Dry tent in the morning didn’t last long and it was another cold night. Why so? Condensation. From 2am onwards I was just warming be moisture on my sleeping bag. I ate a breakfast consisting of 5 digestive biscuits. Didn’t matter really. I was 12km from Ålandsbro and a shop. Everything packed and I started to wander out of the woods. The landscape outside was colder. Frozen. Frost covered everything including the road. The trees and vegetation may have punctured a hole through the ground sheet of my tent, but they keep me warmer than if I had chosen the patch of grass next to the road. A steady walk and run into town with a section that was yet again the E4, but his early, it was fairly free of traffic. Things seem to start late here in Sweden and end late. Not complaining since it made the last few kms easy going.
I enter the shop, auto pilot kicks in and I leave with enough food for two days again! No bother. I’ll just eat it today as a way of fuelling recovery. My legs feel good. The smile still persists and drowns out any pains or moans of tiredness. The route is more to my liking too. A dirt track leading through the woods, passed occasional farm based villages and lakes. A school bus goes passed me and stops just ahead, and I run passed. A small boy in the window stares and smiles. I wander what he makes of this old man, ripped socks, sandals and a big pack on his back running?
The bus vanishes into the distance but then drives passed empty. A wave and a smile from the driver provides a small boost. It’s not often that drivers will even acknowledge you on the road. I find running water and collect some after drinking what I have left. More hills, up then down, bends and straights. I’m further than I though at this point and slow the pace. I don’t want to arrive at Bergeforsen today. Too build up. I’d not find anywhere free to sleep.
I decide on a spot around 7km away and carry on. Some geese fly over head, bank to the right and cross my path, landing on the grassy field on the side of the road. There’s loads of them. All waddling along, eating the grass. This land is now farmland. Genuine farmland with a mix of cattle and wheat. The smells remind me of being a kid on a farm and at the same time wanderin around Buxton. Strange how smells have this power to transport us to different places and times. I reach the turning where I hope to find a trail and some space to pitch my tent. The contours on the map promise a night of perpetually rolling down hill, but I’d like to eat food and be ready for sleep before the sun goes out. There are stil patches of frost on the ground and some streams are still engulfed in ice. Let hope the lunch break in the sun, sleeping bag draped over a low tree, dried the down and outer enough for it to do its job well. The sky is clear and with it the promise of another cold, frosty night, so it’s only the right thing to be hidden amongst tall pines and the red squirrels.
On a different note, I realised today that the schedule I’ve been working to is based on 40km a day. Today I decided to get as close to it as I could. No competitiveness. Just a simple fact that I had the time to do so without fighting against myself, fully expecting to stop should the opportunity for a warm evening in a cabin or shack present itself.