Doing a lot of nothing today. It's rainy, very rainy actually. Still, I go down to the sea for a wee bit to get some fresh air and to reflect the last month.
30 days, 1000 kilometers. A bit faster than I expected. A combination of the long days and mostly favorable weather conditions. I was expecting much more unsettled weather and not the sunny, warm weather that I was fortunate enough to enjoy. I have to be honest: the few rainy, cold days showed me how harsh the weather can be north of the arctic circle. Showed my and my gear's limits. Sleeping bag, tent and clothes - it's all on the marginal side. But that's thru-hiking: a tradeoff between comfort and weight.
The trails: while technically easy (never exposed or extremely steep), walking kilometers through wetlands, constantly looking for a faint trail or markers as well as very uneven ground (be it vegetation or rocks) made going challenging at times. Especially, when being chased by mosquitoes, which, by the way, haven't been a problem since Abisko.
Compared to Te Araroa, river crossing were straight forward and not a single time did I feel uncomfortable. Unlike when crossing bridges in Norway. Some of them are a real disgrace. Outright dangerous and not what you expect from one of the richest countries.
While crossing these bridges, the remoteness of the trail, mainly during the last nine days, is something that crossed my mind. What if I fell off the bridge into the glacial water? With the poor weather and no possibility for a rescue by helicopter, it might or possibly have taken more than a day for help to arrive. An unpleasant thought.
Yet: this remoteness, the open landscape, the sheer size of the area, the views, the people, when there were (their helpfulness and their stories), the Cloud Berries made it a great experience so far. Also thanks to my extremely forgiving body. It's an amazing job it is doing.
So what's next. Tomorrow I will do another rest day, checking out Saltstraumen.
On Monday it is time to resume my hike and will cross the arctic circle a few days later. From there it's another few days to Umbukta, where I will hitch a ride to Mo I Rana for resupply.
So far I hiked 1000 kilometers and, weather permitting, I hope to walk another 500 kilometers, which will take me roughly halfway across Scandinavia.