The Sun Also Rises

Tsielekjåkk pass

We are moving fast over the mountains, well tested with full  strength. Further on, the path goes along small cabin clusters; it's not entirely clear whether they're Sami settlements or simply recreational spots for hunters and fishermen. The next stopping point is Västerfjäll, a fairly remote village. It looks lively and inhabited, with smoke rising and trails freshly traversed. In winter, access to the outside world is by snowmobile, while in summer, it's by boat across the lake, roughly 10 km from the end of the road on the opposite shore. There's no internet here; also no power grid.. I can't examine closely how the village sustains itself with energy. But there are wood piles at every house. I have lunch on the church porch, which, as the roof sign indicates, was built in 1955. Next to it, a bell tower with a rooster on top. Roosters in towers have always appealed to me more than crosses, even though they're not made of sugar. I scrutinise the map, paying particular attention to turns that shouldn't be missed.

The terrain is flat, so we drive rather relaxed. At one of the breaks, it occurs to me to change the lineup, and I put Tomi on the back, leaving Torve alone in the front. I try to do it confidently and quickly to avoid conveying doubts to the dogs, who read emotions quite well. Torve hesitates and moves back towards his senior partner, but as soon as the command "let's go" sounds, she's already running ahead of the others. Being in front is a mentally hard; the dog understands that others are following behind, and it's a big responsibility. Due to the change, Tronds loses motivation. Even though he remains in the same position, he is no longer focused on work but tries to interact with Tomi, who is now within reach.

People say I'm a one-hit wonder | But what happens when I have two?

Sharon Van Etten whispers in my head. Her emotional lyrics often accompany me when I'm alone somewhere. The road is quite relaxed, and my consciousness begins to wander, looking for where to stretch out. Where could be the best spot in the world? A great place, but what if there's something even more cosy ahead? What if this was the last cool place and I'll regret not staying with this choice? I understand that my mind wants to play tricks on me. I won't regret anything, even if the decisions aren't the absolute best choice. Sharon herself mentioned in an interview that being too immersed in the past leads to depression, while being too focused on the future brings anxiety. I'll stay better right where I am.

I end the journey in the late afternoon to have enough time to settle in properly for the night. The dogs are quite tired anyway, having covered more than 30 km today, and the sled is almost as heavy as upon leaving.

I pitch the tent and light a small fire with gathered twigs nearby. My appetite is ravenous; I eat quickly, which isn't characteristic of me. The dogs, having devoured their portions, curl up for rest. It's still quite cold. As darkness falls, I retreat to the tent to rest.


leep was quite restless; it seems like I haven't slept, but that's not true. Perhaps it's the awareness  of a wild animal, ready to leap up if external threats appear. Suddenly, a very vivid episode of a dream comes to mind, where Antoni Borden appears to me from another world with a single but very specific message: "Didzis," he says, "Our life gets iit's meaning through taste. You could let it express more!" And that's it. It was so brief and laconic that it stuck with me. Thanks.

It's cold outside, the first task is to get morning coffee. I won't light the fire; the surrounding twigs burn lazily. The stove refuses to work, and I start to get nervous. It's cold, and my hands are freezing; it could be around -20°C. I'm increasingly longing for coffee, but the inability to melt the snow worries me. The backup gas stove is also functioning formally—the burner works. However, in such low temperatures, there's almost no heat output because the gas simply doesn't evaporate. Somehow, I coax the stove; the water heats up slowly, but I wait another twenty minutes for the coffee. But the fact that I can still boil water feels like a gift from God. Joe Henderson, who travels the Arctic with a Malamute team, at some point became quite religious, and now I understand how easily one can see the proof of God's existence. The stove is working. Hallelujah.

Breakfast for the dogs without water; I hope they'll compensate for the lack of fluids with snow. I pack up the camp; we're ready for a new day and journey that awaits

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