Total Miles: 299.8
Just Northwest of Stabbursdalen – July 8, 2016
The low ceiling of clouds presses down on the world, cutting off the top of peaks, stretching like a grey sheet over my head, leaving no depth to the sky. Underneath, the open, low slopes of tundra pushes back. The world feels compressed, like I’m moving across a thin disc.
It pulls my eyes close. I notice things I have looked at but not seen. The white, star-shaped flowers scattered an inch above the ground. The sunshine yellow bulbs that rise higher. The different shades of green woven into the tundra.
The clouds lower as I walk, flooding around me, cutting off everything that isn’t within a few hundred feet. I follow trail’s rock cairns, losing my sense of direction without the distant horizon and sun to guide me. Only the wind, pushing on my right cheek, reminds me of any direction.
I follow across bogs that sink to my knee, through muddy stretches of earth, over rivers and streams, along fence lines, up slopes and down. One after the next, I let the rocks guide me forward through the wall of grey mist.
Near midnight, they drop me down a hill and across a stream. My mind flickers to life, memories, recognition. This is where I crossed the trail a week ago with the sun high in a blue sky.
I look at the red paint splashed across the fencepost. I follow it to the next and a cairn of rocks with a red T painted on them. The E1, stretching from Norway to Sicily. It means something more now than it did a week ago, now that my footsteps are connected from Kinnarodden and Knivskjelodden to here.
It means it’s time to move south.