Thursday July 23rd 2015. Altvatten, 25 km.

Terwijl mijn voetjes opdrogen even rust en dan...

While my feet are drying after crossing the river, I get a moment rest and then…

...dan komt Brend uit Australië. Gaat ook 7000 km. wandelen

…Then I meet Brend from Australia. He also wants to traverse Europe 7000 Km. from North to South.

Nu Brends beurt om door de rivier te waden

Now Brend’s turn to cross the river


Het samendorp. Ziet er m.i niet erg vrolijk uit

Far away the Sami settlement. Doesn’t look very appealing to me

In de verte het Samidorp. Ziet er m.i. niet echt vrolijk uit

Close up from between Tosca’s ears



Altavattn cabin

Vóór blonde Duitser Bjorn. Achter donkerogige Zweed Nikkels.

The blond German Bjorn in front. The Swedish guy with dark eyes, Nikkels, standing behind.

Weer op pad

On the road again

Wat een pracht. Een wereld helemaal voor mij alleen. Schone lucht, drinken uit de rivier, geen afval. Niemand die mij haast. Niemand die je vermaant.

How beautifull. An entire world just for me. Clean air, drinking from the river, no trash. Nobody hurrying me. No one telling me what to do.

Ook voor Tosca moet het interessant blijven. Hier een stuk rendiergewei

Also for Tosca it should stay interesting. Here she found rendeer antlers.

Tosca glimt van gezondheid. Ik schrijf dit, omdat vóór mijn reis wel een dierenbeul werd genoemd.

Tosca’s fur is shining of good health. I write this because before my trip people told me this was animal cruelty.

Net over de pas kom ik op een hoogvlakte met in de verte een Samennederzetting

Right across the pass I am on a plateau with far away a Sami settlement


Where to go? Don’t get lost here. Down there across that river?

Wat een pracht. Een wereld helemaal voor mij alleen. Schone lucht, drinken uit de rivier, geen afval. Niemand die mij haast. Niemand die je vermaant.

Waar kom ik hier er overheen?

Where can I cross here?

Geen keus. An 'm!

No choice. Get going.

Steep mountain peaks. Beautiful landscape, meditative, perfect weather, photos. Two times I had to cross a high pass. Lots of wet snow, a bit scared to  sink through a snow bridge. A snow bridge is a snowfield, sometimes 20m wide, sometimes a few hundred, bridging a brook or a river under it. I thought if you sink in there a few meters and you get into icy cold water, you’ll freeze in a minute. Phone no reach, so in that case my adventure will end there. And, there are worse ways to go down. A real hero is a pilot who goes down in flames, a sailor who is drowning, a mountain climber in an avalanche, and me, sinking in a snow bridge. Haha, better to just make fun of it. I have already fulfilled my procreative functions, and with great pride! (Hope my children take note of this), undoubtedly I made my Sonja happy (and now Tosca!), I used my social opportunities, with the help of my wife Sonja and my much esteemed fellow practitioners and last but not least I bred a beautifull flock of Mergelland sheep, to name but a few.
I’m walking around the Coal’bmoai’vi mountain. Follow the Gasakjåkka River.
Finally, I come on top of the valley of the Vuomajåkka, cross there the first of today’s two passes, here at about 1000 m. altitude, which is 500 m. above the tree line. This saddle is located between the tops of the Cap’pesbak’ti and the Ganesbakti. So now everyone knows exactly where I am! For many hours almost continuously through the snow.
How do I get across that river down there? The fast-flowing mountain river Vuomajåkka is a few tens of meters wide, mostly about half a meter deep, but with many large, slippery boulders that protrude above the water. However, also much deeper pieces with fast flowing water and waterfalls. Taking off my backpack, shoes off, putting on water shoes, drying on the other side of the river, being attacked by the bugs, putting on my walking shoes again, backpacking again, it all takes a lot of time. And if you happen to find a good place to cross, be careful not to lose your balance on those edges of often smooth, rocky blocks, with a too heavy backpack. So first I go searching a few hundred meters upstream, then downstream, looking for a bridgeable piece with many rocks. Bad luck. Then just get going. Nevertheless, shoes off. The water is icy cold, but now no time for softies. OK. Wir haben es wieder geschafft. We did it again. I give myself a break, to let the feet dry, and, playing the hard guy, I somewhat ignore the attacks of the mosquitoes.
And there comes Brend. Brend is an Australian guy from Melbourne, 37 y. young. Although I did not know the details, he was completely fed up with his living situation. I do not care what presidency candidate Hillary Clinton does, he said. He also dreamed of going to Patagonia, in Argentina. Hopes he can make a living with travelling. Brend had bought an apartment 10 years ago in Melbourne. He paid off his mortgage in 10 years and now received 150 E a week for rent. That’s what he must live on. Brend wants to walk 7000 km. from Cape North to the South of Italy, the E-1 hiking trail.

