Allright y’all… After all these years it’s time for an updated gear list and description. While I was very busy the past couple years living and taking care of our baby (now toddler) (indeed) with no time for blogging or social media, we have continued hiking and going on adventures as a family and I did make some changes in the gear I use… Mainly because hiking with a baby or a toddler is a whole other thing (if you’re a parent yourself you know what I’m talking about), but there were also one or two items that started to fail and I had to buy new.Continue reading
- Trip report
- Travel season for ski touring and hiking in Lapland
- Gear list and short gear review
- Food for a backcountry ski tour
- Traveling to Lapland by car
- What would I do differently next time?
- If you’d like some music while reading, this would be the song to go with: John Butler Trio – Wait for spring to come
Trip report: 11 days along the Padjelantaleden, through Sarek National Park and along the Kungsleden
It’s early for Sarek is the reaction we get from most locals when we tell them we’re heading out for a ski tour through Sarek National Park. It’s only February. A lot of snow… And cold! While Sarek is often called one of Europe’s last wildernesses, for the Sami people, whose land this is, it isn’t “wild”, for them it has always been home for the summer. It is where in May their reindeer will give birth to their calves and will spend the short snowfree time up in the mountains, growing strong for the cold and dark winter. Sápmi stretches from northern Norway, over northern Sweden and Finland, all the way to northern Russia. A tundra landscape north of the arctic circle. In winter the sun barely touches the horizon and snow covers the bushes, lichen, mosses, birch and pine trees. It’s the land where the Gods speak through Northern Lights high in the starry sky…
While we normally would head South in winter, this year things come differently. Ever since surgery life has changed. Instead of sweet I eat savory breakfast, instead of getting up at the crack of dawn I stay in bed till the birds are long done singing their morning song, instead of traveling South I travel North. Never before had I really felt the pull of the nordic landscape, but when we couldn’t agree on a place to go to South Dan suggested Sarek and everything in me said Yes. Maybe because doing the opposite of what I used to do feels good. My life has been turned upside down, my body is no longer fully abled, but my sense for adventure has survived. The past half a year I’ve lived with the question “How do I live my life well, really well, even with chronic pain?” Continue reading
- Whitewater Trailhead – Jefferson Park – Park Ridge – back down to & camp at Scout Lake – Whitewater Trailhead
- Total mileage: about 11 or 12 miles
- Trail conditions: smooth trail through pine forests, gently upill till the creek crossing before you hit the PCT. After that there was no trail visible, as almost completely covered under snow. I assume it’s easy hiking through Jeff Park once the snow is gone though ;-P
From my hospital bed I crawl onto the operating table. I am shaking. Not because of the cold air in the operating room but because I am scared.
“Are you nervous?” the nurse asks me. “I am scared,” I say. “Why?” This time it’s my anesthesiologist asking. The same one who helped with my PAO surgery. I remember his face. And the fact that he doesn’t seem to be an asshole, like they say most anesthesiologists are. “Last time was so horrible.” “Ya, that was a major and very painful surgery!” We both agree.
They ask me to spread my arms to the side. I feel tied down like on a cross. When they try to put the IV in I look straight up to the ceiling, from where the huge lights will soon shine on my unconscious body. They use me as a pin cushion. “Your veins are tiny,” they say. I know. Nobody ever finds them on their own, they always need help from someone else. I could use some help here too. A kind word. Someone telling me everything is gonna be ok. Please. I fight back my tears. I could use some help too. But then they put the mask over my mouth, tell me to breathe, I try to keep my eyes open, I fail. Forced to surrender. Into nothing. Into where they cut me open. The scar I’ve been taking care of for the past 9 months. Back to the beginning. Continue reading
- Top Spur Trailhead – Timberline Trail – Camp on ridge above Mc Neil Point – back along the much steeper short-cut between Mc Neil Shelter and the Timberline Trail – Bald Mountain – Top Spur Trailhead
- Total mileage: About 10 miles (totally doable in a dayhike if you have “healthy” body (not like mine I mean with that… even though my body is pretty awesome 😉
- Trail condition: Smooth sailing through pine forest and easy trails, quite some snow left though (beginning of July 2017) after Bald Mountain. Steep trail if you don’t follow the trail along the ponds but going straight up/down between Mc Neil Shelter and the Timberline Trail. We chose that trail on the way back down because the other trail was still covered in snow, and snow is -right now for me- harder to walk on. That cutoff trail is steep, a bit slippery but totally doable and not super exposed.
We get out of the car at Top Spur TH. A lady asks us where we’re going and if we hiked this trail before. No we say. But she has and so she gives us all kinds of advice of what to do and where to go.
The trail winds its way up through hemlock and douglas fir till it reaches the PCT… Till it reaches the PCT… Yes, I wrote that twice. The PCfuckinT! The trailsign… I could’ve kissed it but I don’t cause there are people around. O this trail is so intertwined with my own life’s trail the past years. After we had to get off trail two years ago because of my hips I had a hard time dealing with anything trailrelated. It just hurt. It took me a year or more to be able to look at maps again, or pictures, without feeling a knot in my belly and a sting in my heart. I now look at the trail differently I guess. The land quietly waiting for me till I’m ready to come back. I don’t know when I’ll be ready and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to hike long distances again… But I know the land is patient. Continue reading
- Easy and really beautiful dayhike with great views on Mt. Hood + Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Jefferson in the distance.
