Europe N to S: Paddle, Paddle, Paddle (9/29/16)


Today’s Miles: 22.6

Total Miles: 1,968.6

30km southwest of Hjo, Sweden – September 29, 2016

I kick off my shoes and hold my feet in my hands. The skin feels thick and rough on the bottom. Pieces of it crack and flake away as run my hands over the soles, replaced by the next callous underneath. 

I flex and straighten my toes, feeling the bones along the ball of my foot move, working out a bit of soreness in the muscles.

The wind was fierce today, rolling over the hills, pumping through wind turbines that spun huge white blades in the air above the trees. It would have been cold without the sun breaking through the clouds to light the day, but the sun came and pushed back winter for another moment.

The trees are a bit greener than they were at the Swedish border, greener than on the southern Kungsleden, greener than Mora. It’s like winter is a wave crashing slowly forward and I’ve caught that sweet spot where gravity pulls you forward and down the face.

Cool, crisp air that makes it easy to walk for hours. Changing leaves light the horizon and urge me forward. The sweet smell of fall drifts around me.

I massage my thumbs across the arch of my foot, sinking them into the muscles and joints, relishing the dull pain slipping out.

I’ve thrown everything into the miles since Mora, rising in the dark to pry myself out of my sleeping bag into the cool morning air, walking past sunset to squeeze a few more steps into the days, racing south as fast as I can without breaking body or will.

I switch feet and begin massaging the other one. They will recover by morning, ready to push again, ready to stay with the wave for as long they can, hanging on before winter crashes over us.

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4 thoughts on “Europe N to S: Paddle, Paddle, Paddle (9/29/16)

  1. Great picture D. Happy that you are finally seeing stretches of favorable weather. P.s. Saw a moose in the middle of Pinedale, WY 3 weeks ago just walking through.

  2. Good Morning…

    We had our weekly Alvarez Adventure discussion—I shared your answers to our questions, and then a big question came up: “solar powered” batteries??? Where does he carry a solar panel?? Does he wear it on his head? Does his backpack have a panel on the top or back??

    We want to send pictures of our discussions and the maps that we are tracking your progress—we now have you crossing over into Denmark, right? Your Dad is thinking of coming out to talk with us—he thought it would be good for the kids to see your “house;” tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove/kitchen, and we want to see your shoes—why did you need new shoes? The principal wants to set a date and time for your dad to come out—I still need to talk with him, but it would be great to have a video of you setting up your “house.”
    Our technology guy said he could set up an Instagram or some other online photo sharing site—any preference?
    Is there a time on a day that we could skype you since it is light for so long?

    Hope to talk with you and share some of OUR pictures with you soon. We understand your technology issues. So glad you got new batteries!!

    Mr. Miller and Mrs. Bellflower’s Class.

  3. To preface Carlos’ comment, we had hiked to several lakes to see moose, but saw only moose tracks, but we did get to enjoy a pair of trumpeter swans! Then driving through Pinedale one evening, a moose walked across the road in front of the car in the middle of town! 😎

  4. Having begun packing south on the summer solstice, it is fitting that you would feel the pressure of the sun’s march south and the turning of the seasons in a very immediate way. I am happy for you to be in this sweep of natural time.

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