So I am here, in the far north, in the city Kiruna:
67° 51′ 0″ N / 20° 13′ 0″ E
This means we are above the polar circle, in an eternally frozen country, where the summer is full of light, and the winter is darkness.
I came here to participate in an adventure run called Fjallevan Classic. Its a trek along Kungsledan, a famous long distance trek that was used for centuries by the kings tax collectors, when they came to gather goods from the Lap people for the king far away in Stockholm. Its 110 kilometers with backpack and tent, and its on time.
I came here, because I dreamt of this run since the first time I heard about it. My kids told me:
– Mamma, go for gold!
This means, that I have to walk the trek in less than 72 hours.
When I am getting ready in the start area, I wonder what I am doing here. I like my mountains with silence, contemplation. But what is this, a crowd of people, 200 trekkers preparing to walk, and that is only the second start group. During the next 3 days, 2000 trekkers will pass trough the start area, and fill up the beautiful trail like a colorful slowly moving snake.
But this feeling of regret only lasted the first couple of hours. Soon the trek was really fantastic.
I liked the challenge – see how fast you can walk a specific distance, carrying everything you need to survive with you into the mountains – food, gas, tent …
The high North is insanely beautiful, the sky is so clear, absolutely no civilization, and these fantastic shapes of mountains and valleys, lakes blinking like jewels.
It was a hard trek for me – at moments I felt like crying – my feet hurt from blisters, and I had too put on so many compeeds, that there was no room for the foot left in my shoes. And I really, really hated my shoes the last 30 kilometers, and decided it was time to let them go on retirement after 10+ years of service (at the time of this writing I am the happy owner of a new pair of Meindl boots).
When the walking was too hard, the road too long and lonely, I discovered that it always helps to remember to breathe, and walk with the breath. One step at a time, and you eventually get everywhere.
Repeating like a mantra:
– This is your dream, you wanted to do this, and you can do this. Right now, you are living your dream.
I was alone, I wanted to do this challenge alone, so I had to talk to myself in my head, too keep walking when every stone at the side of the road looked so comfy to rest on.
It taught me something about, that I am the only one person responsible for realizing my dreams, sometimes it can be hard, but with enough motivation I can do it. But I am also the only person responsible for not realizing my dreams, if I stop motivating myself, nobody will reach my goals for me.
When I arrived at the goal, the official time was 53 hours. As I approached the target, I was surprised to see people clapping at me. Such a warm, happy feeling overwhelmed me, tears fled on my face, I must have walked the last few steps on air. They gave me a drink, and a golden medal, and I knew I have made it!
The night comes, a folk music band comes and start playing lively A big festive party, everybody clad in hiking gear, pocketed trousers, fleece shirts, people hang around the tents and the goal area, clapping everybody in. The music is faster and faster, soon people are dancing, whirling, jumping. I am dancing on the table, I am dancing with a boy, and another, and another, it start raining trough the whole in the roof, but we dont mind, we keep dancing too the wild, crazy folk music.
– Why are you so happy? – I asked Krister, my new friend.
– I am on a drug. The Fjallrevan Classic drug – he replied.
Who would believe that this lapp-kota was full of tired wanderers, that had the weariness from 110 km trekking trough rough terrain in their legs?
What a different mountain experience.