Nordkapp to Austerbootnen
Distance: appr. 50km (I don't measure distances this time)
While doing so and about to leave for the monument one last time, the fog suddenly gives way to the low lying sun. The sea is not visible though. Still, I take it as a sign.
After a few mandatory shots, I take off into my E1 adventure. Following the road initially as the fog is back as quickly as it disappeared, making it impossible to find markers for a path that should run close to the road. I don't care as I am not in the mood for a navigating challenge so early in the day (it is 2:30 in the morning) and hike.
Soon enough I dip out of the fog just to dip into it again a few hundred meters further. My mood: a bit mixed. On the one hand relieved I am really hiking E1, which wasn't a sure thing until last minute), on the other hand overwhelmed. Such a massive project. Is there even a chance to achieve it? Walking home and maybe even further to Italy?
I know, maybe not the best timing für such thoughts, however, the beginning of a hike brings up emotions.
Soon enough I leave the road to experience Norway's hiking tracks for the first time. Hiking track? There's none! Just some red 'T's showing me the way. Not exactly well marked. Room for improvement for sure ;)
The terrain is easy to read and soon I'm back on a road after a steep descent and shortly afterwards entering the Nordkapp tunnel, connecting Margeroya with the mainland. 7km long, roughly 200 meters below sea level and open for pedestrians.
Well, it's an experience. Not a great one though. Noisy, cold, windy. Relieved when I see light at the end of the tunnel 1.5 hours after entering it.
Leaving the road again, I follow markers up a valley. Not easy to follow at times. After crossing a river and a very steep climb to navigate around an even steeper gorge, markings improve significantly and also a faint walking track is becoming visible, eventually turing into an all terrain vehicle (ATV) track. Views are spectacular as I climb over a pass and descend down to the sea. Terrain gets flatter and progress is quick, despite being a bit wet underfoot. Time is flying and by six o'clock I decide it is high time to pitch my tent. Been walking for nearly 15 hours.
Plenty of great places to choose from. I opt for an unobstructed view towards the north to be in pole position for the midnight sun. Who knows, maybe it works out for me today!