I found a comfortable place on the steep slope to sleep at round 11pm. Not that easy, lots of rocks, running water in the moss, but this was a little higher and only slightly sloping. What if it rained, not a tree in sight to hang up the hammock? But the sky was blue blue, the panorama beyond description so I bedded down. It’s funny during such a night the rocks beneath the lovely spongey moss gradually make themselves known. The slope seems to get a bit steeper during the night so you slide slowly and gently down. However I slept pretty good. But the best thing was to wake around 5 peep out from the scarf over my head. And looking at the landscape was like looking at my own self. This has happened to me before with people. With four other people. I’ve looked at them and it was like looking in a mirror except much more weird and far more wonderful. So I never knew this could happen with a landscape! It only lasted a short time.
At about 6.30 I started walking. On the map it showed a lake which you had to walk beside to get to the Norwegian tourist hut. For those of you who are not Norsk I can mention that this may sound like a hut for tourists but in fact it’s a log cabin where mainly Norwegian walkers stay, a very cool and rather old fashioned organisation. So I went down to the lake, thought of having a swim, the weather was fair, but didn’t get beyond the calves. Ate up a large proportion of my modest rations and continued. Peculiar that the path seemed to have disappeared. The young men who I met near the top last night had said there was a path but I afterwards wondered if they had seen me trying to eat some Rosenrot. A beautiful root which was growing in large quantities on the mountain. I have drunk it as tea which is very good so I dug some up and tried to eat it but it was disgusting so I spat it violently out. I thought I was quite alone in these mountains but now I wondered if they had seen me doing this and were so shocked that they had just said yes there is a path when there clearly wasn’t one. So on I marched gamefully. Well marched is hardly the word for this terrain, scrambled and climbed is more like it. There was a bit of land sticking out into the lake on the map which was reassuring as there was also a sticking out bit here. On the map the sticking out bit seemed very low however which didn’t seem to be the case here. And as I climbed further and further up and went further and further round I couldn’t help noticing that it was extremely steep. Like holding onto the mountainside, and hoping not to fall down steep. Yesterday when I had wanted to walk over another mountain or round by the fjord a woman who had grown up there said no way. She said don’t believe everything the map says. Well I thought now they really have done rather a bad job with this map and they haven’t even drawn in the power lines.
An hour or so more struggling and I looked at the map again. Oho. There was a sticking out bit on the other side that was not on the map. Surely they couldn’t have got that wrong too? At last I got it. The lake on the map which I thought was this one was hidden. On the map you can see it but actually it was higher up behind another mountain. Miles away now. Yesterday I missed the ferry and today I misread the map. There must be a meaning here somewhere. So I just had to get back there. Slowly. It had taken me over 3 hours to get where I was.
And I remembered another thing. Yesterday the man I met told me lots of stories. Stories of things that have gone wrong. In the end I felt it was a bit much. But he told me that a few years ago there was an young American guy who was staying in the place we were. And he had gone out one morning and after some time they began to worry. He had gone over the mountain I was planning on walking and they think he must have been caught by a strong wind, they found his body 400 metres below. So I walked very carefully. Walking walking. Do you every have the feeling that you walk and walk and you are never going to get there? I did, yesterday. I wondered if I would actually get to the top of that mountain. It was hard to beleive that I would. It was hard not to get lost in worry and fear. On the other side I thought it would be fine.
I had run out of water. It was hot, I was getting very tired. And I only had a bit of food. After hundreds of small rests and climbs and looks at the map I got to some snow near the top. Someone once said never eat old snow and I heard the water trickling below so I tried to find it. Feeling a little like the explorer Sven Hedin who had walked over the Taklamakan desert. But in the end I couldn’t work out what could be so bad about old snow. It was fantastic! I decided to turn on my phone and I got a message ‘ I love you.’ Mari the younget strikes again. A few days ago on Røst I tried to call her sister Ellen for the first time in 10 days though I knew she had lost her phone. Half an hour later she called me from another number. Ellen, I said, How did you know I called you? She didn’t. Telepathy is wonderful stuff.
So anyway I got over the top, and walked on and on feeling about 75 years old and trying to work out what I can lose from my pack. After 11 hours I got to the place where the tourst hytte should be but I couldn’t find it. It was starting to rain and there were loads of midges so I now look like Drakula has bitten me. I heard a car in the distance and walked back towards it. I found a man outside what I thought was his hytte and asked if he knew where to find the tourist hytte. It was here, just there was only a small sign on the other side. Inside it turned out there was no food. Well well no problem. But the man seemed to think I was pretty stupid. Perhaps he had a point?
In any case an incredibly nice couple came along a bit later. It was so nice to talk to them and today they shared their breakfast with me and drove me a couple of kilometers on my way. I mean it often surprises me how many nice and intelligent people there are in the world.