Olav’s Way in Photos

For technical reasons (WiFi connections few and far between, tethering slow as molasses in January) the Olav’s Way Liveblog did not feature very many photos despite the fact that many that were taken. This post will help fill that gap in our coverage by giving you, the gentle reader, a better idea of what it was like to walk through the Norwegian countryside. Well, at least what it was like for me to walk through Norway. With the youngest of our group setting the pace, it didn’t take much camera fiddling before I was bringing up the rear. Accordingly, what you see is the perspective of the laggard. As one of the fellowship commented in response to the photos I shared with the group: “So this is what you were doing back there.

I found the walk and my efforts to capture it to be cathartic. Despite earning the dubious distinction of having the biggest and heaviest pack this year (Jordan was unfortunately not around to defend his title from last year), I arrived in Trondheim positively refreshed. It would be melodramatic to claim that traveling Olav’s Way changed my life, but it and the one we undertook last year have certainly enriched my devotional praxis, strengthened relationships with co-travelers and even had minor salutary effects on my physical well being.

I suspect a pilgrimage would do something similar for you too. If “religious tolerance, the cultivation of ‘holy envy’ in the world’s great religious places, and the appreciation, in good company, of God’s beautiful earth” sound intriguing, consider joining the Mormon Society of St. James for notices of walks, meetings and visits local to wherever its members may be, in addition to the annual pilgrimage. Speaking of which, next year we plan to track Thomas Becket’s traces to Canterbury.

In the meantime, I invite you to join the Fellowship of Olav’s Way on its journey to Nidaros:


  1. I’m so happy that there are all these action shots of me. See folks! I do more than sit at a computer all day. Occasionally.

  2. Exactly. You don’t have to be able to outrun a bear, just faster than the cameraman.

  3. It looks majestic, frankly. I’d be interested in hearing about some of the conversations and thoughts that developed along the route.

  4. Beautiful photography, thanks for sharing. (And welcome!)

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    These are great; thanks for sharing!

  6. Great photography Peter. Did you get the sense that the other pilgrims were there for religious reasons, or was it more of a reason for an outdoor adventure? Many Norwegian pilgrims, or were they mostly from overseas? How cold was it…that is North!

  7. I think “Dinner spread” is my favorite. It looks gorgeous and inviting even from my couch near my well stocked fridge. I can’t imagine how welcome it must have been at the end of a long day of hiking. Even pouches of freeze-dried backpacking food look good under those circumstances!

  8. Well done, Pete.

    JC, the reason there are so many shots of you is because you were always at the back!

    Looking forward to being flogged, like penitential King Henry, before Becket’s tomb in Canterbury. And then on to Rome!

  9. Peter, we really are indebted to you for acting as the de facto official photographer — such an amazing eye for capturing the real beauty and adventure of this experience. Love these photos.

  10. Thank you, all.

    Karen, we met around ten to fifteen other pilgrims on the trail that week. None that I spoke to (three Germans, one German/Polish, one Swede, one Swiss) mentioned religious reasons for their pilgrimage, and the hiking style (early to rise, no dilly-dallying along the way) of four who had come most or the whole way from Oslo gave me the impression is was about the adventure for them, though I suppose there’s nothing that makes efficient hiking incompatible with devotion. Another group of three (two Danes and one Norwegian, I think, or the other way around) introduced themselves to us in passing as the “Wizards of the North” (tongue in cheek) didn’t seem to fit the mold either. As for the temperature, it could be uncomfortably warm in the sun the first two days to where I would walk in the shadows if at all possible. Oslo was downright mediterranean the two days we spent there.

    Cynthia, it was the culinary highlight of the week. Norway is so expensive that even while in Oslo we did not stray far from bread and cheese from the grocery store. So we stored our privations all week and let them all out that final evening.

  11. “A look back toward Skaun.” is a fantastic scenic composition. The field has a dream like quality to it. At the risk of turning into a pillar of salt, I’ve found that looking back while hiking usually offers a better view than looking ahead. Too bad there are some powerlines across the top (nothing a little photoshop work can’t help fix), but the field and background is so strong I barely notice.

  12. “I’ve found that looking back while hiking usually offers a better view than looking ahead.”

    Preach on. And, yeah, those power lines. I don’t have a copy of photoshop so I left them, but it is a distraction.

  13. Ronan,
    If you’re not smart enough to hang out with the photographer, I can help you.

  14. Truly wonderful, Peter. Thank you for taking such lovely, photojournalistic pictures. I hope someday to join the pilgrimage; in the meantime, I love seeing my friends is such a wonderful light.

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