Somewhere in the tundra – June 22, 2016
Today’s Miles: 13.1
Total Miles: 37
Hopseidet is a place in need of a legend. Maybe one exists that I don’t know of. It looks as if a frost giant tried to sever the head off the Nordkyn peninsula with a mighty axe, hacking through the thick trunk of land and leaving nothing but a few hundred yards of dirt, the thinnest bit of skin, to hold everything together.
Or perhaps two trolls fought over the land. One grabbed onto one side and pulled, the other yanked back, each trying to rip the land out of the other’s hands so they could claim it for their own. They pulled and tugged and yanked for days and nights, sometimes one winning, then the other, but neither strong enough to wrestle the land free. Bit by bit, the land pulled apart, stretching thin in the middle as the two trolls struggled, pulled, and fought. They pulled until exhaustion overcame them and their hearts burst in their chests, each one collapsing on their side of the land they’d pulled between them. Over the years, their bodies became covered in dirt and rock, forming the mountains that rising on each side of the thin strip of land that remains unbreakable to this day.
Even the Nazis couldn’t rip it apart. As their war machine marched forward, they tried and failed to dig a canal through Hopseidet for their ships to avoid the dangerous passage around Kinnarodden.
The land held, stubborn as all the land up here must be, and Kinnarodden remained the mainland’s northernmost point.
I scramble up the cliffs on the far side. Hopseidet’s thin strip of land falls away below me. The twin fjords reach out in opposite directions to the sea, the depths casting the water a hundred shades of blue.
My legs feel so heavy on the climb. The muscles ache with a dull, weary pain. Breath comes in ragged spurts. I have to stop again and again to peer back down and recover my will.
On top of the rolling plateau, standing on one of the trolls’ shoulders, the landscape returns to tundra and shattered stone, beautiful and stark. I pick my way across the shifting rocks as clouds slip by overhead.
When the first drops of rain begin, I rush to set up my tent. The wind rips at everything. I dive inside, curl up in my sleeping bag and think of that thin strip of stubborn land holding on and on and on.