rest your eyes on while taking a lunch break.

Virtual Challenge – A Great Motivator Bjødnalivatnet

As I mentioned earlier in this article, virtual challenges is truly a great motivator. It’s a perfect way to keep fit and explore nature, and I find it so much fun in a time when social activities are limited due to the pandemic. It’s so important to find something healthy to do – Also you get to be a part of the community with other participants.

I have always loved hiking, but after I got a taste of virtual challenges, I have really experienced many new routes and the motivation is higher than ever before.

I just HAVE to make it happen every single day – Not a too bad addiction if you ask me. The app, Pacer is showing me the progress, and I cheer on myself (and other participants) every day as the goal is getting closer.

I hope you all find some inspiration in this article, and that you will join me on my adventures, and journeys.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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