Four Seasons in Four Months – Part 5

You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.
– Bob Marley
Kilpisjärvi (Finland) – Setermoen
15 June 2017 – 24 June 2017
10 Days
216 km
TOTAL: 732 km
15 June 2017 (Thursday) — by the E8 road, about 10 km from Kilpisjärvi Hikingcenter
Distance: 17.2 km

We packed our camp and went back about 5 kilometres to the village, because we got information, that there were people who deal with shipping parcels between Norway, Sweden and Finland and will be able to help us. Finally, we managed to find the right person. A nice lady from the supermarket, on our behalf, called Russenes post office, explaining the situation, and asking them, as soon as our parcel will arrive, to send if forward to one of the post offices located further in the south of Norway, to which we will be able to get during our walk. Thereby, our further route was decided, we had to move along the Norwegian roads, to be able to pick up the parcel. The thought of walking three more weeks along the roads was not encouraging, so a bit reluctant, but we moved on.

Abandoned hut, Norway
16 June 2017 (Friday) — by the E8 road, about 20 km from przed Skibotn
Distance: 22.9 km

Slowly we were moving to the south, having in focus only the present day, trying not to think how much of walking along the roads is ahead of us. As if that was not enough, Marcin started to have problems with ITBS tendon in his right leg. He just cured left one, the previous year, and now the right leg began causing troubles. For some time now he felt the pain, but not enough to disturb the walking. Now the pain got stronger with every day.

We walked along a big river and soon began to descend in to the valley. There were more trees and forests, and what comes with it, more greenness. And that meant Spring was coming! We also felt it the higher temperature in general. At the end of the day Marin walk using one and a half feet. In the morning he managed to walk quite OK, but in the afternoon it got much worse. Longer breaks did not help, they even made it worse. We were worried about what would happen.

17 June 2017 (Saturday) — by the E6 road, about 4 km form Skibotn
Distance: 27.0 km

At some point we got onto the bike path, hoping that for a few kilometres we will get some rest from walking on asphalt. We immediately gained some extra strength, as the weather was in our favour, it was sunny. It was a pleasure to walk, and the path took us almost to the town.

We arrived in Skibotn in the evening, and as our luck goes of course, it was Saturday, so we had to do some food shopping. Good for us that we managed to get to the store an hour before closing. With full backpacks we walked out of the city, went into the woods and found a good place for two nights. We hoped that this pause will be good for Marcin’s leg.

We also began to experience the bad side of the coming Spring and Summer, namely mosquitoes. Especially in the woods they were real pain.

18 June 2017 (Sunday) — by the E6 road, about 4 km from Skibotn
Distance: 0.0 km

We spent most of the day in the tent, as the rain would not let us sit outside. We used the weather windows to make coffee, quickly wash in the stream, do some laundry and prepare dinner. And here we treated ourselves, as for a change from freeze-dried food, we cooked pasta with tomato sauce and some salami. It was delicious, even though it was a real challenge, having an anti-mosquito mesh on our heads.

19 June 2017 (Monday) — by the E6 road, about 1 km from Hatteng
Distance: 24.3 km

After a resting day we moved on, now along the fjord. The whole day we were surrounded with beautiful vies. It was a bit cold, because the wind was blowing, and the sky was covered with dark clouds. It hasn’t rained so far, though.

It started raining only when we stopped for lunch, obviously. We had to hurry to get out our bivvy bag. By accident, we knocked the cooking pot over and the water has spilled out. I had to walk quite far back to get the water from the stream, but at least in that time the clouds went away, and we could eat in peace.

Martin’s leg started to be a burden, in the morning he would put some ointment that we bought in Skibotn, and managed to walk somehow. It got worse in the afternoon, after lunch break. Then, he barely could raise his foot. We stopped at the roadside, thinking what to do next, because it was impossible to go on like this. He rubbed the gel in again, and somehow we managed to get to the parking area, where we stopped for the night. The place was beautiful, situated by the fjord, surrounded by high mountains, wonderfully lit in the evening sun and reflected in calm water. However, it’s Marcin’s leg that was on our mind.

20 June 2017 (Tuesday) — by the 87 road, about 30 km from Øverbygd
Distance: 24.1 km

In the morning, leaving Marcin alone in the tent, I went to a nearby town for shopping. Unfortunately, it turned out that the shop was under renovation and was to be open in three days’ time. Another nearest shop was 20 kilometres away, unfortunately not on the way we wanted to follow.

