Day 48 – Unexpected
Sulitjelma, or Sulis as the local people call it, is located in a lush valley, surrounded by mountains. A small place which is only getting smaller.
It stopped raining the moment I got out the door. Hah! Not that I had to walk very far, it was only 6km from the cabin down to the post office/ local store.
Here, I collected my two packages. One from my dad and Liv, containing my supply for the next 10 days, and one from my mom, which had travelled from Asker to Kilpisjärvi and then from Kilpisjärvi to Sulitjelma.
What I have truly learned to appreciate on this trip, is to take everything day by day. You can only plan as much, but when it comes down to it, you just got to go with the flow.
When I woke up that morning, I had no idea that a 25 year old musician from Fauske, Anders, would invite me up to his cabin.
We drove up to Kjelvatnet, and a small boat ride later, we were standing outside his charming hut. It was warm and cozy, we talked music and movies while I rearranged my backpack. After a nice dinner, we watched a movie. A MOVIE. Something I've been wanting to do ever since I started this trip.
I’ve heard people who have been walking through Norway before me encounter friendly strangers, and it was the one thing I really hoped would happen to me too. And it did. Thank you Anders!
Day 49 - A good start
Eggs and bacon for breakfast is nothing I will ever again take for granted, it’s an unbelievably amazing way to start the day.
After a fatty breakfast, Anders drove me with his boat towards land to a spot where I could easily find the trail and continue south. The sun finally decided to show up, so the long walk around Balvatnet, was quite enjoyable.
At 8 PM, I was to tired to carry on, so I put up the tent while I watched the sun go down while eating fried sausages and buttered crackers. I didn’t want to push myself too far, seeing as my backpack again contained a new 10 days ration with food and was extremely heavy.
Before I started this journey, my Simon promised me he would come and visit me with the van in the beginning of September. I suddenly realized that the date was slowly approaching, and I got very excited. It gave me strength and motivation.
Day 50 – Aggitated and pissed off!
Not my favorite day. Up and down wet hills, a million river crossings, marshes and mud, and finally stormy wind and rain.
I had entered a valley that probably worked as a funnel, the wind so forceful it knocked me of balance several times. I had heard that the area was very beautiful, that the valley was full of seldom flowers and lush vegetation, surrounded by steep mountains. I was to busy protecting my face from the fierce wind, only occasionally glancing up to see if I was still on the right trail.
I was also busy being pissed off. I didn’t really know where the feeling came from, but the stormy weather did nothing to improve it.
Enduring this all the way to the Argalad cabin, I could take of my wet clothes and eat my lunch. To get a short break from the weather, was such a relief that I could calm down, put on dry clothes and continue. Also, I knew it was only 8 easy kilometers to the cabin I was going to spend the night, so it was easier to motivate myself.
Deciding that it wasn’t too bad after all, I was able to enjoy both myself and my surroundings. The smell of flowers was intense, but nice. It really was beautiful. It also helped that it stopped raining.
And suddenly, I saw the cabin. Pleased with myself, I entered Trygvebu, got the fireplace going and made myself a warm meal.
Later in the evening, I was accompanied by Bjørn and his two nieces Victoria (8) and Cornelia (5). We ate hot dogs and chatted merely before going to bed.
Day 51 – Luxury
Looking at the map, I saw I could take a shortcut down to Junkerdal before heading up the mountain towards Lønsstua. It was supposed to be a tractor road… it most definitely wasn’t. I would call it an overgrown, unmarked trail. And because of the rainy night, the bushes and branches was wet, making my newly dried clothes soaked within seconds.
For the map makers to call that a tractor road, amazes me. I doubt there has ever been a tractor driving there, unless the tractors up here has the climbing skills of Cretan mountain goats. After 3 kilometers, however, the road the map had promised appeared. As did the sun. So soon enough, I was dry and happy.
I crossed the main road, and started the climb towards Saltfjellet. Suddenly, I was surrounded by blueberries. For the first time on this trip, I could pick and eat berries. Better late than never!
My plan was to get to Lønsstua and camp in the area. The location of the cabin, however, was a bit difficult to find. An older man came out of the forest, just finished picking berries. Instead of giving me directions to Lønsstua, he invited me up to his cabin, located only 50 meters away.
A huge, modern cabin, with four bedrooms and a shower. A SHOWER!
Tor Sigurd, whom it seemed appreciated my company, invited me to stay for dinner. He said he wasn’t much of a cook, that he was lucky to have a lovely wife doing the cooking for him at home. The trout and potato with creamy sauce, however, was delicious. And for dessert, freshly picked cloudberries with sugar and cream with our coffee.
“I feel like a grandfather doing the best he can”, Tor Sigurd said. Well, to me, it was perfect! And I could end my day in a huge, soft bed, with a huge grin on my face.
Day 52 – Chuck Norris
I’m so grateful for the people I have met on my journey. And all of them so willing to help and to give what they can give. Like Tor Sigurd said: “I can just imagine what it would have meant to me”.
After a long, delicious breakfast (bread, omg bread!) I said goodbye to my new best friend and headed off towards Saltfjellstua. The walk up the mountain, was easy enough, though a little steep. At the top, it got more and more rocky. It was like a moon landscape, as far as the eye could see.
I met a couple doing a six-months travel and hiking trip, Jens and Tora. They were accompanied not only by their dog, but a stray reindeer.
“eeermh, do you know there’s a reindeer behind you” I said. Apparently, he had been following them for three days. It was such a strange behavior, and the reindeer was completely tame. When I parted with Jens and Tora, the reindeer decided to follow me instead.
I named him Chuck Norris. And he was great company. Like an overgrown dog with antlers. I was amazed to see how he climbed rocks and crossed rivers.
Oh, if I could have had that on film, the one river we crossed! The current was a bit more powerful than I had anticipated, and having my camera on me, I was afraid to fall. But half way, when I was about to stumble, Chuck Norris was on my right side, and I could lean on him, and we crossed the river together with ease. I’m laughing to myself just thinking about it. That is a once in a life time experience, I think.
We walked together all the way to the cabin, or almost all the way. Before reaching it, there was a huge river to cross, and I thing Chuck Norris knew about it, because suddenly he turned around and ran away.
I was sad to see him leave.
Day 53 - Saltfjellet - check!
Instead of sleeping in the cabin, I had pitched up the tent just outside it. That way, I could use the gas for cooking food, the fireplace for drying clothes and enjoying the company of Arnhild and her cute dog, while only paying 50kr.
After a lengthy breakfast, I started my long walk towards Bolnastua. At first, I was following a river through forest, marshes and mud… Extremely boring. Once I crossed the river and started to climb upwards, however, it changed for the better. By a small, rocky waterfall, I ate my lunch, and it filled me with renewed energy.
The road seemed to go on and on, due to a never-ending landscape and a poor judgement of distances. I’m used to 1:50 000 maps, so to switch to a 1: 100 000 map, was a terrible idea. When I, several hour later, could descend the mountain and reach my destination, I was not surprised when I saw a sign that said I had just walked 30km. I knew I had walked longer than the estimated 24km.
Once inside the warm cabin, I almost fell asleep in my dinner. But I was able to drag my butt to bed before collapsing. Aaah, my new favorite piece of furniture.