Sleep was broken. Cars. Lots of cars. A dog barking. Many dogs barking throughout the night. All served to keep my slumber in tatters. I got myself out and packed by 7. Still dark but just enough light to see and follow the track. Into the village and straight out on to the main road. Not far to Furudal and food.
After over an hour I check the map to see how much further. I left in good time so I would get to the shop for opening. Annoyance begins to gnaw at me. I’ve covered 4km in over an hour. The slowness of yesterday persists and something…
Something is grabbing at the part of me that I’ve freed and tries to pull it back. The general sense of good mood is on the verge of being defeated. I try to pick up the pace but the mind isn’t the calm it has been. There are ripples of discontent, like the shattering of a mirror still lake by the gentlest of breezes. Then a statue of an old man catches my eye and I’m intrigued by the Swedish tendency towards small dioramas and statues as part of their garden displays. Less than a kilometre and an even bigger one. The statue at the entrance to a holiday park. A scattering of cabins, different sizes and designs and all behind the figure of a man sat with arms outstretched and the expression akin to thunder on his face. This amuses me. ‘Why isn’t he smiling? Surely it’d be more welcoming than that grim face!’
I stand next to its leg and get a picture of myself with it, then decide to wander in and see if the reception is open. There may be chance of electricity. I get closer and electricity is a given but anything else is not. The reception is closed. An old man cycle passed, then returns, then cycles passed. I plug in my portable battery, start to get out my cooking equipment to make a coffee…
A van pulls up. Out comes a elderly gentleman. Thick trousers and thick coat, woolly hat, glasses perched on a gently weathered face, aiding a set of blue eyes.
He asks something in Swedish and I reply that I don’t speak Swedish.
‘Why did you just do that in English?’ Runs through my head! But he says he speaks some English and asks what I was after.
‘I’m just having a break before I move on’
‘Having a break? I don’t understand’
‘Having a quick rest’
‘Quick rest? Ok. Hold on’
He opens he reception, tells me to go in, calls someone and speaks to them, then explains its his wife who speaks better English. While he was on the phone I translate my sentence into Swedish on my phone. I take the phone to speak to his wife, explaining that I was just going to sit outside for a while and rest before moving on, he read my translation and then shows he understands now with a smile and a knod. I pass the phone back, he says a few words to his wife and the phone is put away.
We go outside and I ask if I can make a coffee there, which he says I can. I offer him some but he says no thanks and wishes me a safe journey after telling me the trail way to Furudal. Only a short trail but better than the road. I sit to make coffee and a lady wanders passed, asks me where I’m from, where did I start and where am I going. I explain and she wishes me a safe journey after asking if I’m sleeping outdoors and telling me that it’s cold. This last bit amuses me. I want to say I know, I’m sleeping outside every night, but there’s no point other than being facetious. Coffee made I drink and write. The old man reappears. He passes me a thick wool jumper and tells me to take it.
‘It is warm.’ He says pointing at it
‘Thanks. How much can I give you for it?’
‘Nothing. Take it. It’s too big for me.’
I hold it up and we share a laugh as its too big for me!
‘I’ll use it to sleep in. It will mean a warm sleep. Tack så mycket!’
He then asks me when I started and when is finish. I tell him I started in August and I’ll be finished by February. He looks at me a little astonished, but wishes me well and goes back to working. This is the fuel for today. I can barely fit the jumper in my pack! I put it on instead. Easier to carry and I’m sat still getting cold.
I make another coffee. Drink it and workout what it is that is gripping at me. I set myself a goal of beating my schedule. Of covering 45km a day so I could get a week ahead. I was racing ghosts and shadows again instead of doing what is needed and what happens. The freedom was being eroded and with it the ability and mentality to cover bigger distances in the shorter times. Acknowledgement followed by action…
I’ll just run again. The distance is irrelevant. I have 20km to the next shop. I have a pack of biscuits and water. I have some rather tasty adventure sausage. I need to eat and run. Nothing else. With this I set off. The 20km pass quickly. The next 10 pass just the same, but I carry a bag of food so running is a little off balance. A moments glance into the woods and a huge owl floats sassy from me.
‘Holy shit!?! And eagle owl!!’
Then I see an elk at the road side, then a woodpecker and finally two red squirrels, perched on a branch, peering at me as I pass them. I am on a dirt track again and no cars travel here. I find a trail that lead to a lake, collect water and settle for the night. It’s time to eat and sleep, but I told Peter if get a picture of myself naked for the 2000th km. I don’t like this idea, but it is time I stopped being so conscious of my body. It is just a body. It does what it is designed to and is getting better as each day passes. I get undressed, sandals off and the feeling of wet pine needles on my feet is refreshing. Picture taken, I set up the tent, dress in the warm jumper and get on my bed.
My silence is back. No noise can be heard other than the whisper of the leaves in the wind. I fall asleep warm. I wander if the warmth is the usual temporary warmth or if it will follow me through my night’s sleep.
The morning arrives as I wake. It isn’t morning if you define it as the rising of the sun but I am awake. The warmth persisted and I slept well for the first time in since leaving Örnsköldsvik. I eat breakfast. Cake and coffee. Pack. ‘No point in leaving to early. The shop won’t be open’
I leave with the intention of arriving just after 8. It is dark and I can just about make out the trail I follow. I find a trail that cuts the corner of the road and follow it. The sign says ‘Springkällan’. No idea what it means as I wander down the pine needle and root trail and as the light improves I run. Then there it is!! BA fountain I the middle of nowhere. A spring made by men drilling for oil in the late 1800s. I read the information about the area to find I am on the edge of a meteor crater. A crater that is so big it is invisible until you look at a map and was made 360 million years ago.
‘I’ve been running on the rim of a meteor crater!’
I run the rest of the trail, end up on a road and then I’m in Rättvik, find the shop and buy enough food to get me 20km to Leksand. I stop along the way to charge my phone at a hotel. I make a coffee last 2 hours only to find out I can get unlimited refills, the leave. I plan on stopping at 40km for the day. There is a trail to be run to Mockfjärd and I’m looking forward to it. The rush to get places is gone and now I have a deliberate slowness to stick to. The adventure wagon isn’t quite posted yet so no point in rushing. I will still be able to get ahead of schedule and I have plenty of time to make better progress between here and Tarifa.