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A Lesson in Norway

Summer in the fjords of Norway is a peculiar time and place to have an existential crisis. But I was questioning my motives for putting myself through it all: bad weather, uncooperative gear, and less-than-favorable trail conditions.

My boots were soaked – the water flooded my socks and crept up to my ankles. My toes turned purple after constantly smashing them into the toebox of my boots, my feet slipping every which way after wrapping trashbags around them to block out the wetness. I only had 8km to go, but through rotten, slushy snow.

Needless to say, I was unhappy. The iconic, postcard-esque hike I was on just wasn’t what I had in mind. At this point, I hadn’t yet learned that what you had in mind is much different, if not always different from what ends up happening on trips like this.

But I remembered an article I read in Backpacker magazine – a letter from the editor. He was hiking the Scottish coast in horrid weather. Torrential downpour paired with winds that whipped you to one side – stuff of backpacking nightmares. He was about to leave the trail and pack it in, until he met an older woman coming his way. She had an umbrella and was taking a stroll amid all the wetness. “I always take my Sunday walk,” the woman said. I thought of this story, and I caught a second wind. I popped in my headphones, and I crushed the next eight kilometers.

The editor reminded us: attitude is everything. Sometimes you gotta bask in the rain showers, and look at the bright side (even though there may not be one in the clouds).

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