Kvikkjokk. Prologue.

Arriving at the Kvikkjokk cabin on Thursday evening, the entire next day passes in moderate stress, organizing and packing the stuff. I try to mentally and emotionally prepare for everything, which isn't entirely possible, so I don't pull dramatic scenarios. I tell myself that everything will be fine, I'll manage, even though I'm not entirely sure. This is the first trip of this kind that I've dreamed of since I was about twelve. Perhaps not specifically about sleds and dogs, but a self-reliant trip in the wilderness—from point A to point B—that has always beckoned in my heart. Now, dogs, creatures that I befriended some years ago, have brought me to the start. I can't quite believe that it's really happening to me. That the next day, I'll disappear into snowy mountains with the dogs for an indefinite time. That I'll have to rely solely on myself and make quick decisions also on behalf of my dogs. For everything, there's always the first time, and it's nerve-wracking because I don't know how it'll be. I draw parallels with my past journeys, where the first time was also filled with anxious uncertainties—the urge to keep everything under control just doesn't go away. Where will I stay, what will happen to me? Now, with hindsight, it seems easy, you need just to take the first step, and the way will show you the rest. But this first step...


The cabin belongs to Ario, a man I haven't met, but who will guide me in a way that will become a new beginning. Ario is a solo traveler, having crossed the ridges of the Alaskan mountains, skiing for four months. Or Norge på langs, about 3000 km in the mountains. Currently, he resides in the Dolomites, where he lives in the mountains. The Kvikkjokk cabin itself is charming, and it seems to be inhabited by protective spirits that help set the mood for my journey. Shelves filled with books, about the lives of northern indigenous people and notes, many captivating images of the harsh wilderness, and inscriptions with Buddhist wisdom on the door frames. In other situations, this would have annoyed me— the internet is full of witty sayings against an inspiring image backdrop, but now, they come at just the right time. I gradually begin to calm my mind because I feel—excitement, fear, and haste won't be my best travel companions. I'm quite impressed by Ario's adventures, both in scale and attitude—it seems he's covered all these distances without the desire for recognition or trying to prove something. My mind is much calmer; at least the stress doesn't build up. Then, I think to ask Ario for some details about his walks, to which I receive a fairly quick response on WhatsApp, and I can now go to bed much calmer, ready to head to Abisko the next morning.

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