Day 38, 39, 40 – Nothing To See Here

Nothing to see here…

An obvious lie.  There’s several mountains to visit, a huge lake to explore, a myriad of trails to follow and more view than you can shake a stick at.  I also appear to be writing from the future since day 40hasnt even arrived yet.  

I seem to have allowed myself to wallow in frustration for a few days.  It’ll be nearly 14 days of waiting by the time I leave but I seem to feel ok about it, despite rants galore!  All of it is down to perspective and the simple act of emptying a mind through movement. 

Yesterday I ran the first 14km of my route out of here, arrived at AbiskoJuare, stopped for a few seconds, breathed, turned around and ran back.  The injury to the shin was still stuck in my brain.  My shin muscle contract involuntarily, keeping my footat a rigid 90°, and I could feel the muscle tiring and starting to stiffen up.  The trail itself was an intoxicating mix of colours and smells.  Birch, pine, aniseed, mud. All made each breath a delight.  The focus was simple…

Relax.  Cadence, breathing, silent, springy.  First the right leg relaxed and allowed the foot to recoil like a spring, then the legs lifted the feet, avoiding pushing off and then it was there.  A gentle loping.  Picking spots in the distance for each foot fall and then like a game of wham-a-mole, slapping my feet on each and every spot.  I saw hikers and runners and I must have been smiling, because I was greeted with smiles.n

I stopped by the river, listening to it roar in my ears and remove the background noise and smells of people.  Then I finished the run back to the hostel.  My legs felt used.  I didn’t feel like I’d gone particularly fast, but when I look at the tracked run I find nearly 1000m of climb. Amusing…

That’s in the first 14km since the route was uphill one way and down the other.  It felt good to have the endorphins rushing around in my blood.  The rest of the day would involved watching time pass.  Some food, some drink, then sleep.

Today, after two coffees, I ran the same trail.  Faster and shorter.  Finding that place between a love for running and hating running.  Focused on breathing deep, on landing lightly and on the feeling that you are floating effortlessly along.  A breakfast, shower, some food, some drink, watching traditional Lappis chanting, a speech in Swedish about Abisko National park and a conversation with the old fella I share my room with.

It seems that the young all believe their journey is the longest and the toughest, where as the old simply recount tales of their adventures in the mountains.  Those in the middle ask the question, stare in disbelief and then wander away, at a loss for words.

Tomorrow will be a simple day.  All will be washed, dried and packed.  My room booked for Monday as a precaution against a tent that doesn’t materialise and so that I can check the tent before leaving.  I know after just 4km I will again be alone.  No social media, no contact with the outside world and ahead will be the last 1270km of Norway.

Realistically, a trip that should have taken 7 months max, is likely to take longer.  I was 8 days behind schedule on arriving and now nearly 14 days have passed as I’ve sat waiting.  There’s still a part of me that wanders if the wait was necessary. There’s a part that wanders about the adventure ahead as the regular ferry services that link parts of the trail are shut down and I will not pay £80 per ferry crossing.

And I get to repeatedly face the only thing I seem to be genuinely and irrationally scared off…

Deep water in shape of river crossings and marshes!! I’ve crossed a fair few deep patches of water so far and on the wider ones I could feel the need to get out building.  I even had a break on one of the more recent crossing, squatted on a rock while I got my head together for the last bit.  Odd what we get scared of!!

If all goes well, the tracker will turn on on Tuesday and the 7 days stint in the wilds of Norway will start.  A new tent, some fetching Swedish wool long johns, a pair of woolly mittens (which are called hand shoes in Gemrnay! 😂) and some nice warm neoprene tabi socks for those high mountain passes that insist on ice and snow to be present.

So until I begin to move towards that end post, skirting the base of Mount Etna as I reach the final 50km of the E1, here’s to being intelligent enough to realise that really, info think about it for just a second …

I really have no reason complain.

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