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  • After waking from the first night of wild camping, (amongst snow outside a closed winter lodge in Masi) we woke roughly (first at 4am, then at 9am - the light was equally bright). Then started a cloudy, windy, bone chilling ride to Kautokeino, that included a stop in a Sami shop that included such luxuries as an indoor toilet, tap water and Reindeer Jerky.

    Along the road, we saw (or almost ran into) more reindeer and an Arctic fox.

    Oh, and I got chased by a dog for a out 200 yards (when my legs found new energy).

    As big spenders in our second 'big' city, we treated ourselves to a civilised meal (a burger in a children's restaurant, but it counts to us) and now we are bedding down in a camping lodge.

    Tomorrow - Finland
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  • Is it really day 4 already? I have no idea how time can fly so fast when you're "doing nothing". Planning, cooking, navigation, packing and - you guessed it - hiking takes up all the time of each day. There has not been a boring moment so far.
    Today, I crossed a small mountain range Goppollfjellet. On the northern hills, there were still a few tiny patches of snow. Still no rain. But I did get a lot of strong & cold wind today while on the Fjellet. So I bundled up and made it over without any problems.
    The rest of the day were a few more very well maintained "plank walks" through swamps and a few lovely forest trails.
    I was so exhausted by 6pm that I put up camp early, since I'm in no rush... that also gave me time to do some laundry (=wash clothes in clear icy water).
    I'm now having dinner at my campsite and will probably fall asleep over my kindle soon ;)
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  • It's absolutely impossible that it's been 42 days since I took off in Lillehammer, my backpack filled with food and my mind filled with ideas - having no clue what I would experience the next 6 weeks in the wilderness. It feels like only yesterday that I headed out.

    I've since learned a lot about life in the mountains, long term hiking and mostly myself :) And this is not my last time in the mountains, I know that much.

    We had a long, amazing hike today, really enjoyed the diverse trail and excellent weather. For a moment, we just sat silently by a cliff and took in the moment and the beauty of Norway. I felt completely filled with thankfulness for my last 6 weeks, what a blast!

    After one of the most beautiful hikes I've had in Norway, we hitch hiked with a hilarious couple from Iceland, grabbed a pizza to go in Odda and got on the last bus to Voss, back to Elena's car. Tomorrow we'll be heading back slowly towards Kiel. Can't wait to see my loved ones soon!
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  • Hopefully these guys don't catch on fire. If they do they can always count on Victoria worker suits, which do not catch on fire. If you were to catch these guys on fire, you would not be able to do that because these suits do not catch on fire.

  • Today I crossed Norway's highest glacier and second highest mountain peak at 2465m. I had heard the view from up there is amazing, but I actually cannot attest to it...

    When I left for the ascent in the morning, the forecast was fine and the weather looked ok with some clouds on the very top. My friends the reindeer accompanied me once more, see picture 1 on the snow :)
    But the higher I got, the thicker the clouds formed, allowing for no more than 20 meters visibility for some of it. It was easy to lose the trail markings, so I had to use map, compass and gps to find my way. I walked through fog, light snow and eventually a minor snow storm, but thanks to the right equipment did not get cold. The secret: layers! The base layer is a thin longsleeve that dries quickly, then the isolation layer (eg fleece, which I skipped because it would have been too warm), then isolation and windstopper (I have a light weight down jacket) and then a wind and rain resistant layer to keep the warmth in and the cold and at out (=rain jacket).

    The hike was pretty exhausting, almost 9 hours in total, mostly scrabbling over rocks and very steep throughout. I'm camping close to a mountain inn, so I got to take a hot shower and sit in the warm by the fire for a bit!! I don't doubt I'll sleep like a rock tonight :)
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  • I spent yet another day in awe of amazing Norway and most of all amazing Norwegians.
    It was supposed to be my rest day, so no hiking, except the 75 minutes to the bus stop in the morning. Here are some of the acts of kindness I experienced: got a ride from a local not just to the bus stop but to my destination to pick up my next resupply at the post office, a local got me a hotel room where he knows the owner with 8am check-in and a prompt free breakfast upon arrival, got a ride from the post office to the hotel which was in another town.

    I'm in Ardalstangen, at a small part of Sognefjord, with beautiful views and a supermarket that had fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream waiting just for me ;-)

    In the afternoon, I took a beautiful 3 hour kayak tour with Torunn (picture 3). I know it's not exactly resting, but after all my legs needed the rest, not my arms, right!? It was an amazing time on the water, so good that even though the water is only 7°C, I swam the last 100 meters back (in a drysuit).

    Lesson of the day: life is beautiful.
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  • Since we last wrote, we traveled from Sweden to Norway by train and have since been taking trains, buses, and ferries throughout this amazing country. We are so lucky to be joined by Nick's mom Cindy and stepdad Scott for this portion of the trip; they have really set up a fantastic tour for us all. So far we have been to Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, and now Balestrand. Today we leave for Flam where we will spend a day before heading back to Oslo and then Stockholm. It's been a whirlwind trip in southern Norway, and there have already been many highlights including a ferry tour out of Stavanger with the opportunity to hike up to Pulpit Rock and exploring the beautiful Sognefjord by ferry.

    We can't talk about summer near the Arctic Circle without also talking about the famous midnight sun phenomenon. We can attest that there is very little nighttime here. There seem to be a few hours between 12:30 and 2 AM during which the sky does become completely dark, but the many hours of twilight before and after are extremely interesting, especially after being near the equator for so long where the sun sets pretty regularly around 7 PM. We had already noticed this in the Netherlands where dawn and dusk seemed to last for hours, but night there was more significant. Last night, between the cloud cover, reflected human lights (not extensive - these are small towns), and twilight from the sun and moon (which are out simultaneously for several hours), it was easily still light enough out at midnight to walk around without a flashlight. The drawback is no Northern Lights to check out. However, it is a really unique thing to see. As Nick described it, that moment of dusk where at home we would say "Okay, it'll be totally dark in 10 minutes; time to leave this park/head home/etc." lasts for hours and hours here. It's exciting to have so much extra natural light, but it actually has been disruptive to our ability to sleep on a regular schedule. We have learned just how much the daily cycle of the sun at home helps to regulate us. When we wake up and see light coming in through the window, we're conditioned to think it might be time to start waking up; here, it's only 2 or 3 AM. What a wild place.

    We cannot thank Cindy and Scott enough for meeting us here and taking us on this lovely tour. It has been awesome, and we expect the next few days to continue in the same manner! Shout out to Scott for taking some of the pictures for this post.
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  • Our flight to Oslo in the new 787 dreamliner was nice, although we learned that Norwegian does not include food or beverages on the 7 hour international flight unless you pay extra or flag them down for a glass of water. Another standard airline fee to add to the growing list.

    Oslo itself was probably the cleanest city we've been to. It is also one of the most expensive but we had an enjoyable stay.

    Based on recommendations from friends, we walked to the Vigeland Sculpture Park filled with hundreds of nude statues. Certainly interesting, and a beautiful large park. Then we walked around the city and had some mussels and fries and Herring for dinner at a small Norwegian restaurant called Nokken. An Uber drove us home since we were tired from several miles of walking our first day.
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  • What a day! No clouds in the sky, very windy, and a beautiful hike - starting in wet marsh lands, I made my way slowly through the morning, making sure I make the right steps so my boots don't sink in the wet, mossy ground. By late afternoon, I was on top of a rocky fjell with excellent views of the area. Sleeping with a great view tonight :)