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.