Today’s Miles: 23.2
Total Miles: 834.1
Past Staloluokta – August 5, 2016
The yellow packaging glowed in the kid’s backpack. Even with the top folded over and stuffed in a mesh pocket, I could see the word “Melkesjokolade” in blue letters as I passed.
“Milk chocolate,” I say to myself.
I brought three bars with me from Abisko. I was going to save them for the last days of the section, to parcel out piece by piece when my food would be running low and my spirits thin. Instead, they disappeared one by one before I even reached halfway.
I can’t stop thinking about chocolate as I walk away from the kid and his family and down toward a mountain hut. I think of how it tastes, how satisfying it is to snap it into pieces, how it always disappears so fast. I even think of the excitement of peeling back the wrapper and looking at the different designs etched into the surface. But it’s all pasta, granola, and peanuts until I reach a road.
At the hut, the caretaker asks me to help her start a generator to charge the emergency phone. It’s the kind that has a pull start you have to yank to get the engine going. We fiddle with it for a bit, I keep pulling as we try different buttons and settings but nothing gets the engine to turn over. I pull some more. Finally, just as we are about to give up, we stumble into the right combination of buttons, levers, and pulls, and the engine groans to life.
The two of us jump up and down in happiness and I’m about to continue on when she stops me.
“You want a piece of chocolate?” she asks.
Rain comes that afternoon. It soaks everything. The trail turns to mud. I trudge forward with my rain jacket dripping from the brim. My shoes barely grip the rocks. I stumble and slip. I crash down a steep section and fall into a pool of mud.
But I get up again, I keep walking, because what does it matter when you have a chocolate bar in your backpack.