Up Yours, Stanley.

So there, I did it. 2 days and 2 nights in the wilderniss, at temperatures down to around -5 degrees Celcius and lower. Nothing less than the bitch I expected it would be, but not any less of an amazing experience, either. Loneliness gets a whole new meaning, really. The cold pales in insignificance when it comes to toughening the whole thing. Next time I’d like to do it with someone else. It really isn’t all that difficult, your biggest enemy is hypothermia. There were several times that I had to stop what I was doing and take a walk or something to warm up again, because I was starting to lose all feeling in my toes and fingers. It’s not the air that cools you down. Everything you use, is freezing to the touch. Mornings are the most dangerous. The only heat source is your own body, after all, and when you put on pants that have been laying in the cold, your body temperature takes a punch. And then you’re still not wearing any tee shirt, sweater, socks or shoes. Without the proper time to get warm again (that takes at least an hour) you have to first break down your tent, including isolation mat and sleeping bag before you can take off.
The first symptom of hypothermia is losing the will to do anything. The only thing you want to do is just, go sit someplace warm. If you’re in a group and someone starts going "I don’t want to go on, I can’t" for no apparent reason, be sure he/she is suffering from hypothermia. It’s a very powerful feeling and a bitch to tackle. Cursing and swearing generally help. You can go on quite a while past that feeling, you should really get worried when you’re starting to feel sleepy. So! You grit your teeth and try to get it done as quickly as possible so you can go on and walk again.
Nothing I’ve seen before in my -I admit- short life has come close to the stuff I saw here. The funny thing is, people here are so used to it, anyone seeing me must have probably wondered what the hell I was looking at. Waterfalls at various locations seemed as if they had just frozen instantly, very weird. To me, anyway. Mountain tops, completely orange from the sunset. I’m not even going to bother describing it all.
To people who’ve been supporting me, much thanks. To you who have been going "You’re crazy, Don’t do it" and all that: Up Yours.
The days before and after the hike have been amazing, as well. First a couple of Belgians stayed at the same hostel as mine, and the day after I hung out with a group of Brits. Right now I’m staying with a lady who was so kind to take me in. The view from her apartment over the town is simply breath taking.
There are 2 days in Norway on which it is legal for shops to sell fireworks: the last 2 days of the year, which is now. And I’m not talking sparky sticks, either. I can see people trying out the fireworks they got in town right now, it looks like there’s a war going on. Some of the sets available in shops were hilarious, from oh-look-there’s-sparks-coming-out-of-it to rockets the size of my fucking Leg.
Another thing I noticed, is that there’s slots machines all over the place. You know, the gamble things. Any big shop has them, and they’re being used, too. Norway is exceptionally expensive and if that wasn’t enough people go and spend their change on gambling.
Weird people, Norwegians.

3 responses

  1. Amber -

    Congrats there boi.However I find I cannot sympathesize when I live in the southern part of Ontario and it still manages to reach -40 in the day time. However, a journey is a journey nonetheless. Haha! Who puts in the two cents now! Love you lots.

    3 January 2006 at 23:03

  2. Amber -

    How much are the tickets? I\’d like to go there on vacation. A good weather change.Hypothermia? At -5? It\’s a wonder the whole of Canada hasn\’t caught it.Ah well, what can I say, you\’re belgian.-Nem

    3 January 2006 at 23:06

  3. Maarten

    Camping. As in, outside. In the cold. With a hole dug nearby to shit in. Try it.

    4 January 2006 at 15:07

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