Brend again encountered two Germans who also walk from Cape North to the South of Italy. But they only go for the performance, for the result. They continuously follow the shortest street route. Seems a trend. That asphalt running does not appeal to me, even though the performance is no less. Although my route is not primarily intended to be cultural and although the social contacts not always take the first place, I like having followed many ancient pilgrimages and other routes, such as the Roman Via de la Plata, across Spain, the Santiagoroutes in Spain, France and Belgium, the modern Dutch Pieterpad,  the hundreds of years old Marskramersroute near Twente (Nl) and Germany, also known as the Handelsweg, the medieval Ochsenweg in northern Germany and further across Denmark. And the 650 km. Olavs pilgrimage route through a beautiful part of Norway and Sweden, the King’s Road, Kungsleden In Sweden, and now the Nordkalottleden that runs through Sweden, Norway and here in Finland and continuing in Norway again in a few days. Apart from interesting landscapes, there are a lot of cultural side effects.
After an interesting hour for my feet to get dry, Brend and I continue our journeys in  opposite directions. Photo of Brend wading through river Vuomajåkka.
Three times today a river is crossed, freezing cold, not slipping. Tosca is being taken away by the river once, but to her it seems fun rather than awkward. The dog is incredable. Never exhausted. Just like some of the dogs of Australian aboriginals turned into the wild some 10.000 years ago and managed to keep themselves alive in the wild, the later dingo’s, I think that Tosca would be successful. About 10-20 percent of her food she catches herself, walking on a leash !, mostly lemmings. Her fur is shining of health, never tired. Snowfields are her lust and her life. She rolls and rolls and slides down the snow slope on her back, also to cool the mosquito bites. Now, July 31st, at my Altvatten cabin, she stays outside, tied up, waiting until I finish updating blogs from July 23rd to 31st.
We descend along a sami summer settlement all the way down the valley Lai’revag’gi, right on the slope of the Ruaov’doalvit. Their cottages are less than my overnight cabins. Here and there next to the cabin a quod or how do you write that?
The trip was planned to last 8 hours, but it took 11 hours, due to the snow and my heavy backpack. Tosca made it even more complicated, because today she did not want to pull me uphill, being preoccupied by hunting. Extremely annoying, hard trotting uphill, exhausting my forces with that weight and then a powerful dog who is contantly looking for lemmin , pulling me to the right or left or backwards on the steep slope, She suddenly dashes aside, with the result that I have to fiercely pull her back to force her on the often unclear path. Sometimes her intentions are good, wanting to direct me unto the wrong path. Then again, I jerk at her leash, hurting my already painfull ribs. Meanwhile, the choice is either the mosquito net in front of my face, so I see all details a little less, or to sprawl myself with mosquito oil, but then too you still have the annoying buzzing around your ears. Yes, this is up to my maximum. But once we reached the top of the slope , I can laugh triumphantly again. Himmelhoch jauchzend, zum Toden betrübt. And while I write this, I think it’s great again. No soft weaning here, no mellow yellow, simply going on, both Tosca and me.
After dinner in the Altvatten cabin, which consisted of a packet of dried trekker meal, to be prepared with boiled water and for dessert a plate of oatmeal with water, milk powder and a spoonful of honey, two men came in between 20 and 30, They had met on the trail and now travelled together: Nikles, a Swede with dark eyes and Bjorn, a big blonde German. Photo. Actually, you should be the Swede,dark-headed Swedish Nickles joked against high-blond German Bjorn. Bjorn’s shoes were already broken after a few hundred meters. It’s very cold at the feet, if you have to go through those wet snowfields, he’d experienced. He also talked, smiling, about a river in which he had gotten into the ice water, through a mistake, until his chest. Cool young guy.
Niclaas Johanson told about a trip to Tailand. He was asked for his name there. His first name was understood as necklace, his last name as handsome). Laughter.
We talked about all kind of things, the late Austrian-extreme right politician Haider, who got killed in a car accident a few years ago,  Onno Hoes, the gay ex-mayor of Maastricht, a German man who was fired because of his publication of a photo of a woman with a naked breast on facebook, about jokes that make countries about other countries. Swede asks why Norwegians don’t carry a helmet on the motor cycle, but a hat? If you throw a helmet from the mountain it breaks, but a hat does not. And some more of such crazy jokes. So again we have a nice evening.
  Tomorrow I can choose between a 4-hours route to the next cabin Gaska, or another 6 hours further, to the Vuoma cabin. The men stayed with me in the cabin, even though they were supposed to go to sleep outside in the tent. At midnight I gave up. If I want to choose the option of a long route tomorrow, I have to go to bed in time. Actually it is too late. Do not become too rigid, Harrie. Take life the way it comes. We’ll see, on verra. That’s the name of the movie that Rudi wants to make about my trip. Reason why I drag a Rudi movie camera with me, even wading across those rivers. And I also do movie recordings regularly. Hope that Rudi’s plan succeeds. On verra.

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