Sunday 2nd of August 2015. Still Kilpisharvi “vacation”

Tosca wil aandacht. Nestelt zich tussen mijn benen

Tosca asks for attention. Lies down between my legs.

Uitwasemen in de kou

Outside the sauna, in the cold wind.

De fotograaf probeert mij in het ijskoude en onstuimige meer te krijgen. Doet 'ie 't of doet ' ie 't niet?

The photographer is trying to get me in the icy cold lake.

Kaarten bestuderen en fotograferen

Studying and making pictures of maps.

Yesterday evening I decided to go the sauna. I didn’t feel like it, but as I am in the country of saunas and as the facility is there I might as well have a taste of this piece of culture. Men and women separated, but if you went outside to cool down and surely if you want to enter the icy cold lake, males and females were together again. Wishing two separate lakes, one for the Marsmen one for the Venus women,  would be a too great desire. I was in the dark sauna room together with someone my age. Silent. To demonstrate that I did not need a probably English-English conversation, I meditatively closed my eyes. Well, the man was kind enough to take a picture of me outside at the lake. Also, as a late submission to Fréderique’s request on Facebook, some 10 days ago, asking for pictures of the sauna then! The picture inside failed because the lens was covered with condense. Probably we scared the camera off.
It remains dirty, wet, cold, foggy weather. Temp. about 9-10 degrees C. Tuesday I want to go on. The weather forecast promises improvement from Tuesday: 12-15 degrees C. And less rain. No mention is made of the mosquitoes. And I’m just planning: taking into account all cabins, the distances between them, the number of sleeping places. There is a chance that, when I arrive late, the cabin is full and I still have to stay outside in my small tent with Tosca. The backpack must stay outside, in the open, covered with my poncho, hoping not to get everything soaked, or the poncho getting loose with the wind. You know, the solutions all seem so simple: just put up the tent. That’s possible, but it’s not that simple. As I wrote before, Tosca and I do not fit in together. Tosca likes to bite everything, and I do not like her to eat my duck feather’s sleeping bag. She chases the insects that have entered the tent, is dirty and, possibly like me, wet. I sleep in my clothes. They can be wet from the rain or sweat or condensation under the poncho or all three. Cooking with my Tosca monster in that miniature tent is not possible. Eating with a big dog on my lap is very hard. I can not sit in an upright position. Then buy a bigger tent. My tent is 800 gr. A bigger one easily weighs a few kilos extra. While for the next 180 km. I already have to carry 15 kilos extra, mostly food for myself and for Tosca. That’s about 30 kilos all together in my backpack. In the meantime I may have become an experienced hiker, but power lifting is not my hobby. So every solution has its downside.
So planning, counting, weighing. If I walk long distances, I only have to carry food for a few days. But if the weather is bad, extra difficult terrain, or many rivers to be crossed, I can not make those big distances. If I carry more food, to be sure, I can not walk as far. If I take less, I may have too little to eat and I will not get over my lack of energy. This improvisation also feels like a real challenge, exciting. Should I get that chest pain again, which I keep for sore ribs, but one never knows, I will anyway have to pause a lot more often. No nice feeling.
Tosca is locked up in my room, at her leash. Yesterday she had killed a pen and a razor blade, while I had already given her a rendeer bone. It’s about time for us to get going again.
Today shopping for the next 180 km. to Kautokeino. For dinner I bought a dinner package, which I thought was a complete evening meal. At least there was a picture on the package. From the Finnish text I could not read a yota. At home it turned out to be a pack of french fries. That is eatable too. As I stand in the kitchen, the two Groningers (Dutch province) whom I met 12 days ago, came in: Ton, who looks like singer Art Garfunkel of Bridge over Troubled Water and his friend Eric
We eat together. At first we talk about common acquaintances of the trip. They also encountered the young German long-haired Morritz and had long talked to him about his dilemma, which education he should choose. Morritz was a drummer in four different heavy metal bands. People often have a prejudice against me, because of that music, he had said. But we all agreed that it was a sympathetic 20 years old guy. And then about the adventure to trek hundreds of miles through Lapponia.
We are talking about how we experience our journey. 

Eric, fifty, 20 years ago spent 1.5 years in Asia, among others in Buddhist monasteries. When he returned to the Nl, he cited mantras, slipping a prayer string between his fingers. Had trouble integrating into our stressed performance society, where outside appearances seem more important than intrinsic values. Eric feels so special that during this walk, your thinking is at a minimum, when you have to live on your senses for many days: reflexively put your feet down properly; You smell, feel, see. Wind, water, cold, itchiness, fatigue, but also greed, endlessness, rest, vanity, relationship and the strength in your legs. Mind at zero, viewing the infinite environment. No time stress, but live on the margin of existence. It clears the mind. I often hear people say that life here is more authentic, devoid of all sorts of frills and from “drum und dran”. Some people retreat in a monastery, search for oriental or other wisdom, become followers of people who think they have wisdom. A lot of hikers here seek isolation, basic life, of which the hard life also is a part. I do not know if they find it. But here many home problems become relative, gives a sense of authenticity, spiritual ballast becomes superfluous. In this direction goes the answer to the question whether it’s fun. What it really is? Among others we talked about food. In this context, too, the remark of Australian Brend, whom I met on his journey from Cape North to southern Italy, was interesting. Brend said, I do not care what Hillary Clinton does. The Dutch, Ton and Eric, also did not miss the news, the TV. Ton and Eric had also met and spoken with Brend. We were talking about other encounters. For example, a Dutch couple of the mid sixty (oeh, how old!). He with a long gray beard. I had also met them, but had hardly spoken to them. And about my Swiss cabin collegue, 25 years young, of 1 week ago, who suddenly appeared at my cabin, completely exhausted, also on her way of about 800 km. People with “guts” who also dare to leave the secure paths of civil life.
And about what I’m going to do when I’m back. Just pick up everyday life and continue with more satisfaction and relativation the things I was doing: family, work, hobbies, contacts etc. So no hole I’m falling into. It was an interesting evening meal, even though the ingredients did not offer much variation: fries, baked in the pan, with sausage and for desert pudding.
By the way: I can’t send emails from here. Therefore, via my blog, the following info for film maker Rudi, who leaves 14th of August, to catch up with me, to film my final stage and film my arrival at Cape North:
  I arrive in the “town” of Kautokeino between the 11th and 14th of Aug. I take a few days off there to plan the final hiking phase. That’s another 350 km. through nobody’sland from Kautokeino to Cape North.
  On that route between Kautokeino and Cape North we can meet. There are some places where you can reach my route with the camper. Around the end of August, I expect to arrive at the Cape North.
  If I’m in Kautokeino, so between, 11, 12 or 13th of Aug, I will let you know more precisely. So far my info for Rudi.

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