So, we’re back in action.
Between Kebnekaise and Alesjaure we’ve had no mobile reception and our satellite sender hasn’t managed to pick up a signal either. We’re really out in the wilderness! To be honest, it’s added to the sense of freedom – to have a complete break from the outside world.
It’s this kind of experience that feeds the soul. And it’s for this reason – to escape and have a break from real life for a while – that keeps bringing many of the Fjällräven Classic volunteers back for more, year after year.
“This is my seventh time volunteering at Fjällräven Classic. I’m a nurse, so like helping people, but for me it’s the fact we get to be out here for a week that keeps me coming back.”
Magnus, a nurse from Sweden is just one of the 120 volunteers that help make Fjällräven Classic the celebration of hiking that it is. All of them, at check-points, at basecamp in Kiruna and the finish line in Abisko greet everyone with smiles – some even with cinnamon buns, coffee and other tasty treats – and words of encouragement. They don’t know we work for Fjällräven. It makes no difference. Out here we’re all just Classic trekkers. Putting one foot in front of the other in a breathtakingly beautiful landscape.
“It’s really cool to meet everyone, see their smiling faces and help introduce people to this kind of environment,” said Niclas. He works as a sport leader in Luleå, Northern Sweden.
Ingela, whom I spoke to at the Sälka checkpoint has been volunteering at Fjällräven Classic since 2005. Just a few weeks before this year’s event she fractured a bone in her foot, but she didn’t want to miss out on being part of Classic 2016. So she gave the organisers a call and asked if she could hitch a ride with a helicopter into the checkpoint, just so she could fill her commitment. And meet her friends, whom also volunteer year after year.
“I love an outdoors life. Whether it’s skiing in winter or hiking in summer I just love to be out here in this environment.”
And despite the near gale-force winds that are battering the tent I’m sitting in as I write this, I can see why. Being outside for this many days in a row, in this peaceful and remote environment, is like going to therapy.
Hopefully we’ll be back on line later today, but if not we’ll be sending an update from Abisko when we cross the finish line.