To me, easter is associated with being in the mountains, getting my legs full of acid from walking up them, my nose burnt by the sun and my heart full of laughter from all those things. I was supposed to go to north Norway this year for easter. Martin is up in Troms as I print these words in digital inc, while I of course am not.
I can’t say that it feels great staying home. Instead of fjords outside my window, I see dust swirling around the dog turds on the sidewalk, year old grass, naked branches and a cloudy sky. Its just not the best easter ever. But its ok, more easters will come. To prepare myself for those, I’ve dedicated this easter to rehab, egg shaped cats and nostalgia.
Ah the fjords and mountains of north Norway… Probably the most beautiful place in the world. No. Not probably. I am totally willing to bet my ass on that it IS the most beautiful place on this earth. Two easters ago, I did my premier visit to Lyngen. Ever since, I have been trying to get a chance to go back. Next year Gadget, next year.
THREE DAYS IN THE LYNGEN ALPS
Four days after we successfully attacked the Klöver, David and I packed the car and headed north.
I love driving north. It just feels… right. And this time, I was going farther north than I had ever been before.. with someone I really didn’t know at all.
Sitting in a car for 12 hours straight means that you get a very sore butt (at least if you have a boney one like mine) and that you are pretty exposed to the social skills of the person next to you. I think I kind of saw our trip as a social experiment. It could be totally amazing or a complete disaster. I was very interested to see what would happen.
The result of my experiment was very boring from a scientific perspective. We behaved as if we had been friends forever. I think the only difference was that we had more to talk about. I don’t think we experienced a single awkward silence. Not one dormant conflict. Just really good times. Double bingo as Martin would have put it.
Anyway, after driving straight up through Sweden and traversing over north Finland, we reached Lyngen and the cabin at Svensby at about 7 pm. It was snowing heavily so we couldn’t only vaguely see the mountains. But the little I saw made me drop my jaw.
The next day was the Good Friday (can anyone PLEASE explain why it’s called that? In Sweden, its called the Long Friday because Jeebus had to walk down Golgata and was crucified died and so on. When I was with my grandparents as a kid, everything was gloomy on the Long Friday, and we had to eat fish which I hated back then, so the day actually felt really long. But the Good Friday? I’m not religious (at all) but what is good about it?). In any case, this year, it made up for its name. It was really, really good.
We started out by climbing Rörnestinden (1041 masl). Since the avi danger was high, and since we still hadn’t toured much together, we had decided to do mellow runs. Rörnestinden offered just the terrain we were looking for.
Nice safe ascent and sufficient inclination to offer a fun ride down. We had been a bit worried about visibility and finding our way, since there are no trees and since we didn’t really know the place. In Sweden, you are always alone when touring the backcountry, so if you go places you haven’t been before, you better do your homework.
In Norway, you are never alone. The skin track was a highway. I think there were at least 12 people on the top when we reached it. One of them a grandpa around 70 enjoying the weather with his grandson..
But in spite of all the people on the mountain that day, there was plenty of untracked snow for us to shred. My premier run in Lyngen was a true wohoo-moment.
I celebrated by standing on my head.
We ended the day as you should. By drinking beer on the porch, and by having lamb steak for dinner.
Easter Saturday greeted us with storm clouds to the west and blue skies to the east. For some very unclear reason, we took the car west and made an attempt to climb Storgalten (1219 masl).
We soon found ourselves in an almost complete whiteout. Lucky for us, we met two German fellows who knew the route and showed us the way. We didn’t make it all the way to the top due to the weather, but we actually got a really decent descent since the clouds had the courtesy to clear just enough to let us see as we headed down.
As we were standing chatting about the stupidity to head out in that kind of weather after we got down, we saw a man coming out of his house with what must have been a 5 year old child. The kid put on touring skis on his feet, while the father put his alpine skis on his backpack. And then they went up the same way we had come down. By that time, the snow was so heavy we could just barely see them on the other side of the road. Norway is Norway. If I had kids, I would want them to grow up like that.
Anywhoo, since our tour up Storgalten was terminated a bit early, and since the sun was beaming as we got further east, we decided to go up part of the way to Sofiatinden. We didn’t go up more than 300 vertical, but we managed to find a small and mellow canyon that offered some seriously fun terrain anyway.
We spent our last day on the main land climbing and skiing down Stormheimsfjellet (1181 masl). According to our tour book, it was supposed to be almost completely safe from avalanches. I can see why. Not because of the snow, it was fantastic, but the inclination was really to low for almost anything to slide (or for me to turn more than about 3 times on the way down).
So perhaps it wasn’t the best skiing ever but the view during the ascent, and from the top, was A M A Z I N G. I have never, ever, seen anything like it. I think we sat up there for about an hour, just gazing.
Once down from the mountain, it was time to head back those 1000 km home… On our way through the very north of Sweden, we drove by the small village Vittangi. As we passed the village center, I saw a fox sitting on the drive way outside one of the houses, watching the people inside. Just as if she was watching TV. The trip could not have ended any better for me.
David made a film that really summarizes the fabulousness of the trip. Whenever I feel gloomy, I watch this and then everything feels a whole lot better again. Its definitely one of my favorite things (if the embedded file below has gone missing, which it appears to do from time to time, you can also find it here: http://vimeo.com/40111780 ).
Gah! I HAVE to go back there!!! There are SO many mountains that I need to climb and ski, and bike, and climb! Can we fast forward to next spring? No? Dang.
So back to reality. Still on my bed, looking out at that gray sky.
Cheer up old chap, its not that bad. Not really. I’ve gotten rid of my cast and that means that I can work out much better at the gym. I still work with light as fly shit weights to allow my joints to grow and get more agile, but I can feel my muscles work and sometimes they even get a tiny bit sore. And WEY, I am making some progress! Now I know this has very little to do with leg strength, but two weeks ago, there was no chance I could lift my body weight with my arms. Now I can!
Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that my legs now weigh a couple of kilos less than before, so I tried adding 1.5 kg on each leg. Not as stylish, but still working. A non-existing step for just about everyone else, but a giant leap for my self-confidence. Ha!
And hey! There is the sun! I think I’ll just close my eyes and pine for the fjords.