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Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

A change of pace

By Aleks Kashefi
09, Oct, 2016

The frost clings to my feet... It is more Winter than Autumn

Day 62: The sun is lacking in power and is setting. I keep marching on, determined to reach the river I have to cross and I do… Just as the sun vanished behind the wooded hill. There is a shack. Incomplete on the inside, a huge double door that doesn’t shut properly and dusty inside. I check out the terrain and river, deciding whether to push on or stop.

The sun is setting fast, light diminishing. To carry on would be foolish. I stop.

The routine is still there, but it’s adapted to the new situation. I clean the few floor boards that are in the cabin, perhaps it was destined to be a garage of sorts and never completed. No matter. It’ll make a sleeping place. A pit is dug, the chimney hole in the roof is cleaned out in the hope it’ll act well enough to stop the cabin from filling with smoke. Wood collected. Rocks placed on the rim of the pit, fire started. Smoke fills the cabin, eyes burn, eyes water.

All doors and the solitary window are now open. The smoke billows out and I can breath again. The fire is left to burn out, the embers used to cook a meal of barley and adventure sausage. With the addition of coconut oil it’s actually rather tasty. Then it’s time to sleep. With the warm meal, I feel warm. I put on an extra layer. The sky is clear and the stars wink at me, warning me of the cold ahead.

Day 63: Crunch after crunch, I step along the frozen miss and peat hags. The frost clings to my feet and freezes the moisture on the outside of them. It is more winter than Autumn...

So I realise that the Swedish are shaped by their lands, as apposed to shaping it. The small shelters, the camping spots, the rest areas for drivers, all give the impression that the land is being shaped by humans, but really… It’s the relationship with these forests and wood that shapes the people. Just as I realise this, a cabin appears. The chimney stack tells of the wood stove inside and the lake provides a nice back drop... Some locals appeared at the door. All dressed like atypical hunters, all carrying their shotguns and all wearing the trousers that everyone outdoors wears here. The guy who tried to get in apologised, told me they’re hunting and then insisted that they are going to stay outside. I invited them in but the reply was no, we’ll stay out here. But it was said in an almost apologetic tone. They wanted me to shut the door quickly too so I didn’t waste the heat. Now they sit outside, a fire cracking occasionally, chatting and laughing. I’ve managed to dry everything, heated the cabin to almost sauna like warmth and the sun sets again.

Day 64: 2am and the cabin temperature dropped enough for me to wake. A new fire is lit. The heat permeates, fills the space where the bed is. 2 hours more sleep...

The fire burns out quickly and at 4am I’m wandering around in the dark for wood. A couple of armfuls and I go back in. A new fire burns, it’s orange light dancing on the walls. I eat breakfast, drink a coffee and pack. Shortly before 7 I leave, the sky a light blue colour. The colour that promises sunlight soon. Running isn’t a mode of transport today. It’s a heating mechanism. My beard freezes...

Locals drive passed and look on with what I guess is bemusement. I come across an abandoned building or two. I find them fascinating so I explore them quickly. One is little more than an old farm shed and the second an old house. Normally I would have stayed in the house for a warmer night but this one is different. It has the feel of a house that saw a loved one pass away. I wander through the kitchen, the living room and finally a toom that has a makeshift bed at one side. At the foot of the bed, facing it, a chair. The sense of a loved one passing away is stronger now and I feel the need to leave.

Day 65: 3am was the coldest. Cold enough to wake me from my broken night’s sleep. Tent checked…

It’s frozen of course. Sagging under the weight of the solid water that clings to its inside and outside. I eat something. I move around to generate some body heat. I cocoon myself, trapping any and all body heat that I can. I stay on there. Alarm goes off and the snooze function keeps on at me till 8am. 4 hours of snooze! All to hide away from the inevitable. Cold and a frozen landscape.

Day 66: Sleep didn’t happen too well. 10pm awake and cold. Another layer put on. Doze after having a small alcohol burn. Tent frozen already. 3am.. What is it with 3am?? Every time I wake early it’s 3am. This time it was the cold. Freezing cold and no extra layers left. I made breakfast, left it to warm the tent and me before eating it. The coffee. The coffee placed on chest, zipped into top and left there. The burning sensation was pleasant and before log spread throughout my body.

I start to move, write some words in my journal and get out for a visit to the wood loo. The first step I take with my right foot is painful. Really painful! Confused I hobble off and then head back to pack away the tent. Quickly flicking through then memories of yesterday for a reason behind the pain…

None. Yesterday felt great. Smooth, lift and easy once I left the restsplats. I walk. Perhaps it just needs warming up, but the pain persists. Trying a run proved even worse! ‘Oh well… Go with the flow and all that.’ I still wanted to run though. A quick break at a roadside random shelter. A fire, clothes out for drying. The damp must be annihilated! I fiddle with my ankle...

Read the full account of the last few days on my blog...

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1 Comment

Share your thoughts about this article.


Dan
Trepidation

Reading his with morbid curiosity. So far I've got goosebumps at the near misses with trucks on bridges and the sheer effort of getting up to run 35km a day. Keep on keeping on. Each blog entry is a delight

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