Friday July 24th 2015. Gastastugan 12 km



Because Swedish-looking German with Swedish name Bjorn and French looking Swede stayed up till late yesterday evening, I got up late this morning. I need my rest here. So, nevertheless I chose the short route: 12 km. to the Gaska shed. Because there was a tile in the Lappjordhut, I could as well use it: Getting two buckets of water from the river. Boiling the water and next applying a minimum of physical hygiene using the plastic tile, a kind of baby bath.

While eating my oatmeal breakfast, last night’s German-Swedish duo showed up. They raised from their tents. The German Bjorn had burned a hole in his tent. His shoes were ready for replacement. Yes boy, a survivor’s path is not over roses. a little later the cabin guardian came. Of course, that took a while, including talking about the culture of the Samen. Then washing dishes, cleaning everything. Rather hard if you have only one bucket of water to go to the river. Today is a late start: departure at 11.45. But yes, the route is only 4 hours. It’s raining occasionally (so no mosquitoes?) And with such a short route, I might also have a chance to film something for cineast Rudi. On verra.

What’s wrong with me? A little up mountain and I’m broken. Not in my legs. They always march on. But no energy. Heart rate is good at 120-140 / min., depending on the effort. That’s normal for a steady state excercise. So cardiopulmonary, the diagnosis is still positive. But I know what it is: too little food, using up the energy, no calories. And then the recurrent pain in the breast ribs. At least, I make myself think that’s what it is. After breakfast  walking is heavy for one hour because of that heavy back pack. The weight feels like 100 kg. Just have to break sweat. Then it’ ll go fine until breakfast calories have been burnt. Actually, I have to refuel then. But then Atlas (me) has to unload the whole globe: opening the backpack, sitting down. If I do so, the bugs attack me and Tosca in great herds. Then Tosca is wrapped in my cape to protect her when she lies down.

Niet evenwicht verliezen op dat bruggetje. Tosca even los maken? Och, ben je gek. Tant pis!

Don’t get out of balance on that little bridge. Better unleashing Tosca? Oh, come on. Tant pis!




Cozy Gaska cabin.


Getting water from the river.

Next gathering all the stuff, packing, lifting that heavy pack on my back again. That all will be too much for me, so I’ll  just go on one more hour, two hours, three hours, four hours, until I finally arrive at the Gaska cabin today. Then keep the energy bars and food ready, put the mosquito net on your head, greasing it with oil. I do it all, but in my bags must also fit gps, camera, glasses, phone, route book, detailed map, mosquito oil, pocket knife, key of the cabins and one hand must hold Tosca. On top of  that all the food for Tosca and for me. And since all these provisions do not fit into the pockets of my cloths and I also do not feel like each time unpacking everything and then packting it all again, I simply march on. Tosca, who doesn’t get very much food any more, is looking for mice and lemmings. As I balance from stone to brick over a brook, she jumps acute to the other side, or when we walk over wooden shelves laying in a swamp, she dives to a lemming, which stay preferably under those shelves. If those shelves are wet, which not rarely is the case, those shelves are very slippery. It occurs quite often that Tosca, returning to me upon my yelling, wraps the leash between her legs and next turns around me again, pulling me over. On boards, when crossing a brook, or when going uphill, almost exhausted, this can not be compared to a cozy forest walk with your doggy at the belt. Narrow wooden shelfs bridge across a dangerous river, see picture. If you fall in it, then that is the end. Nice? Do not ask that anymore. It’s sh… And at the same time great, dramatic, fat-cool, gives a cick, me alone with my dog in an endless wilderness. Adam in paradise inferno.
The mosquitoes remind me of Das Rote Pferd, a German carnival schlager on the melody of Edith Piaff’s “milord”: Da hat das rote Pferd, Sich einfach umgekehrt, und hat es mit dem Schwanz die Fliege abgewehrt, Die Fliege war nicht dum, Und Machte sumsumsum, Und flug mit viel Gesum ums rote Pferd herum. And now I am das Rote Pferd. We used to have a Dutch text there: A woman was killed, With a curtain cord, Her husband did it. Now he’s the banana. He’d better not done it, he’s the banana now. Pri-i-i-ison. So thanks to those mosquitoes there is music in my mind.
After Tosca has added to her diet the daily little game, I fix her in the Gaska cabin’s front porch. Actually she is not allowed inside. I do some filming, among others, the humorous urinoir: that’s a place behind the cabin with a sign on a pole with the text urinal, sølevann. I thouht solevann meant sunshine. Photo. You know. Maybe Sunshine is a euphemism for urinoir. just like those elderly homes “sunset”,  etc. Later, I understand that solevann means water. Water I get out of the probably well known (?) Gaskasjåka River, 200m. steep downhill. Photo. When I come back to the Gaskas cabin, Tosca proudly shows me huge rendeer antlers. Photo.
I could still walk tomorrows stage of 17 km, but I agreed with film maker Rudi that he will accompany me the last two weeks or so of my trip, in August, and if I’m going too fast, I’ll be there before Rudi. A good excuse to calm down and experience the greatness and magnificence of this empty, immeasurable landscape. If I want to walk double stages, I better do so if the backpack is more empty in a few days or so. On verra (we’ll see). “On verra” makes me think of surprising simularity between international expressions: In Nijmegen, if college started too late, one spoke of an academic 15 minutes. In Limburg, a quarter of an hour is almost standard. In Spain, the mañana and in northern Africa Insh Allah, which is used in my Dutch Limburg region again as “es God bleef”  ( if it pleases Him) Quisas, Quisas, Quisas (beautiful Spanish melody, the text being the answer of a madonna to a lover’s questions).

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