Europe N to S: White Spaces (8/19-8/25)

Today’s Miles: 25.5

Total Miles: 1,116.7

Børgefjell National Park – August 19, 2016

Today’s Miles: 23.2
Total Miles: 1,139.9

Gaukarvatnet – August 20, 2016

Today’s Miles: 28.3
Total Miles: 1,168.2

Røyrvik, Norway – August 21, 2016

Today’s Miles: 16.5
Total Miles: 1,184.7

Tunnsjøen – August 22, 2016

Today’s Miles: 26.5
Total Miles: 1,211.2

Skardfjellet – August 23, 2016

Today’s Miles: 21.5
Total Miles: 1,232.7

Near Tranjen, Norway – August 24, 2016

Today’s Miles: 30.3
Total Miles: 1,263

Near Åsa – August 25, 2016

The trail winds over ridges of rocky highlands and down into valleys at the fringe of civilization. Farm houses and fields fill the low country. Giant tractors leave plastic wrapped rolls of grass behind them like cocoons ready for farmers to pack away and save for winter. 
I lose the trail near the edge of a field and wander forward, picking up hints of a path in places, losing it through bogs, following a fence stretching away from the valleys and back to the mountains. I cross back and forth over where I think the trail should be, searching for some sign of it. A pile of rocks. A painted stone. Footprints. Then I give up and pick my way forward until I stop high on a broad peak to set up camp as subset plays out in the distance.

I won’t find more than a fragment of trail for six days.

I piece my way forward. High, rocky mountains as rainstorms come and go. Dropping to a lake and scrambling over a dam to cross a broad river. Dirt and pavement roads. A small grocery store  and a pavilion with an outlet to charge my phone. More roads. A bit of trail that is a half day of hope before it turns right when I should go left. Roads again. And rain. Rain almost every day. Hiding under a bridge. Sleeping on a picnic table. Bushwhacking through a forest as trees clawed at me. More roads. More fields. More tractors with their cocoons of grass. Another grocery store. Another chance to charge.

Then a last march up to meet the trail, to find it in wind-driven rain and hope that this time I can hang on.

These days feel like the white spaces between words. They don’t speak on their own. There are no moments that leap off the page. But their miles are as important as any of the rest. Even without ink, they count the same because without them, the rest of the page is meaningless. 

4 thoughts on “Europe N to S: White Spaces (8/19-8/25)

  1. At Waterton today. Saw the ending of your Continental Divide Trail. Kootenay Lake had no moose but two Trumpeter Swans. Love the thoughts of your entry today.

  2. Oh man, you have been moving really fast considering where I met you and where you are now! :-O

    Do you still have those same shoes on? Or got a new pair sent to you? How are they holding on?

    If you need to replace your shoes soon, have a look at one exciting new American company called Topo Athletic. They have some nice trail shoes called Runventure, MT-2 and Hydroventure with only 2-3 mm heel drop. They have wide toe box, yet narrow heel and some nice 19-23 mm stack height so you should not get your feet wet every time if there are some little puddles of water on the trail. These shoes have been praised to be really good by Runner’s World, National Geographic etc. and I’m planning to buy them for my next hike. You can find their distributors in Norway, Denmark and Netherlands through manufacturer’s website.

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