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.