Marcin’s leg was better in the morning, so we packed up and moved on. While walking, we were considering what to do with food issue. In fact, we had some supplies, we just haven’t got enough bread. We came to a small town, where once there was a shop, but now only the sign left. I gathered myself and knowing that we did not have anything to lose, I went to a nearby hotel. First, I asked where the nearest shop was, and then not getting any good news, I asked politely if they had some bread we could buy from them. The receptionist ran to the back and came back with baguettes and some pâté spread. And she did not want a penny for it! We were very happy, as we now could get on to the 87 road, not being worried whether we will find any shop.

It was much greener around, to our delight. It was also much warmer, as most of the roads led in the valleys. At this section there were many fields, farms, it became rural and idyllic :)

21 June 2017 (Wednesday) — by the 87 road, near Holt
Distance: 23.8 km

Marcin’s leg was not getting better. The mornings were OK, but the later on, the worse it got. After dinner break it was difficult for him to warm up his leg, so we walked slowly, stopping now and then, so that Marcin could stretch his leg. It didn’t look any good though.

Somehow we were shuffling along, and Martin tried to put his leg in different ways, to see what helped. It turned out that he probably was putting too small steps and walking on stiff legs. This caused pain, and the pain caused even more stiffening of the leg, and such vicious circle it was. At some point he relaxed his leg and began to put bigger steps, thus engaging his thigh muscles. And then it was noticeable better. He walked liked this for next few days, making sure that this was the solution, and soon we could write down the leg injury as a story in the diary.

Dark atmosphere in the morning, road 87, Norway
22 June 2017 (Thursday) — by the 87 road, close to Rundhaug
Distance: 26.9 km

Despite the cool morning, walking was pleasant, and the sun was shining more and more. We passed small town, but we stopped just for a short break and small snack. We were going through green valleys, agricultural areas, there was more and more settlements and buildings around. It made difficult to find a place for a break or camp, because when we came to a river, there were usually buildings nearby.

While looking for good place, we came to a shop, where we wanted to resupply originally. Unfortunately it was so late, that the shop was closed. We assessed our supplies and decided that as we were doing so well, we don’t need more food at all. So we went further and set up the camp somewhere in the woods, away from any buildings, and from the water as well, unfortunately. Luckily we anticipated that this would happen, and we had a supply of water with us.

Barduelva River, Norway
23 June 2017 (Friday) — by the E6 road, about 8 km from Setermoen
Distance: 30.6 km

When the sun wakes you up in the morning, one gets up happily. It was such a nice morning, that even before we left, we managed to recharge the phone. We headed towards Setermoen and where there was possibility we walked along then minor roads. We checked how many kilometres there was still to go and as the Sunday was coming, we quickened our pace in order to get to town on Saturday to do the shopping. Once we set the goal, we walked briskly, cheering each other on. The weather was in our favour, so the walk was pleasant. We reached the beautifully located minor road, leading along the river. The snow-capped mountains were all around. It was windless, the water in the river like a mirror reflected the landscapes. It got so unbelievably nice, so we could not get enough of.

Kilometers of the forest path ahead

The closer to the city, the traffic was heavier. In the end we had to get on E6 road, and recall the experience of walking along the busy road. And there were many cars, whether the reason being start of the weekend, whether it was the proximity of the city, anyway walking wasn’t enjoyable. We had to be very careful. We found nice camping place, parking with picnic tables by the river. There was only one drawback — closeness of the road. At night, we were awakened by the noise from cars passing by.

There were more and more mosquitoes. Especially in the evenings we had to dress fully, put some repellent on exposed areas and cover the ankles above all, because these mosquitoes liked best.

24 June 2017 (Saturday) — Setermoen Bardu Camping
Distance: 7.9 km

We arrived at Setermoen before noon. The sun was shining from the very morning, so we dry properly our sleeping bags, air beds and the tent. Then we sorted ourselves out, first a bath, then laundry and only then we could get some rest, while all our batteries and electronics were charging. Unfortunately, late in the afternoon it started to rain and it rained until the end of the day. Good for us, that we had a place to sit, and at the same time we had chat with a motorcyclist from Switzerland, who stopped the campsite for one night. We planned further route, in such a way to avoid main roads, and walk the minor roads, even for the price of doing more kilometres. We still had plenty of time to get to Abisko, form where I had to depart to England for few days.