Four Seasons in Four Months – Part 1

You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.
– Unknown
Knivskjellodden – Russenes
17 May 2017 – 22 May 2017
6 Days
120 km (+ 10 km by bus)
TOTAL: 120 km

17 May 2017 (Wednesday) — near the E1 path, about 3 km from Knivskjellodden
Distance: 12.4 km

Expeditions have this thing about starting with minor or major misfortunes. And so it was in our case. After arriving in Honningsvåg we didn’t buy any food supplies, because we decided to do it next morning without rush. Unfortunately it turned out that next day was a national holiday, so everything was closed: shops, tourist information, even buses were not running. Our last chance was petrol station, the only open service, which served us as a point of information, supplies and our eating place. Later it turned out that this “unlucky-day” last until the end of our trip.

We couldn’t go on the bus, waiting till next day wasn’t an option, so we started walking towards Nordkapp. The weather was in our favour, it was cool, but clear and sunny, so the perspective of an unexpected long walk did not seem so bad. However, we tried our luck and after few attempts, we managed to stop the car. In several dozen minutes we were in the parking lot, from where the path towards Knivskjellodden starts.

On the way to Knivskjellodden
On the way to Knivskjellodden

The whole time, with a slight disbelief, we were looking at the amount of snow around us. Although the path was under more than a meter of snow, we took up the challenge and started the walk. It went well, slowly, but forward. Beautiful weather gave us the energy. On the Knivskjellodden peninsula we stopped for lunch and after a short rest we started our proper walk down the south. In the evening it began to cloud, but we managed to set up the tent before the first drops of rain.

18 May 2017 (Thursday) — near the E1 path, about 3 km from the E69 road
Distance: 24.3 km

Next day the weather changed, and we had to walk on the snow, in the rain and against the wind. And up the hill. It exhausted us to this point, that part of the route we went along the roads. It was still before the season, so there was little traffic. In the evening we got back on the path, and we slept on a piece of land uncovered by snow.

Overnight in the snow
Overnight in the snow
19 May 2017 (Friday) — by the E69 road, about 4-5 km after the Nordkapp tunnel
Distance: 19.3 km

We woke up in a dense fog, which together with the snow created unity. It was impossible to distinguish the contours, we only felt that we were going down the hill or up the hill. Without the GPS navigation we would quickly get lost and walk around in circles. Slowly and cautiously we started our descent, the fog was thinning and finally the skies has cleared, and we reached the road, which we followed in the direction of the tunnel.

We don’t have good memories of Nordkapp tunnel crossing. It was a torture for us. 6780 meters, of which every single meter gave us a hard time. The beginning was easy, because going downslope, but them 4 kilometres steady upslope. Strenuous work.

Walking through the Nordkapp tunnel

Dark and loud from cars passing by. On the wall there were painted signs stating the tunnel length, every two meters. They reminded us at every step, how little we have walked, and how much there was still ahead of us. We walked further meters at a dramatic snail’s pace, and we were getting overheated and exhausted terribly. In the end, however, we saw the daylight. When we got out of the tunnel we hid in a telephone booth, to cool ourselves down and keep away from catching a cold. At this point we came to the conclusion that we had overloaded backpack s, and we have to do something with it, because it will be just too hard for us, and we won’t have the pleasure coming from wandering.

We did not go much further that day, we set up the tent by the fjord. Marcin didn’t feel well, had seizures, and for the first time has questioned the point of our expedition that it is too much for his strength, that he is too old, he should probably put the slippers on and stay at home, that everything hurts, that he has cramps, and he is hungry, and that it does not make sense at all

He applied flu medicine and fall asleep immediately. Fortunately, a long and deep sleep regenerated his strength, and we could move on in the morning.

20 May 2017 (Saturday) — somewhere by the E69 road
Distance: 23.7 km

As decided, we went further along the roads, instead of following the path, because there was too much snow and it was impossible to walk. Well, maybe at this point it would be possible to go, because the snow was quite solid, but it would take too much time and it would take away all of our strength and desire for further walk.

We stopped for lunch by the stream. As there was beautiful sunshine, we used that time to take our feet out of the boots. While we were preparing ourselves for the dinner, from the cottages nearby, came a man and started chatting about our walk. He also invited us for a coffee to his cottage. We gladly accepted his offer. We finished our lunch in peace and went for the coffee. What a pleasant surprise, we haven’t seen coffee for few days, what’s more we haven’t sat on chairs by the table. It was very nice, we chatted a bit, and then we moved on. The world seen from two legs perspective is so big — you walk and walk, and you just covered such a short distance, and there is still so much ahead of you.

21 May 2017 (Sunday) — by the E69 road, few kilometres before a tunnel
Distance: 25.3 km

We continued along the fjords towards Russenes, our first stop. Walking along the fjords has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand there are beautiful views of snowy mountains rising straight out of the dark blue and incredibly clear water. On the other hand, you have to cover longer distances, because the road leads along the coastline, and although from the map it doesn’t look so far, and the other shore is in sight, you walk and walk.

Talks about food — the situation in which we find ourselves, changes our views and our dreams; only two months ago we looked indifferently at a simple cheese sandwich, and today it is our greatest desire.

22-23 May 2017 (Monday-Tuesday) — Russenes Camping
Distance: 15 km + about 10 km by bus

The last few kilometres we wanted to take a ride, as we did not have any food left, it was enough just for a light breakfast. We did not have the luck with hitchhiking, but in the end we managed to catch the local bus. Happily we got to Russenes. After filling up our tummies we collected our first parcel, which has been waiting for us since few days ago. Then we went to the campsite. We sorted ourselves out, made laundry and could spend the rest of the evening relaxing and making up for lost calories. During the whole stay the campsite there was a strong wind, it rained or snowed or sleeted, and it was very cold.

We looked over our equipment again, which we had just too much. How many times have we heard about people embarking on similar expeditions and after a few days throwing out unnecessary things from backpacks. It happened to us too. We prepared two parcels, one we sent to Poland with things we could live without. The another one, with things not needed at this point (due to the change of route and the weather) we sent further on, to Abisko in Sweden, so that we could pick it up later when there won’t be so much snow. Happy that our first parcel with supplies arrived without any problems, we did not suspect that we could have more troubles with parcels. How little we knew what was to come.

On the second day at the camp we met Ben from Germany, with whom we chatted all evening.

Snow-covered tents at a campsite in Russenes