Sunday, July 6, 2008

Will I ever walk again?

Like a normal human being, I mean. Or should I just resign to the fact that my theme song from now on will be Genesis' "I can't dance" ("I can't dance, I can't talk. Only thing about me is the way I walk.")? Here's how I've gotten around during the last couple of days:

1. From a sitting position on the ground, I put my feet together with the weight on the outside of my soles. Pushing hard with my hands I get into a crouching position, from where I whimper as I slowly straighten my body upwards.

2. Slowly, slowly, I distribute my weight across the full area of the soles of my feet. It hurts tremendously!

3. For about ten steps I stagger ahead like a very old man (I would say like an 80 years old man, but that would be an insult to the 81-year-old who swiftly walked past me in the woods two days ago) on his way towards his walking aid.

4. After ten seconds or so, some kind of internal painkiller system kicks in, and I can almost start walking like I used to, you know, back when I had not yet started on this hike. If I stop for a few seconds, though, the pain is back, after which I'm likely to start shouting bad words at the innocent trees around me.

Anyway, due to bad weather, a desperate need of a camera battery recharge, many lessons learned about efficient packing AND, I'll admit, some minor body malfunctions (see above), I've taken a break from my hike. At a spot about 120 kilometers into the 320 kilometer walk, I was just five kilometres away from public transportation that could take me back home. It was a most convenient place to take a break.

It's been a great hike this far, and I've learned a lot from it:

* Anyone voluntarily going on a hike like this must either be mad, in absolutely superb shape, or not at all have understood what lies ahead of them. Hundreds of miles/kilometers of walking through what is basically wilderness is durn hard work!

* Efficient packing is crucial when you have to carry on your back everything you need for a number of days. I'm still no expert, but I've learnt a thing or two by now. For instance, there's no point in carrying several bricks made of paper that you intend to read before you go to sleep in the evening. What happens as soon as you've put up your tent and eaten your dinner is that you collapse into unconsciousness inside your sleeping bag.

* July may not be the best month for multi-day hikes in the forests of southern Norway. Most of the snow in the mountains has melted already, and there's little rain. This means it can be difficult to find streams with potable water. It's fairly warm weather, so you may have to carry a LOT of water on your back. Or you have to resort to drinking Chateaux de Lemmingcorpse or Eau de Shit de Sheep, i.e. brownish marsh water. (Not recommended.)

* Usually when vampire bats attack in the middle of the Norwegian woods with a loud shriek, they're not really vampire bats at all, but just the mattress I carry on top of my backpack, scratching a branch that hangs across the path.

All this is valuable pieces of information that I will find great use of as soon as I return to my walk in the woods in a few days (hopefully).

Happy trails!

Bjørn
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