The final day was rather a strange one by all accounts. With only a measly 10K to go, we had an easy bimble in store, and we were greeted from dawn with brilliant sunshine. It was still very chilly first thing, however, and I needed all my layers including my down jacket just to cook breakfast. However, being able to cook and eat breakfast outside rather than lying in bed hiding from the rain was an opportunity not to be missed.
We strolled gently in the morning sunshine, surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Abisko National Park, and thought of hot showers, comfortable beds and cold beers. While there was every reason to be cheerful, a small part of me also felt the final stretch to be a bit of an anticlimax. After all, this was supposed to be a tough trek in the Arctic Circle, designed to test our every sinew, and yet here we were strolling to the finish in glorious sunshine with not a care in the world (well, apart from the intense pain in my feet, dulled only marginally by a combination of ibuprofen and paracetamol swallowed religiously at 4-hourly intervals). Actually, I’d become so used to the pain by now that it barely registered. It might sound weird, but a part of me wanted to finish the trek after a really long tough day to make it feel like more of an accomplishment. I felt as if I were somehow cheating.
However, as we approached the finish line, we were greeted with cheering and clapping from the trekkers who had already finished and were sitting drinking beer in the sunshine. The organisers presented us with our medals, and I felt a moment of pride at what we’d achieved, despite the easy finish. Looking back now, I have to keep reminding myself that it was by no means an easy challenge. I had only to look at my feet for the next few weeks to remind me (6 black toenails, one of which fell off when I took off my sock, and 3 more of which I had to remove a few days later, plus a number of blisters). I’m sure you’ll be glad that I’m sparing you the photos of that.
So what now? My next big trip needs to be more challenging in some respect, because otherwise I wouldn’t be pushing myself ever out of my comfort zone, but I’d happily do the Fjallraven Classic another time. The only problem is, there are so many new places to discover.