It’s incredible how fast time has flew by since we came to Nesbyen. It’s already two months ago that we all arrived here, the dogs fresh from Sweden and PJ with the last of our things from Aurland. I maybe indicated it in the last post, but it was a bit of a shock in the beginning. I don’t really know how we managed to be honest: building up the kennel while trying to train the dogs, getting rid of the chaos in the house and starting new jobs. But somehow we did!
One by one we’ve been cleaning up the rooms, getting rid of the boxes and the randomness at which we left things when we first got our moving load over. We’re finally pretty much done with that and I’m really stoked about the result. One of the rooms has been transformed into a storage for our outdoor gear/ a map room featuring large maps of all the long-distance maps we’ve done. I stood in there yesterday looking at them, remembering all the wonderful times we’ve had out in the mountains during the past six years. People used to tell me that I would one day miss high school or being a student, as those were ‘the days of my life’. I beg to differ. I’m quite sure that I’ll keep looking at those maps with a smile, remembering that setting out on those trails was the best thing I’ve ever done.
Not that the good times are over though. We did get seven sled dogs to live out here with us and all the work and time we put into them is really worth the effort. The dogs really seem to thrive. There is a very harmonious mood in the pack, even now that some of the girls are in heat. They are calm and can all be out together, which is something I really value and actively looked for when purchasing dogs. It’s no good having to keep this dog and that dog separated because they would very much like to quite literally kill each other. They must be able to tolerate one another, otherwise things get far too complicated.
Slowly we’ve been exploring our new home together. It’s really different sledding out here in the mountains than what I’m used to from Sweden. In Kiruna we were always in the forest or on the river, on broad tracks that are continuously kept open by the many dog sled companies passing. Here it’s different. We follow the skiing tracks when we see they haven’t been prepared and when the snow gets more settled I hope we can make some tracks of our own. The thing I get most nervous about is the fact that we’re pretty much alone. The closest other mushers are across the mountain in Tunhovd and the closest snow mobiles at the alpine center. I try not to think too much about what would happen if the ankers wouldn’t hold or I would fall and lose the sled, but I’m always really focused when I’m out.
Then again, spending a few hours with sharpened senses is also part of the attraction of it. There’s really so much to learn and I’m stoked to see how we are all adapting to each other and learning from each other. I’m still looking for a good leader, the one dog in the front that understand the commands and understands how to lead the team, and I think I’m on my way to discovering some potential within the group of dogs I already have. I spend my evenings pouring over maps, finding more routes to try on that beautiful high mountain plateau right behind our house. I ponder over whether I will just remain a ‘kennel in start-up’ this winter, or if maybe we can give something more ambitious a try. Nothing is decided yet. But something might be in the pipeline.
In many ways living in this house is the cherry on top of the cake after many winters of living without electricity and water, of living in a tent, of being out in the mountains. Though in a way I am relieved we can enjoy all the comfort we currently have, I’m also really happy that I lived through those other days where we needed to light a fire to get warmth and go down to the hole in the ice by the lake to get our water. It really makes one appreciate the things we have, things we so often take for granted because our generation hasn’t known anything else.
Pj and I really needed this extra stability I feel, at least for a while to come. It’s hard to imagine that at this time last year we were not even really together, still trying to figure things out between us but also within ourselves. All was really dark in our minds for a while. I just touched the surface of it in last year’s post Shadows of the Himalaya. I thought I was on my way up then, but it went really black after that. I don’t think I could have imagined that life would take such a good turn within such a short time. Now it’s quite literally only white. It’s good to be in a place that feels like home.