Oct 20th To 22nd – Recollection 

Sitting and deciding.  That seems to be the order of the day today.  With a few days of rain and colder weather ahead it seems important to make the right decision.  But what’s actually happened over the last three days?  Truth is, I’m not sure.  Days blend.  It’s just an ever flowing cycle of eat, sleep and run.  Now let me think…

Oh yeah.  Warmth.  A comfortable clinging warmth…

I had the best nights sleep ever.  Warm followed me into the night, surrounding and letting me sleep.  4am and I’m wide awake.  The moon is out and I pack using her light.  The ground is damp, a sparkling sheen of moisture covers the inside of my tent, broken in parts by the random meanderings of my two or three tent mates.  I pick the slugs off the tent inner and place them outside.  Since I’m awake it seems right to start the day with coffee and cake.  Consumed, the bag is packed.  The stops today are Rättvik and then Leksand.  No rush.

I start to run once the sun begins to make herself known.  Rättvik appears, the shop just opened, and some food is purchased. Next is Leksand.  I wander through the town looking for a place to have coffee and charge my phone.  All are shut so the phone is turned off and I head out, watching an old man trying to collect a bottle or can from the displayed Viking long boat next to the road.  For each bottle and can he collects he can claim money for food.  He stands looking at the boat’s inner and then give up, walking towards the nearest bin.  I try the local Coop to see if they have a coffee machine and a place to sit and charge.  They don’t and so it’s the road for me.  Not long and a hotel appears on the right.  I run for the restaurant, grab a coffee and then spend 2hrs siping and charging my phone.  I go for another, ready to pay…

‘Is it a refill?’

‘Yes’

‘Ok.  10 krona for the chips’

No way!!  I could have been drinking warm coffee all that time.  Probably just as well though, since the caffeine is making itself known as my arms and legs feel the jitters.  The run starts well, Leksand approaches and passes with a quick food shop.  I find out that the adventur wagon (from now on named Wagony  McWagon Face) has been delayed and so I can slow my progress.  Not so much I can but I should.  Arriving somewhere early only to have to wait is costly.  ‘I will stop short of Mockfjärd today’ is the decision.

As I pass Leksand my legs decide it is time to rebel.  Ache sets in.  Tiredness.  Heavy steps and an effort of will to move.  I find atrial and head to the water’s edge. A river, fast flowing with clear waters.  I shouldn’t drink this but I will.  I have no other water to drink.  A quick glance and I locate the perfect sleeping spot.  A flat area amongst the spruce, the ground covered in a healthy layer of needles that make it softer than my mattress.  I eat.  I sleep, the gentle whisper of the trees in the wind and the sound of the river gently beating the shore line the only noise to be heard.  

I wake and legs ache.  It has been a few days since I’ve woken with stiff and aching legs.  It’s been decided that today is a slow day and so it is.  A slow march to Mockfjärd.  Slow and steady.  Hopefully a place to stay when I get there to recharge.  The route along the road and then the cycle track was a quiet or.  No cars but a collection of old and disused cabins.  More tail than roads and I delight in it.  Mockfjärd looms on the horizon and I join the kids on their way home from skola.  They either smile and wave or they look baffled and I don’t blame them.  A bloke, wearing ripped socks, sandals, a woolly hat, beard and running with a big pack on his back.  I’d be curious to know what he was up to or where he might be heading. 

The shop at Mockfjärd is small.  Good enough for me and I buy little.  There is pizza across the road and I want something cooked.  Warm food.  It’s been ten days at least since the kindness of lisette.  Continually fearing on cheap salami and lingonberry bread is at best a little boring.  Food should not be different shades of brown!  I shop and step to the pizza place.  Order food.  They question my order, looking like it was more food than any man could possibly eat.  I repeat my order, sit and wait.  It arrives…

A big plate of nachos and a late pizza.  Ok.  I admit I only really managed the nachos but I had time to charge my phone.  My portable battery however is dead.  It refuses to charge and so I send an email to Anker asking for some sort of resolution to my probelm.  There is no real solution other than ‘try a new cable’ and ‘get a replacement’ but the temporary and pointless moan feels good, although somewhat empty.  Meal done, I leave.  Rocking the hobo style with a shopping bag and a buzz a box.  I will walk and find a trail to sleep near.  

