The day began with the sweet melancholy of knowing you have discovered a wonderous space, but it is time to put it behind you.
The night spent at the DNT cabin was both restful and peaceful. All equipment was dried around a wood burning stove, a meal of vegetable soup and the comforts of a bed.
All was placed as it once was, the door was bolted and the lock firmly put in place. The trail ahead was good and it was time to run.
Half a km in and the first river needed crossing. Only a small creature, but flowing fast from the days of rain.
Back on to the trail and it seemed that that endless bogs of the last few days were behind me. I ran, following the wooded trail as it meandered side to side, up and down. I felt great to be able to move and my pack felt light.
Then another river to cross. This one far wider, fleeing with great force but luckily no deeper than my knees in the deepest part. More good running trails lay ahead but now, they had changed.
Gone was the mud and rock, only to be replaced by sand covered trails. Large areas of sandy beaches appeared as I ran along, fuelled by the fruit tea I made the night before. The landscape had undergone yet another subtle change.
33km later, we arrived at Mellusjhoka hoping to buy more food for the days ahead. The place looked deserted and a sign on the door gave the impression the owner was out till 5pm.
I wandered into one of the cabins…
It was roasting inside! No food to be had other than some porridge oats and bread crumbs. Sophie made use of the plugs and borrowed some electricity, while I ate some of the nuts I had left and redressed my toe.
Before 5pm it was time to move on. The lush sandy trails were no more.
It was a return to the bigs and peat hags of the previous few days and now we followed a trail amongst Birch trees.
The trail markings started well but became increasingly difficult to follow, covered in lichen, moss or having been weathered away to just a speck of red on a small rock.
It was bound to happen…
The trail vanished and it was time to navigate. Following the compass south led through deep bogs, small thickets of Willow and Antarctic Birch, unforgiving on the legs and feet.
Eventually, we cross the trail and words of relief are spoken.
Not long and the trail is gone again, but this time easy to find. The all to familiar red plastic posts mark the way along a stretch of grassy, mossy bogs. In parts the ground undulates like the surface of a water filled balloon ready to burst and in others your feet plunge into the dark depths.
I shout and swear t the landscape and the trail. The depth of the bigs decrease and it seems that all is improving…
A lake stands ahead!?
Those where not the trail markers we should have followed.
Now the real battle begins…
The distance back is too far and the bigs were treatorous down hill, never mind turning around and going back up.
We head high. It’s my decision. I want to see the landscape to be able to work out where I am.
The woods become thicker, stifling. Anger rises and drives me harder through the undergrowth and passed the stunted and lichen coated trees. I reach a peak and stop. Phone out, trying to get a GPS lock on my position and workout where the trail should be. I am now an all you can eat buffet for mosquitos.
My legs are coated in the blood suckers and they make concentrating tricy.
I pick a trod that goes South West… The trail should be in that direction.
We move, a raging river cuts across out path from the right but it is narrow enough to jump. More bogs, peat hags, moss covered hills and woodlands block the way ahead. Trod after trod I head south west.
I have a signal!?
‘Guido, could you please tell me if the trail is to the west or east of my position?’
I send the text I was avoiding…
I look up and there in the distance a tree with a splash of red…
I rejoice, kiss the marking and move on, shouting red at each marking I come across.
Now, I sit I my tent, redress my cut and wait in vain for the rain to stop.
I have 95km before reaching Kautokeino, where I will rest for a day or two and then continue my journey as originally intended…