Svalbard, Norway, 2012

I love hiking. I love disappearing into the wilderness and existing there, amongst it all, miles from anywhere. Pack on my back and out there in the elements. Through sun and rain, raging wind and serene tranquility. Nature is big, ever present, graceful, wild, and happy.

I love the arctic. There is nature at its most raw. Rocky, barren landscapes etched out by creaking glaciers, creeping slowly down mountains slopes over the millennia. In previous summers I hiked in arctic Canada, Iceland and Finland.

In 2012 I joined the High Places 10 day hike of Svalbard. Our group met at Longyearbyen on Svalbard, to be whisked away from civilization to the self erected base camp on Petunia Bukt. From there we did single and multiple day hikes across glaciers and ice sheets, through bogs, across glacial streams, up mountains, and to deserted Russian mining towns.

I have written a blog on the amazing trip.

Day 1: Whisked away to the windy, bleak, Petunia Bukt. There we set up our base camp and home for over a week.
Day 2: The walk to Tarantallen on Svalbard was our first day of hiking. It was an amazing experience. A walk through the elements to a natural rock sculpture, shrouded in the clouds.
Day 3: Our rest day hike to the deserted Russian mining town of Pyramiden. A ghost town at the end of the earth.
Day 4: A truly spectacular day on the glacier on Svalbard. And a windy end with our tents almost blown away.
The midnight sun on Svalbard Day 5: Our rest day on Svalbard. Sitting around and contemplating life on this wind swept island in the high arctic. And then the sun came out – the midnight sun.
Day 6-8: So close and yet so far. Within reach of a nunataak – a mountain surrounded by ice, and then we sank into the slush.
Day 9: A day skirting the cloud layer in Petunia Bukt on Svalbard.
Day 10: The hike is at an end. We were whisked away from the cold, back to civilization. To the bustling metropolis of Longyearbyen. There we danced the night away.
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