And then suddenly, it happened. Not the big breakthrough that happens when you excel because your body is stronger than ever before and the pain is completely gone, but the giant, no gargantuan breakthrough when you do something in spite of the hellish pain and that damn weak body.
The past weekend, I reclaimed the mountains.
I tend to use superlatives, and I really hate when people overuse superlatives, but I can’t help doing it for this weekend, because it was truly epic (i.e., the new superlative to trump all superlatives (edit: Martin says that epic isn’t a superlative but a positive but I don’t care)). Not the snow, it was bullet proof from top to bottom in the alpine terrain. But because we did it, both I and Martin, who I think did an even greater breakthrough than I did climbing up those mountains.
I had absolutely no expectations what so ever for the weekend. I remembered all to well how my leg felt after just a few runs down the slope in Bygdsiljum, and I honestly did not think that Martin would be able to endure even the car ride to Borgafjäll. And then Maria fell ill and couldn’t come along, so I wasn’t even sure the trip was still on. But when I came home from work, Martin was set on going and our third friend, Jenny, did not get completely scared off by the prospect of spending a weekend with two cripples, so off we went. Yay! To the mountains! PREMIER!
Saturday morning greeted us with the bluest of blue skies, -6 C and almost no wind at all. Absolutely perfect conditions. I had secretly (or not so secretly) planned the day to suit my wretched body and mind. To start off, we would skin up a super safe trail through Klöverskalet to Klöverstugan.
My idea was that the flat and relatively long approach would give my head time to adjust to and embrace those snowy mountains. From Klöverstugan, we would have several short runs to choose from. If I felt that I couldn’t handle my fear, or if we considered the snow pack to be too unstable, or if my or Martin’s body would give up, we (or I if the others wanted to continue) could always just sit by the cabin and enjoy the view.
I honestly wasn’t sure that Martin would make it as far as to Klöverstugan. Post mycarditis is a pain in the ass to use gentle words, and even if the track up to the cabin is a walk in the park, it is still a 1.5 hour uphill walk in the park. But all of a sudden, there we were, surrounded by mountains dressed up in white, a light breeze and that wonderful March sun burning our noses.
To be honest, I also thought that I would feel quite a substantial amount of unease being back in the backcountry. I didn’t. I felt attentive to my surroundings for sure, but I didn’t feel terror. I guess I was overwhelmed by the joy of being there.
After a very nice coffee and sandwich (and chocolate) break by the cabin, we decided to ascend Klöverfjället. I think that we were all initially set on skiing Jiengen, but it looked too scoured by the wind and we also knew that the gully was likely to be wind loaded, so we opted for skiing down Turiståket instead. That would give us another bullet proof ascent, and an easier way out too.
We did not get first tracks, hell we nearly didn’t make any tracks in the snow ourselves, but we weren’t there for blower from top to bottom, we were just there to reclaim.
After three turns down the mountain, my ankle made it very clear that it wanted to kill me and my thighs felt like jelly. Consequently, I skied as if I had a rake shoved up my ass. But although my heart started pounding out of control when fear hit me half way down the mountain, and although I had to struggle not to bark at myself for my lack of skiing skills, I still reclaimed that mountain. Yes I did it!
We ended the day as we should, with beer in the sun, a heavy pasta dinner with wine and by going to bed at 8.30 pm.
I did not expect that my ankle would allow me to ski another day, or that Martin’s body would allow him to do anything but lie on the sofa. But Sunday greeted us with that sweet whiteness of snow falling from the sky and before we knew it, we were on our way to Borgahällan.
We only managed to ski one short run down the trees in the low angle terrain to the south of the mountain before our bodies told us that it had been fun but enough was enough, but that day Borga proved worthy of the saying “det är alltid puder i Borga”. I would like to add “there are always big smiles in Borga”. At least for me. In the trees, my body didn’t feel that wretched any more. Weak for sure, but not completely useless. I had a huge grin on my face the whole short way down the mountain.
I’m pretty damn sure Martin and Jenny had some grins on their faces too.
A huge thanks to Jenny, who endured short runs and a slow pace and who filled our weekend with laughter. And Martin, YAY!!! (!!!) I’m so completely out of words for how happy I am to be back in the mountains again, together!