This week we went on a basic winter trip– our first of the season. The stips organized this three day trip in order to introduce us to what a typical winter trip will be like. You could call it a warm up, but as I said, there was nothing warm about it. Temperatures were around -16 degrees Celcius– that, combined with the moisture of this part of Norway, equals COLD.
We began by hoisting our oversized backpacks on our backs, while keeping balance with skis on our feet. After a short two hours we reached our base-camp destination.
Once at our destination, it was time to start making it an actual base-camp. We began by making a ‘snøklokka’ which is some type of snow structure (we later slept in.) The next task was to stamp, (stomp… tramp… I don’t know the technical term,) down the snow in the tent area. THIS TOOK FOREVER. After a while I decided to count the amount of steps the area was lengthwise: nearly 600 steps. If I do some rough math, that means we did at least 5,000 side steps, (counting each foot, but still.) When we were finally done flattening the area, we set up our tents.
This was the kind of weather that required movement in order to stay warm. As soon as I stood or sat still for more than 4 minutes, my toes and hands froze. While waiting for our evening meeting to begin I thought my toes were going to fall off. They were so cold, and hurt so badly. The meeting began with a 2 minute silence. Sigrid suggested looking up at the beautiful stars, or at the flickering flames of the fire. I began looking up and the clear sky. ‘Wow, the stars are so beautiful’ I thought, but it wasn’t enough to stop me from thinking, ‘Wow, my toes are actually going to fall off.” So, I redirected my vision down to the fire. I posed the question, ‘would it be more painful to be standing on that fire, than it is right now with my frozen toes?’ I tried to convince myself it would be, but I wasn’t quite sure.
I woke up the next morning to a frozen sleeping bag, frozen shoes, frozen food, frozen water, and basically frozen bones. But regardless, it was time to ski! Around 12:00, we stopped to make lunch. We broke into groups and made snow holes in order to shelter ourselves from the wind and bitter temps.
The second night was not as bad. Although everything was still frozen, my spirits were higher. We slept in the snow, which was a thousand times better than the tent.
Despite the cold temps, the one thing that never failed to put a smile on my face was the sky. We had beautiful blue skies the last two days. My fingers froze in the process, (I really need to get some photography friendly gloves,) but I managed to capture our beautiful surroundings.
I have to say, I was rejoicing as we reached our busses and piled in to head home. The sun was shining, making everything look beautiful, (which is why I just had to capture Marte’s eyes.)
I learned a lot about living outside in the winter, so hopefully I will be better prepared next time. Stay tuned to find out!
*All photographs taken with Olympus Tough TG-2*