Saturday, October 4, 2014

Final comments on Scandinavia

I finally moved my pictures around so I can upload some highlights here. I kept sort of a journal when I was on this trip - usually just bullet points of what we did and anything of note. I've used that to jog my memory and add some more details here. 

Along the trail and river near the lodge we stayed at the day before leaving. 

Before heading out into the "backcountry", we had to prepare the food to bring with us for two weeks. The supplies were all set out and the instructors had put instructions on how much (i.e. grams) to put in bags for each group. We were in groups of three. We added the first weeks' food to our stuff to pack and someone would meet us in the field with our re-supply for week 2. 

This is one table of food. There were like 7 tables this size I think - lots of food. We had trail mix, flour, rice, bulgar, quinoa, lentils, polenta, pasta noodles, rice noodles, packets of powdered soup, spices, butter, peanutbutter, pancake mix, brownie mix, chocolates, powdered milk, hot chocolate mix, tea, blueberry drink mix, cheese (white and brown), tube cheese (way better than it sounds), onion, garlic, nuts, crackers, cookies, dried vegetables, yeast and I'm sure I'm still missing something. 

One of the instructors showed us all the things she was packing and how to pack it all. Besides our own clothes, toiletries, etc., we had to carry between our three man team the tent, the kitchen (stove, pot, fry "bake" pan, pliers, spatula), two fuel canisters and three duffel bags of food.  

Here is where I laid out all my things, tried to trim things down and then pack up. I took one set of hiking clothes that I wore each day, rain clothes that came in super handy, a set of pjs, one pair of hiking socks, one pair for camp and one to sleep in, three pair of underwear, a mug, bandanas, small Tupperware bowl, camp shoes, hiking boots, hiking poles, hat and gloves, headlamp, book, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, sit pad and I'm sure some other items. When fully packed, my bag weighed 55 lbs. 

Each day we mixed up our hiking groups, usually four or five plus instructor. Here we are on day one ready to get started. I'm in my pink hat :).

This was on like day five I think. It was colder more often than not. 

We made pizza one night for dinner - I forgot we got tomato sauce also. This is the fry bake atop the stove. 

I started using my self timer to take hiking group pictures from each day. This was a particularly great view. I think day six. 

Some days we had classes to learn about different things - this was one of our coldest days and fittingly we learned about hypothermia. One person's body heat can not heat up someone in hypothermia. You're more likely to get two really cold people. So hot drinks, body movement, then wrap in layers - two sleeping bags. Put a hot water bottle in with the person, but not near their skin as it could be too hot. It was really hard for the volunteer to unwrap himself that morning :). 

Making pancakes one morning. We had breakfast and dinner each day but just took snacks in our Tupperware to eat during hiking breaks during the day. 

Our second to last day had a very perfect rainbow. 

We cooked under tarps. Other days we made tarp city and all cooked together. There were definitely some of us better than others in the "kitchen". I was at the bottom of that list :).  

Towards the end of our two weeks we did solo hikes. Our instructors camped with us but allowed us to hike by ourselves during the day, using the map and compass to reach a designated campsite. 

Other random highlights from my notes:
Day two was "hell" day. It rained all day, two lightning storms that we sat through (sit on your pack away from people, running water and your metal hiking poles), white out conditions, not finding our way and backtracking, hiking until 10:30pm and not reaching camp, waking at 4:30 to get to our first river crossing by 6am (the first of three that day). The next day we hiked 7km or so and reached the rest of the group by 1pm. That day put the rest of the trip in perspective. It only got better :). 

By day five I was feeling pretty down. I was one of the least experienced hikers. I was physically slower than everyone. I didn't know anything about trying to cook. I was a slow packer in the morning and felt like everyone was always waiting on me. On day five it was too much. I wasn't use to feeling like I couldn't excel at anything. It was a really rough morning. However I got on with it and things improved during the hike. Shortly thereafter one of the instructors said she was impressed with my navigation skills. It meant so much to me. 

One location: mosquitoes killer

One night we did a potluck dinner. 

I had some crazy dreams but slept well. 

Was my favorite day - we did it ourselves. (I was referring to navigation without the instructor help and making it to the campsite!)

Cinnamon roll breakfast

Quesadillas for dinner (rice, cheese, sausage)

Ran into other groups - river crossing not possible; rapids at exit, wait for I-team (aka instructors)

On fire during night (love sleeping bag) take off layers

Maiji's b-day! Woke her up with singing, collected flowers (Maiji -pronounced Maya- was our Finnish instructor)

Beautiful sunset set mountains "on fire"

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