Today is the last of January and day #17 of my current journey “Nordkalotten 2015”. Time for a litte retrospect. Thoughts. Opinions. The good and the bad parts.
1. The activities
I loved all days where I was outdoors, especially in the mountains. The walking tour in Stokmarknes, the snow shoe tour in Tromsø, the ski tour in Abisko today, all were great fun! I could do that again and again.
The whale watching tour in Andenes was a great experience, but that’s a thing I don’t need to have every week.
It was great to spend time with my friends J and R in Haukenes. Thank you so much for your hospitality and for the great ecological food. Caution: I’ll come again!
I love Tromsø, but the weather was dull and I wasn’t in the mood to visit a city. I seem to prefer the outdoors more and more.
It was great to see so many Northern Lights. I think I saw them 8 times already, but I didn’t take photos every single time, only in Stokmarknes and Abisko up to now.
I enjoyed many other things: Meeting people, short walks, long talks, good food, much sleep and other things that may not be newsworthy but are part of a long holiday.
Conclusion: All fine but I’ll try to travel less by car and be more outdoors in the nature.
2. The car driving
The landscape is so beautiful and that’s the fun part of the car driving. But always when you have the most beautiful view you can bet you’re not allowed to stop to take a photo. Furthermore I think it’s a bit boring to drive alone.
To be honest: Driving car in Norway in wintertime is not favourite thing and I underestimated the difficulties. I really wish I’d have a car with four-wheel drive!
The car ride cross the Norwegian mountains in rain storm on wet, icy roads was awful! I never want to experience such again.
The car ride in convoy cross the Bjørnfjell to the Norwegian-Swedish border was really exciting. But driving in storm was exhausting and I was glad to arrive in the cozy room in Abisko after the long trip from Tromsø.
I love my new roof box, many things are out of the way and even the loaded car with the roof box on top doesn’t consume more fuel than the empty car home. A real surprise to me!
Conclusion: Definitely less driving in Norway when weather is bad! Or is there anyone out there that will give me a big jeep for free?
Kilometres so far: 1968.9
3. The accommodations
Should I feel guilty or have a bad conscience? I planned to tent quite often. But how many nights did I sleep in a tent by now? 0 – zero – nil! I should mention that I had good reasons: My tent needs tent pegs to stand erect. I even have special snow pegs that are great – if you have snow! Most Norwegian ground was snowless but deeply frozen, I would have needed a pneumatic hammer to ram in the pegs, and since we had a quite a lot of wind it was just impossible to erect the tent safely.
Now I’m back in Sweden, we have enough snow and I start thinking about the tent-thingie again. But on the other side: It’s so comfortable to sit in a chair, to take a hot shower, to use the laptop with wireless internet, to cook standing.
But I have to start to cut costs as well. I only have some friends on the way, most often I have to pay for a room. And that adds up within 82 days of travelling. I’ll guess you’ll read some tent stories in the near future …
Conclusion: Starting to tent but enjoying houses and huts, too.
4. The weather
First of all: I love winter! I adore winter!
I love snow. Huge amounts of snow. All less than a meter is a nothing!
I love crisp cold air, the colder the better (at least for some days). All above -35 °C is not really cold, is it?
I love bright clear blue sky in daytime and a starry night with or without Northern Lights.
I even love snow storms, especially if I’m inside in the warmth … . Being out I’m not too fond of strong winds and consider stormy weather as exhausting.
Let’s see: There was nothing for record hunting yet. The all-journey minimum was -23 °C, that’s nothing, I was looking for -40 °C below (That’s why I have a huge down parka, down pants and an extremely warm sleeping bag with me).
And the snow? 70 cm in Abisko? I’ve had more snow in Skelleftehamn every single winter the last years. And even now there’s much more snow in for example Älvsbyn (130 cm now, more to come) which is less then two hours away from my home. It feels a bit strange to make a long, long journey and have more snow near home.
On the other side there where many days with clear sky day and night, especially on the Vesterålen. Let’s see what the next weeks will bring …
Conclusion: Wait for two metres of snow, wait for -43 °C. Curse if it doesn’t happen and repeat the journey next winter …
5. The equipment
All equipment works great. I just have to attach a new lace to the zippers of my photo-backpack, that’s all. But neither was it cold enough to use the expedition-style down clothes, nor did I use tent or petrol stove. But pot, bowl and spoon came in handy in the hut in Tromsø that had an electric cooker but no dishes and cutlery at all.
Camera works like a charm and so does the laptop. The iPhone hates the cold and even when battery is on 80% it will switch off itself when its below zero. That happened just today.
Conclusion: Make an equipment retrospect after the journey to be able to travel more lightweight next time. Ignore the learnings completely and stuff the car again.
6. Your thoughts?
As always, feel free to comment. I’m looking forward to your thoughts, your questions and your options.