It’s a funny feeling. Actually, I have always been slightly ahead of my schedule since the beginning. This allowed me to be on the road with serenity without time pressure. Just before I started to the last stage, I realized that I need for it only 7-8 days. I fixed September 22 for the arrival at Cape Lindesnes already weeks ago with the family. A luxury problem: how do I dawdle the approximately 10 days? At the same time, the sportsman in me appears: I could still reach the destination in less than 100 days. But overall I have hiked enough… What the heck. Now it’s just me who gives me the task to do something extra. That’s actually what I’ve always detested, that doing things quickly is often “rewarded” with extra work.
The weather forecast is good or at least precipitation-free until further notice. I anyway don’t bear out sitting around and doing nothing for more than 2 hours. Therefore to make a detour even further to the southwest is the most obvious solution. Further I can still reduce the daily distance. All together results in only a few additional days. Hence, I may reward myself with some more rest days. I will use these to document my findings from the past months, which would take place otherwise probably hardly in this depth.
It is not that easy to benefit from the shorter distances and correspondingly more time available on the trail or at the overnight stop. I tend to dawdle around more, only to realize in the course of the day that I have to accelerate in order to still reach the daily destination. This reminds me of my student days. During the training breaks almost every evening hecticness broke out because I had to go shopping for dinner shortly before closing time, which otherwise never happened in the tightly timed daily schedule with studies and sports.
Even the recording of the findings, is a rather short thing. If it’s up to me, I’ll have the same job and the same wife after my adventure and also remain otherwise probably largely the old. The equipment I would not change for another time and only add a travel sheet. This is mandatory in the cabins and in the serviced huts this is enforced. You have to pay about 10 CHF each time. The only thing I missed was a telephoto lens to reasonably depict animals. The further adjustments concern at most areas, where I was too lazy in the situation to convert my fanned solution. For example, I use thin cross-country gloves against cold hands. These warm only moderately. I love to wear them in the morning in combination with a T-shirt and the windbreaker vest. If the weather is nasty, I would have to put plastic bags over it. Although these are handy in the outer compartment of the backpack, I have never used them. With the sleeping system consisting of a sleeping pad and the sleeping bag I am not completely satisfied. The pad leaked from the beginning. After 1.5-3 hours I was lying on the cold ground and had to blow a few puffs of air into it. Finding the two small holes was not easy. Lesson learned: test it at home for hours before use, instead of just briefly inflate and pack it again. I have the impression that the sleeping bag warms slightly less than the old, although both indicate the same temperature range. On the other hand it is quite possible that my body is meanwhile so emaciated that I get cold faster in the cooler autumn nights.
On my detour through the Ryfilke region in the hinterland of Stavanger, which is often dominated by vegetationless rocky humps and lakes, I hardly met any more tourists. Instead, I had many great encounters with locals.
People are always amazed and admiring when I tell them what I am doing. Most of the time they say: “wow, that’s really not a run-of-the-mill life! These statements have been bothering me for some time. Is it really not usual, or very much run-of-the-mill ? For about three months now, my daily routine has been the same and hardly differs from that of a piecework mason. I get up, change into my dirty clothes from the day before, spoon up some porridge to have enough energy for the day, pack my backpack and off I go. During the day, I walk through new landscapes, sometimes rocky, sometimes swampy, sometimes more hilly, sometimes flatter, sometimes more monotonous, sometimes more varied… the bricklayer is also always on a different construction site and pulls up the walls, sometimes for a dull functional building, then again for an exciting villa. In the evening, both are probably likewise tired and hungry and devour the same uninspiring meals over and over again.
I believe the essential difference lies in the decision to realize such a time-out and to get out of the usual rut. That’s not run-of-the-mill, but what I’m doing right now is very much characterized by the same processes against a changing backdrop. But that is also the way I want it. I designed my tour in such a way that I can manage and enjoy it successfully and without danger with my capabilities. Therefore dramas have been excluded from the outset. The only thing I really learned was how to cross streams and rivers. In doing so, I have certainly developed from an absolute greenhorn to an expert.
Now I am looking forward to a visit with Reidun and Lars-Sigve before the last days and kilometers along country roads to Cape Lindesnes. Reidun is my first contact with Norway. It was quite a while ago and goes back to 1969/70. Maybe she is the origin of my fascination for Norway and therefore a little responsible for my soon ending hiking adventure.