This trip was uniquely interesting, as we were placed in a rather large group, some of whom were totally new to each other. As a given, planning was quite complicated and a bit of a mission with everyone having their own expectations in mind for the journey to come. I often find in a group of varying abilities I can become a little inconsiderate, particularly from a position of more experience. Often it is with an achievable yet challenging goal in mind for the group, though it is not always seen as such and rather as a journey for myself that others may join on. Perhaps I have much to learn in both negotiation and judging the skills of myself and others.
The group attrition was astounding, and somewhat relieving too. Not for lack of wanting to be with a good bunch heading into the local hills with fresh snow, more for my love of solace and isolation. A smaller group allowed for a bit more peace, I feel.
I arrived with a few minutes to spare for the train, sometimes I like to push the barriers of time by arriving such as a wizard (precisely when meaning to) or leaving totally unnecessary room for error. Both are equally worthwhile for their own merits. I jumped on the train, and Manu was yet to arrive with Dagny and Kristian sat on other carriages. Thankfully it was delayed by five minutes, giving him enough time to arrive.
The plan was to arrive in Nodeland and walk towards Mosby. We had only loosely checked the route and found there was paths the whole way so left the navigation to when it was immediately required. With a small group and lots of ground to cover, it was a good combination for a gradual yet smooth integration. With our heavy packs we were often in our own space, sometimes interrupted by me tipping some snow off a tree onto Kristian.
The lack of a solid route ended up with me taking a wrong turn up to a nice place to camp, so sometimes mistakes can be ideal I suppose. However on a more serious note, in less commercialised terrain and tougher conditions laziness in this regard can be far more detrimental – particularly for long days. In these times, a headtorch, and proper use of a map and compass is essential.
I had never camped in winter in a hammock, and this spot was simply perfect for it. All except my positioning. The gusts of wind would come directly in under my tarp, and I woke up my fresh snow lying on my toes, making my sleeping bag a little damp. Then again with my roll mat shifting as I lay there, making my side cold from compression of the material.
A little while into the second day my ankle began to hurt a little. With previous injuries relating to it though none directly, I decided it best I get the bus home a day early. Having walked 10 kilometres or so the first day, with a fair bit of ascent and descent fairly continuously, and another five or so to Mosby, this seemed the most ideal option for me.
It was a poignant lesson in listening to the body, and perhaps not others if they sway you into continuing even if it’s with you in mind. Rest now and try later.