- About 3.2 miles up, same way back down. 6.4ml total.
- Gently uphill.
- Come early as it’s a popular hike and the TH parking lot fills quickly.
- Big thank you to Wired for helping me find this hike!!!
We drive up in the clouds and get one of the last spots at the trailhead to Mirror Lake. Despite of the 20 cars parked, we hardly meet anyone on the way up to Mirror Lake. I feel like walking through some exotic yet strangely familiar forest. Pinetrees are towering high but underneath rhododendrons bloom. Birds sing and it’s magical.
The trail zigzags up gently and before we know it we’re at mirror lake. There’s not much to see in the mirror, but my own face. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s what it’s about. Looking into the mirror of my own nature might be just the right thing to do while waiting for the clouds to set the mountain free. Continue reading
- Eagle Creek Trailhead – camp at 7 1/2 miles camp – Eagle Creek TH;
- passing Punchbowl falls, High Bridge, Tunnel Falls, Crossover Falls.
- Total miles: 15-16. (Definitely doable in a day too if you have a healthy body)
- Trail condition: gently uphill, some steep dropp offs
We are parked under the Bridge of the Gods. I’m not walking across. I am under it. Sitting in a car. I feel a sting in my heart. A big part of me just wants to grab my pack and head out on the PCT. Northbound, southbound, who the hell cares. Just “bound”. Meeting the trail feels like meeting an old love you never quite stopped loving. There’s a heartbreak, yet a sweetness too. A longing. Maybe a belonging.
Instead we drive towards the Eagle Creek Trailhead, which makes the heartbreak a little less painful. I’ve been wanting to hike under Tunnel Falls for such a long time. Today will be the day… if my body allows it. My first hike, seven months after surgery. And to be honest, I don’t mind right now that I can’t hike long distances. At this point in my life I am just so so damn grateful that I cán walk. It’s been so hard learning to walk again. And even though every step still hurts, I walk with such joy and such gratitude. Ah. It’s all a miracle. I just love every part of the movement. Lifting my leg, stretching it forward, putting my foot down, shifting my balance, … A fucking miracle… and hard work, but noone ever said miracles don’t need to be worked for (or did someone, a well I guess someone did)… Continue reading
Did you ever feel broken?
Do you know that frozen second of time where you can see a cup falling down, not yet having touched the floor? That second where you hold your breath, where time stands still and you know it’s too late to fight what is meant to be, that sacred in between of an old life that is about to fall apart and a new life in which the puzzle pieces are trying to find the place that has been theirs all along.
Maybe you cover your ears with your hands not to hear the cringing sound of breaking porcelain, crushing bones and shattering hearts. Maybe you close your eyes not to see the damage that is about to happen right in front of you. Or maybe you just stand there and that moment of all or nothing becomes your world. Maybe just for a while.
And then when the life of that one second comes to an end, you fall to your knees and you fight back your tears because you know that when you weep for too long it will be just too damn hard to find your sherds through the fog. And maybe you can’t find them all, maybe some remain hidden under the heaviest piece of furniture in the corner of your living room till you die and then your kids get rid of that old cupboard and just swipe away the long forgotten parts of your self with the rest of the dust. And maybe that is just the way things should be. Continue reading
I have been doing… nothing really. Apart from growing bones and letting my wounds heal. But maybe that is not “nothing”.
2 weeks ago I came home to my parents place. I have a hospital bed in their living room, a recliner from my great aunt who died last September, as well as her wheelchair, and my grandma’s walker. I love it how my aunt seems to help me, reaching across the border of life and death.
My days are… boring really. I spend the mornings in the recliner, pushing the backward- and forward-button a thousand times as I can’t sit in the same position for more that 10 minutes. My butt hurts. Yes sitting on broken bones hurts. And it freaks me out thinking of what my pelvis looks like under my skin. A puzzle of fractures and screws trying to settle and grow back together. Around noon a nurse comes to give me my daily shot of blood thinner. It’s hard to find much fat on my stomac (see it’s not always good to be skinny) to put the needle in and so these shots aren’t the most pleasant to me. After lunch I move to my bed cause I can no longer sit. And then I nap, watch Netflix (I’m still too exhausted to start reading, even though a bunch of wonderful books is waiting for me), nap some more and ask Daniel to help me out of bed to get to the bathroom. O my days are so exciting :cP Continue reading
PAO trail – day zero: December 4th 2016:
It’s 4 pm and I get into the car like a normal person for the last time. Today has been a day of “last times for a while”. I’m surprisingly calm when we take on the 2 hour drive to the hospital where my surgery will take place. We arrive shortly before 6pm, I get out and my stomac turns. The lady at the reception desk tells me where to go but I need to pee first. Another thing I won’t be doing on my own for a while. We arrive at the ortho unit, and it takes us a while till we find somebody who brings us to my room. I asked for a 2 person room, cause the one person rooms I just can’t afford. There’s no space left in a two person room, so they put me in a 3 person one, in the saddest place one can possible think of. Squeezed in between a closet and another sick person. No personal space what so ever, no window, absolute sadness. This must be the Harry Potter spot. Continue reading