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Finnmark 2007 Diary » Blog Archive » Tom Frode reflects on the journey

Tom Frode reflects on the journey


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I asked Tom Frode, our guide, to write today’s diary, but he said, “it’s too hard, I work for the logistics, organising things as we move along on the journey.” “You Adam, for example, were a pain in the arse at the beginning, testing my capability to solve problems with all the things you wanted: to meet the herds, the herdsmen, the healers, the seers, the old and young generations, to pass by the traditional sites, the holy places, and stay longer often to talk with one or the other people that we met, always pushing me, and we’re travelling only with dogs, so its never easy to make kilometers, too.” “But beside complaining and giving me a guilt complex,” I asked him, “what’s been good, and what’s been bad for you?” “The most stressful,” he said, “was crossing the border at KilpisjƤrvi, where I ran down and saw that the whole team would have to drive 200 meters along the main road.” “And what’s been good for you?” I asked. Tom shook his head, “many things: no conflicts in the team, the good feeling that I can’t express for the bunch of friends in Finnmark, and in Sweden who have helped us along our way. Also seeing how the herders have different solutions for their problems, the weather, the predators, and seeing how important is the geography of their districts to their migrations, and the herding, also confirming what I’ve seen as a dog musher that climate change is real, and I don’t get my two weeks in May anymore for ice fishing, travelling with dogs at nights, and sleeping in the day because the snow’s all gone, and the rivers are open. Ah yes, I also feel I’ve got more energy now than when we started the expedition, and I hope it’s not the last one we do.”

Tonight we’re with Marja’s parents who have just cooked us a delicious meal of their own smoked reindeers in a stew with mushrooms and cloudberries picked from the forest by Anna-Christine, Marja’s mother. We’re perched on top of Sjangeli Mountain with a snowstorm raging, and I’m out in it with my fingers freezing with this damn phone. But its always filthy weather on Good Friday, they’ve assured us here. Tonight we sleep in a lavvu, which is like an Indian tepee, before slipping down to the Atlantic in the morning, if the weather permits. There are more stars than I think I have ever seen in my life, and it feels as if we’re on top of the world, and the Northern Light are circling round us.

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