Thursday, March 12, 2009

Finnmarkslopet 2009: Part 12 - Back in Alta

Sadly, I am back home in Vedjeon now, took a lift from Alta with friends. I took a bus from Tana on Monday morning, after I dropped Kayla and Dotty one more last time, hugged Mikael and wished the team a great and safe journey to Alta.

Picture of the landscape, taken from the bus.

Olufjord - at the bus station, switching busses

I got back to the camping, where we were staying, at 6:30 pm. Normally I would think a bus ride, six or more hours long, is LONG. But this was the shortest day long bus ride I ever had. I planned to update the blog with latest race news or at least read a book, but I slept like a baby all the way. The bus driver promissed to stop right at the camp entrance, so it was a great help and one less problem to solve - how to get to the camp.

I took a hot shower and dropped to bed immediately. On Tuesday morning I was back in the center of Alta, visiting at the race office and cheering the last finishing teams from the 500km race up, as they aproached the finish line infront of Park Hotel.

Finnmarkslopet has it´s own song, which is played only at the finish line each year, for each team, arriving. It is Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis. It makes every single hair on your body stand, and in my case, it brought tears to my eyes, every time a team aproached. Whenever I run this race once, and finish, I will be crying like a baby, I can promise you that already!

Chatting with Fredrik Filander, after he finished.

Fredrik and Nina packing sleds on their truck

One of Fredrik´s dogs Hannibal resting after the long journey

Posing with this year´s first prize - brand new Snorre Naas "Skunk" sled

The first prizes

David Dale from Alta, arriving at the finish line

Dariusz Morsztyn from Poland just 50 meters before the finish line

Dariusz´s dogs immediately resting once stopped at the finish. The team is made up of siberian huskies, two siberian husky/malamute crosses and one alaskan husky. Dariusz said it was great adventure and he felt very close with the nature.

Everything in Alta, this time of the year, has Finnmarkslopet on it :) These are special edition post cards and stamps, available only during the race. They start to sell on Friday, one day before the start of Finnmarkslopet, every year. I obviously had to send one to my parents :)

Infront of the ice wall presentation of Finnmarkslopet´s sponsors. This ice presentation is very typical and traditional for this race.

Huge herd of raindeer, walking across the road, on the way home from Alta. A very typical site in this part of the world!

What else to say? It was an unforgetable, very intense and very emotional experience. The spirit, the atmosphere, the togetherness, that brought dogs, men, nature and culture together and made us all one family for a few days, is too strong to describe and forget. I must be back. As soon as possible.
And one more thing to add: I thought when we moved to Strömsund, the so called south part of northern Sweden, that we moved north. But the true North lays above the arctic circle, where the windswept tundra, the rocky mountains and twisting rivers with glare ice, make you respect the big white open, where raindeers roam in hundreds and Saami people still live the old traditional way. It is the land of the spirits. It has trapped me and I must experience it together with my dogs, to feel complete.
--Yes, I fell in love with the Great North, entirely
Katerina

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