Europe N to S: First Slice of the Elephant (7/29/16)

​Today’s Miles: 6.3
Total Miles: 679.5

Abisko National Park, Sweden – July 29, 2016

I sat in the visitor station for a long, long time. At first it was to send emails and updates. Then it was to download maps. Then it was to catch up with friends and news from home. Then it was to just sit and know that I was really waiting there because I felt unsure about the upcoming stretch of trail.

There’s close to two-hundred miles before the next road. Ten days, I think, maybe more. My pack bulges with food. Dense, energy-rich granola and nuts, pasta, instant potatoes, and sticks of butter to add as many calories as I can. I know it will be close. I know I may walk out a day or more with nothing but an empty stomach.

The visitor station ebbs and flows with backpackers. This is the northern end of the Kungsleden, a highway of a trail that I’ll share for a day. I see more backpackers in an hour than I have since Kinnarodden. Some look fresh, not a bit of dirt on them, others hobble in, laboring each step. They come and go and come and go.

I sit and stare off. Eventually I must go too, I tell myself. I find more things to look at, to research, to waste time on. The day drags on. I think of not moving at all, of putting it off until tomorrow, but I shake the thought away.

The two-hundred miles will be there tomorrow and the next day and the next. They will be there every day I don’t move, never shorter, never easier, just there waiting.

I stand up, unplug my phone, pack away my battery chargers, change into my sweat-stained clothes, and go because even if I only take a few small steps, it’s the only way the two-hundred miles won’t be there tomorrow. 

5 thoughts on “Europe N to S: First Slice of the Elephant (7/29/16)

  1. As you have often noted D, just reach the next bend on the trail. And then repeat. That is the way great journeys are done.

  2. So true Daniel! Putting off a task solves nothing, unless you are actively recovering, then it’s not procrastination. The best way to deal with unattractive tasks is to get ‘er done! Each step is one less ahead of you. What are you using for a stove to rehydrate things?

    1. I use an alcohol stove. There are a ton of different ones you can build with instructions online, but they all basically do the same thing. You can make them out of aluminum cans!

  3. A new version of the age old Chinese proverb: “A journey of 6,000 miles begins with the first step.”

    It takes a lot of resolute will power and grit to take on this challenge. You’ve got that, as you’ve shown to yourself so many times.

    For many of those packers you saw a very short trip takes more will power than they yet possess. Same for many of us in our endeavors in life. Challenge after challenge makes or breaks us.

    You go, D! You rock!

  4. Keep going! You can do it! It’s great the way you ‘pep’ talk yourself into the next part of your journey.

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