Romania: Part One

Riding a bicycle that has bags loaded over two racks, things strapped, stuffed, and dangling off of nearly every inch of empty space draws a certain amount of attention from locals. Frequently, we are asked about our destination, the weight … Continue reading

Dear Finland,

You welcomed me in my mother’s tongue, celebrated my twenty-second birthday with fervor as if you were the patient matron witness to the previous twenty-one, enveloped me in stoic bonds of silent solidarity, fed me and housed me. You revealed to me a most incredible and harsh beauty, an unfathomable stillness that left the breath meant to swirl within my lungs frozen.

al lake

Crossing Alempi Akujärvi

This trip, this adventure planned to traverse your frigid shoulders has only managed to graze one singly. We suffered at your mercy, fumbling with our stiff  fingers, stinging from pink and tender skins  for days until we grew calloused to your climate. You froze our breath in our nostrils, our sweat in our boots, our dinner on our spoons. We pressed until we crested, able to wake a thrilled audience to your deliberate blue transition, your slow drag of morning. We became efficient, swift. Melding ourselves into you, we woke with you, slept with you, experienced you as silently as you us, and we accepted contentedly all that you had to offer up of your surreal heart.

The view from our door.

The view from our door

After completing 9 short days and 120 KM of our proposed 40 and 400 KM, I watch your fells and frozen lakes and shivering leafless birches whip by from an expensive bus seat with the ache that something, someone, beloved is growing perceptibly unreachable. Snow gleams clinging to the high branches of stiff pines.  It is as if we have discovered the existence of a magnificent secret, as if we have just glimpsed the heart of something too great for words, too large for us to wholly comprehend, something that we have been subconsciously lacking from our beings all this time. We watch this environment that has been our home pass away, destined for lesser parallels.

Breaking down camp

Breaking down camp

It is bittersweet. It feels as if  this thing slowly drains through the cracks between my cupped fingers. It has left its taste on my palate, an awareness of a brilliance that I knew not before, something to hunger for. A new appetite for another adventure.

Please note there is an in depth trip report and more photographs pending.

Lines in the Snow, a Photo Diary

After throwing wads of cash at my favorite local and highly underrated gear shop and an incredibly lucky streak of weather, I am finally outfitted to play in the snow instead of just dream of it. I live in a … Continue reading

Orientation

I have recently been designated head orienteer for Expedition Lapland. Luckily, I have zero orienteering skills but an uncanny knack for both the conduction of research and absorption of knowledge. We will be largely be traversing the country by way of frozen rivers and snowmobile trails, but all of the travel necessitates a competent navigator.

Upon receiving this title, I promptly set up in the tiny yet effective Fayetteville Public Library to launch the research mission.

A Vegetarian Learns to Fish

I am a vegetarian.

That does not mean I consider fish an acceptable protein source. One who eats no meat with the exception of fish flesh is called a pescetarian, not to be confused with a vegetarian; one who consumes only plant derivatives, or piscivore; one who eats a diet primarily of fish.                                        

My dietary choices are not to protest or draw attention to all of the horrid animal cruelty, but for, in my opinion, a much more noble morality. If I kill it, and feel the necessity to do so, then and only then will the flesh of another animal pass my lips in the form of sustenance. I have no right, morally, to consume another animal I had no part in creating or terminating. I also lack the need for protein in said form while living in a civilized society where protein comes easily from other sources.

After much consideration, I have decided that it is acceptable to attempt, and I say ‘attempt’ due to my utter lack of angling skills and knowledge, to supplement my diet while skiing across frozen country in the middle of nowhere (see previous post) in order to not only decrease the amount of food weight I must haul but also as a more substantial source of protein and vitamins than lightweight freeze dried just add hot water meals.

In regard to this decision, I spent a day at the tiny but effective library of the town where I live conducting some well needed research concerning ice angling.

A couple of pages resulting from my day of research.