Checking the weather forecast four times a day, nervously packing and hesitating about these last few small items to take in my pack… how many spare pegs for the tarp? Will my alcohol stove work well enough on cold evenings in the mountains and clear nights in Finnmark? Will all my contacts for my food drops be reliable? Will it be possible to cross the Hardangervidda with all this snow still lingering around? Honestly, they are only an excuse not to think about the real questions… How will I cope with long solo stretches in deserted Northern Scandinavia, or during long bad weather episodes, or even worse: both combined? Won’t I crack when autumn sets in and dark and depressive days succeed each other? Why can’t I just spend summer in Belgium and enjoy one of our beers on a cozy terrace like normal people? Shit, do I really want this?
1st of june is now really coming close…
It’s been the same questions before my long trips in the Pyrenees in 2007 and 2010, although they are now more pressing. On these previous walks these thoughts rapidly faded away as the days passed, progress was made and my confidence grew, and after a few weeks, the walk became all and I felt like I could go on forever. Most questions above become trivial when reaching this point. You don’t hope a food drop will work out, you rely on it. If the first two weeks pass smoothly, I hope I will experience the same evolution. No, I rely on it.
I’m a bit of a Lone Ranger, but not the kind which can wander for 4 full months through wilderness alone. Some friends will join me on the way: after 3 weeks of solo walking Joris will join me for a week from Finse to Tyin. My girlfriend Elien will replace him as my companion and accompany me for a full month up to Teveltunet. I’ll continue my drag north solo up to Saltfjellet where I’ll meet Fre, with whom I hike and packraft all the way to Abisko. Then there is a 4-week solo stretch left towards Nordkinn. It will be good to look forward to company when I have a difficult moment and pushing on feels like a hard thing to do. Both for them and for me, this is vacation and vacation equals enjoying things. If things don’t work out as planned, so be it.
Don’t expect a daily update of this blog. Maybe I’ll write a text every now and then when I find a computer and feel for it, but I don’t want any obligations. I’ll share most pictures, videos and stories afterwards. I will share a feeling or thought on a more regular basis through my Twitter channel to which you can now suscribe. A map will also appear on this homepage where my last SPOT-position (which will mostly be my bivouac spots) will be pinpointed. It will be updated every day at midnight.
I can only wish one thing: no physical injuries. Oh yeah, and a nice summer would also be cool.
Enough talking! Let’s hit the trail!