A dry tent! That was the morning’s little surprise. Then a snooze. And another, followed by yet another.
I check how far Alandsbro is and got a shock. 58km. There was me thinking it was 30 something. I pack and briefly think about the problem of a drop in daylight hours. I’m on the trail so I follow it and what a way to start the day?! A true woodland trail with a steep climb followed by a long descent but after a few km… The trail ends and it’s road. I have a trail option but decide that actually, adding an extra 8km on to a log day is daft. The legs are tired but the mood… The mood remains light. I laugh and smile at the thought of what I’m doing. The distance that’s left to do, the thought of the distance for today… All try to break the mood, but weirdly it doesn’t work. I decide that actually, a schedule that averages out at 35km a day is easily don’t if I do 35km a day. Why go further if I don’t need to?
I just run, walk, eat, drink. The clouds begin to thin and the sun starts to shine through. The E4 isn’t that bad. Then the gap between cars and myself gets smaller. Now I don’t like the E4, but no bother. Every time a lorry drives towards me I step over the barrier and wait.
‘Just as well I decided 35km is fine!’
Then the gap becomes even smaller and I’m crossing a bridge where there is no gap for me to stand in! A crash barrier in the middle of the bridge doesn’t give the cars any real space to move across to and I’m faced with lorry after lorry passing by me. Around 6-8″ separate me and the sides of them. I don’t like it and on the third lorry encounter disaster strikes. I grab for my head in desperation but too slow…
I cling to the railing and wait for the lories to pass and look behind me. Nothing.
I look over the rail and there, in the fjord, bobbing around with each small wave, is my Punk Rock Run Club cap. The cap that made it all the way from Nordkapp, through bog, mountains, snow, frozen lakes and boat crossings sits way out of my reach. A moments mourning then a sprint to get the hell of the bridge. It’s over and a steady pace for the rest of the way. A break for cake. A later break for dancing, brie and flat bread.
A car pulls up ahead and someone gets out. ‘Hold on! I know that dude?!’ And as I get closer I realise who it is.
‘Dude! No way?! How random is this?’
It’s Ritsem Matt! He’s on his way back from Ritsem having finished the work at the STF fjallstation there. He offers me coffee and we share a cup and some cinnamon pastries. He lives near my route and plan is to meet up with him. He offers to send me his address to, so the wheels of doom can be posted there making my progress to Denmark even easier.
Arse! Forgot a photo!
I’ll get one next time I see him. I run, the caffeine giving me an added boost to the chance encounter on the road side. There’s just one thing. Matt tell me that I shouldn’t actually be on this road. I was fine before but now I’m paranoid about the police. Just as the thought passes through my head, a police car drive by. The look on their faces says it all and I keep running, increase my pace and look for the fastest way of the road. I find it about 100m ahead. A gate that leads to a small road running through a small village called Nordvik. I follow it, the views far better and a distinct lack of traffic, but then back on to the E4 and face to face with another bridge. No chance I’m even going to bother so I wander the long way round but then realise…
I have no choice but to go on the E4 and cross a bridge that’s around 1km long. I prepare the lie in my head and plan the alternative.
Plan A – get across as fast as possible and if stopped return the way you came.
Plan B – wait till late in the night, when the road is empty. Get across as fast as possible.
I’m actually a bit worried. I don’t want close encounters with large fast vehicles when I’ve got no escape other than a jump off the bridge! I also don’t want to have to hitchhike. The route I should have taken is around 100km north of me. I approach the bridge slowly, fully aware I shouldn’t be on the E4. The lie is practiced. A straightforward mix of truth and the lie. I see signs for road works. I carry on, plans in place mentally, no sign of police. Then it happens…
I see that half the bridge is closed to traffic! Absolute RESULT! The mood was light before but now it’s threatening to turn into some kind of euphoria!! I run across the bridge, admiring the incrible views of the fjord that runs below and to either side of me, and on the whole find the whole chances of this situation amusing and fortunate.
The bridge ends and I want to get off the E4. Not so much because I know I shouldn’t be on there but because I’d like to find a place to camp and get away from the cars. There is a road that runs almost parallel to the E4 so I head for it. Another police car drives by, both police officers giving me a sideways, and decidedly shifty look. I smile, walk alongside the road, looking for a opening in the woods to my right. Eventually I find one and in I go. The ground isn’t ideal but is it ever ideal?
Tent is pitched, food is being eaten and I’m ready for the last 10km to Alandsbro tomorrow. There’s time to get there but I have what I need and there’s no urgency. 35km a day is the target. Why get all gung-ho?