Legs scream at me with fatigue.  I start the usual moans.  They are followed by the statement ‘no you’re not.  Your legs still move.  Stop talking nonsense and move more’

More cabins appear.  In fact I’d say more holiday homes as they are far too lavish to be cabins.  I have a look at the first.  What a great place to have a home.  On the shores of a lake, away from the noise of towns and in amongst the trees.  Further ahead another cabin.  This one is boarded up.  Property is important here.  Further north, they seem more open to people.  Doors unlocked, no fences.  Here it is different.  ‘This belongs to me.  Stay out’ is the message at most properties and there is nothing to say it is wrong.  Just seems to highlight a potential change in mentality to me.  The ground next to this cabin is perfect.  Flat, soft enough for pegs, but hard enough for them to stay.  The wind is increasing in strength and I will get cold if I wait any longer.

Tent is up quickly, I’m in and clothes are changed.  The pizza is almost completely devoured.  The sun’s light is almost extinguished and it is time to sleep.  The wind shakes my tent and the waves from the lake lap against the shore making amusing noises.  I hear the fall of an eagle owl and smile.  It’s hard to live outdoors at times but it has rewards.

I wake.  Left over pizza is breakfast.  Sleep interrupted by lady winter and her cold fingers.  My own fault for not getting in my sleeping bag soon enough.  It insulates.  It doesn’t provide warmth.  I have an even shorter day today.  20+km and I reach Grengarde.  Another shop and having seen the map, a potential hotel.  I will head there.  Get a room and dry kit, recharge batteries and legs.  There is a long road ahead and there is no need to destroy myself.  All is kept in readiness for the last two weeks.  Then there will be nothing to lose and all to gain.  As I run it begins to snow.  Small flakes fall, mixed with the golden yellow leaves of the birch around me.  ‘Hello Lady Winter’ I say out loud with a smile.  Hold out my hands and watch the flakes land and slowly melt into my old, ripped gloves.  There’s no point in denying that I like the winter.  That I enjoy the feeling of the worth that follows a cold morning’s start and run.  I feel it quickly as I stop and I run again.  Yet another walk day spooky by the joy that the landscape around me brings.

I run towards Grengarde, reachin Nyhammer quickly.  There is something to be said for walking with rhythm.  Sadly, I seem to forget what it is every time and run instead.  There is walking amongst the running but I am yet to complete a day where there is no running at all.  I reach Grengarde and in to the shop I go.  I purchase little.  I am focused on the hotel.  With drink and snack I run to the hotel.  Entrance found, I go in…

The smell is wrong.  I appreciate this sounds odd.  Spend enough time outside and you become more aware of smell and sound.  They become useful suddenly.  More useful than living the ‘normal’ life. The place seems deserte.  Two young boys.  One staring at his phone, watching something in Arabic, the other just staring at his phone.  I wander to what looks like reception.  A wall of glass covered in printed notice after printed notice.  Some arabic, others a mix of Swedish and English.  I read them…

‘The fire alarm is for emergency use only.  If you set it off when not needed, the INTERNET will be TURNED OFF for TWO DAYS’

‘Please let us know when you leave here so we can tell migration services where you have gone to.’

This hotel is being used as a refuge.  What an odd thing!  At the same time what a great idea for a hotel that is likely to have no customers at this time of year!  Back to ICA to buy food, a return to the hotel and a purposeful entrance.  I spotted the plug socket the first time I came in so I sit at the chair next to it.  Phone is plugged in and charges.  I sit and write in my journal.  It is the only reason I can recall this tale in order.  A store of information, learning but more importantly a way to help make sense of things.  Without it I would not know that I am existing by simply surfing the ripples of decision I make.  Now back to the recollection…

I sit for 2 hour shift, unoticed.  Something I’ve practiced for a while.  The art of hiding in plane sight.  Suddenly the door I sit near opens, swings towards my face and stops before any contact is made.  It is a signal.  I heard by my ears, but loud enough for people from buildings outside to hear and pour into the dinning room.  The most I get is a hello and I am tempted to go in and chance my luck at some food.  If this is a refuge then what I’m tempted to do is wrong on a deep level so I remain seated. 99% charged, the number of people drops as the dinner hall closes.  I grab my pack and leave, following the road towards my next spot.  Again a trail off the road provides the chance of a camp spot and my legs are starting to complain.  Less than ideal, but it is sheltered from the wind.  The sound of it deafening.  I am in my tent, eat a piece of chocolate and drift off to sleep.  I know I will wake cold.  I feel the dampness in my clothing and my sleeping bag.  Tomorrow I will find shelter and dry everything again.  It will rain soon and likely to rain for a few days.  Best to get as much sleep as possible and do what is needed tomorrow.  There are short days ahead and I’m a day ahead of y schedule still.

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