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Finnmark 2007 Diary » Blog Archive » Simple things

Simple things


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I spent the day with the back-up team to see their work, spirit, sense of fun, and check that all was well with them. I’m glad I did, and we exchanged many jokes in poor taste with much pleasure. Roy is a photographer, wilderness man, who tells me he’s only frightened in cities, of accidents, death under a bus, of noisy thieves, but never in the wild. Jan Ivar is a jack-of -all-trades, mechanic, dog musher, snow mobile king. Tom Frode had got us up at 6am because the film people wanted an hour shooting pictures of the departure onto the river. Everyone slowly froze, but the mood improved with the day.

The mushers were moving up the Tana river towards Karasok, with 65 kilometers to do, and the prospect of a cabin with non electric sauna waiting. Karasok is the administrative centre of Sapmi, near where we will stop to meet reindeer herders. The temperatures were round minus 5, but the wind factor significantly increased the cold. Dull grey skies gave way to brilliant blue, and the mushers watched the snow swept off the distant hills like chalk dust on a picture. David Sington, the film-maker took my sled, and dogs for the day - Spiro, little lead bitch with a man’s name, and a mind of her own (when Mathis, her running mate, goes out of line she humps him). Then comes Madonna with one blue eye who gives the impression of running fast but her line is rarely taut, coupled with Fang, a skinny wolf-looking creature who’s always on the verge of biting someone, and then the team’s engine just in front of the sled being Frodo, Fang’s half-brother, a black and white cross with floppy ears, and a mad streak ( he just knows he can pull the sled by himself even when I’ve got my foot on the brake), and Kjelling pronouncing Chelling, a big black softy with a heart of gold, and guts to match - nothing stops him once asked to give.

This evening we get to wash ourselves, and our knickers at least in my case, as well as a purifying sauna after a bitter ragged night spent in the Tundra with a filthy wind howling through our tents until the snow gave way to slush and rain round 5am.

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