On the 1st of june 2012, I will start a Transscandinavian hiking and packrafting adventure beginning at the southernmost point of Norway, Lindesness Fyr, and ending nearly 4 months later high above the arctic circle on the northernmost tip of continental Europe, Nordkinn.
I am well aware that there will only be a limited time window in my life during which I have the athletic abilities to complete a trip like this. Even more limited will be the time window where this physical capability is combined with a young spirit able to deal with the tremendous mental challenges involved, and a social situation allowing to be away from home for many months. My primary motivation is beyond any doubt a personal one. I want to push my limits and be rewarded with a unique experience. I will catch sunsets from snow-capped mountains, share the forests with elks and bears, sleep under the ghostly shadows of the northern lights, and be caught in blizzards and thunderstorms. I will feel alive.
I have been inspired by other long-distance adventurers and I am deeply grateful to them. With my trip, I hope to inspire others. Inspire them to capitalize their short period of time on this planet, astonish themselves, and make the extraordinary happen.
“Norge pa langs”, the classic long distance trail through Norway, has been skied or walked by a few hundred (mostly Scandinavian) endurance adventurers before. However, the route I intend to follow is not the rather linear classic one, but an inspiringly spectacular personal variant of unprecedented length and character. It will cross no less then 18 national parks in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Besides, I will be the first person covering parts of the trip by packraft, making my journey even more unique and revolutionary. I will not stick to the valleys, but also climb numerous mountains along the way when weather conditions are favourable.
About 60% (1500km) of the route follows man-made hiking trails. About 20% (500km) will be cross-country wilderness trekking. The remaining 600km will be river floats and lake crossings with a packraft.
Currently doing a PhD in geology, I am a 25-year-old hiker with quite some trekking experience under the belt. Already at the age of 20, I crossed the Pyrenees from the Atlantic Coast to the Mediterean, covering most of this massive 54-day walk solo. In total, I have done about 300 days of trekking, mostly in Scandinavia and the Pyrenees, but also in the Alps, Corsica and Scotland. Clearly, this Transscandinavian adventure will be my longest and most difficult feat so far. I am convinced I have the experience as well as the physical and mental abilities to complete it in a successful way.
I’ve given some talks about my outings in the past and hope to do so again about this trip.
Where and when?
I will start my adventure at the southernmost tip of Norway, the lighthouse Lindesness Fyr, in the first week of june 2012. In june, I will cross the still snow-covered high plateaus of Setesdalsheiene, Hardangervidda and Skarvheimen and cross into Jotunheimen by the beginning of july. As summer really sets in, I will cross the alpine mountain ranges of Breheimen, Reinheimen and Dovrefjell before plunging into forested Trondelag. Forollhogna, Skarvan og Roltdalen and Blåfjella-Skjækerfjella will be the next links in my long chain of national parks. I will be august by the time I reach Borgefjell and cross the arctic circle near Saltfjellet. The rest of the trip will mostly be true wilderness travel. After passing Junkerdalen and the glaciers of Sulitjema, I will cross into Sweden and admire the raw beauty of Sarek National Park and the Kebnekaise region, climbing Sweden’s highest summit along the way. I will paddle the Divielva river in Ovre Dividalen while the autumn colours start to develop and the ghostly northern lights brighten the quickly lengthening nights. The rugged west coast will quickly make way for the endless plains of the Finnmarksvidda as I progress northeast. Long floats on the Rommaeno, Lataseno, Alta, Lesjohka, Karasjohka and Tana rivers should allow me to quickly cover most of this last stretch towards Nordkinn, continental Europe northernmost point. I should reach my final goal by late September.
Why Nordkinn and not Nordkapp?
There are multiple reasons why I will walk to Nordkinn, and not to what most people consider Europe’s northern extreme, Nordkapp. First of all, as it is located on the Mageroya Island, Nordkapp is not the northernmost point in Europe, not by any definition. The real northernmost point of the European mainland is Kinnarodden, at 71° 08′ 03” N on Nordkinn Peninsula. Besides, I want to complete my trip on a location with a similar character like the rest of the trip: in the wilderness.