NPL 2022 - DAY 1
Updated: Jul 15
Lindesnes Lighthouse - Mønestadvannet, 11,5 km, +686m
13. 7. 2022
DAILY MAP and daily PHOTOGALLERY are at the bottom of this article
OK, it's time to start the journey and also the daily reports. First a "small" summary of what happened the last days before the start.
We were driving from the Czech republic through Sweden, where we did a detour into one place I like. Small national park Store Mosse.
Then we went to Norway. We spent already 3 days in Lindesnes area, living in the car on different parking places, and exploring the terrain a bit, to make last years's path a bit more "humane". But we are mainly in the car. Not before here we had time to try the "camper life", the life in the new car. And a chance to try all the new gear, especially the electricity solutions and new cameras and drone etc.
I also wanted to try how it feels, to edit films in the car, how independent we are in terms of electricity, with our new ECOFLOW power stations and solar panel, while working on strong computer and big external monitor the whole day.
And also, I really needed to heal my seriously burned skin full of disgusting wet blisters on my arms and neck and also a very painful sole of my right foot, which I probably hurt a bit on running on the rocks on my last long run across amazing Malá Fatra mountains in Slovakia a week ago.
A whole long day on the super strong mountain sun on a clear day without sun cream (which I never use) was a bit too much for my white sking, not used to the sun after full winter and spring spent in cold Lyngen Alps and Reisa in northern Norway.
You can see many pictures and videos from that beautiful training day in Slovakia, where we were just before our yourney to Scandinavia. You find it on my Instagram @bernartwood in the saved "Stories selection" NPL 2022 TRAINING. If you love trail running, Slovakia is an absolute paradise...
Yes, I am here with glorious plan to run across Norway through the nature a suddenly the foot started to hurt a lot just in Sweden a few days ago, when I was running on perfect soft trail in Store Mosse national park. Strange, I don't remember any accident during the run on Malá Fatra. Honestly, I was a bit worried now ther last days here, when the pain did not go away after 2 days of not walking at all almost. Worried, because you must start NPL in totally OK physical state, because it is not a race where you don't care about pain and go full throttle, but a long-term process, where you have to think ahead about everything, especially joints and skin.
So therefore I dediced to sacrifice a few more days of my NPL time and use them to heal and to edit a bigger complex video from my last year's Day 1 on Norge pa langs training run. To show you how it feels to start NPL straight from the lighthouse of Lindesnes off the roads, straight through the harsh, slow and painful, yet beautiful off-trail terrain here. It will give you much better idea why the first 180 km of my clean NPL path are sooo slow. And why so far nobody ever went fully off-roads on their NPL trips. It's simply too slow and unpleasant. No matter how strong runner you are, here you have to watch every step, if you don't want to break your leg right just after a few steps on the day 1. Who knows the tussocks here, he/her knows very well what I am talking about.
Here is the video edited in the car, which shows you what waits for me today and the next days.
Ok... Video is finished. It's Tuesday, July 12th 2022, late evening...
Exactly what I didn't want, happened again :-) I am late... Very late. Late for the early morning start and late in the season to start NPL in this slow style. But I hope to get gradually faster and faster, as I reach better terrains in the mouintains and as I get stronger and fit again after 400-500 km. NPL is an amaziing training. I really want to know how strong in traiil running I can get after the whole trip. I really want to know, that is part of my motivation!
I wanted to start running on Wednesday 13th of July 2022 early in the morning, to do at least 40-50 km and to get behind the town of Lyngdal, the only town I cross on about 1 km of asphalt during the whole trip. Why Lyngdal? You can read about my RULES AND ETHICS
But I have finished editing the "Jungle video" in the evening. The film is 11 minutes, in 4K, and 5 GB of size. So exporting it, uploading it through my mobile phone data to several channels and media takes ages!!! It is almost midnight and the idea 4 a.m. start is already lost. Ok... F*ck it, I do a shorter Day 1, but I prepare at least all the media things properly. So I am deciding to extablish also a Facebook page for our trip. Here it is - OUR FACEBOOK
At 4 in the morning I know that today will be a VERY short day. So I am working on the computer until 6 in the morning and then I go to bed for 3 hours.
Not very fresh, we are packing all the stuff, doing probably million things, for which I had no time because I was editing the video. Then I feel so dead, that we sleep 2 more hours.
We are getting to the lighthouse around 3 p.m. . Finally we are here. I do not feel anything special, just a bit of pressure. Because I know, that the next few hours will be just annoying but necessary and important filming, partly for the partners of the project, and then many shots at the start for our "big running film".
Like million times before, I wish I was just a runner, who lightly comes to the lighthouse, signs the memorial book, takes one or two phone photos and and starts running, not giving a shit about some "glorious spectacular film scripts and visions". Super annoying, when you are under huge time pressure. Which I will be the next 2-3 months. There is literally not one free minute when you do a project like this. But that's what I have beeen dreaming about for 5 years... To do a super hard run, which is perfectly documented. Run is just the easier part of this project. Seriously. Damn... :-D
So na matter how annoying it is, we are doing many shots and interviews from several cameras. I am in the robot mode. I hate the filming here, but I am trying to do it the best way. It's hard to dd cool stable moving shots in a wind storm like today, so we are repeating it so many times, that Radka gets a bit angry at me. Which I totally understand, I would be as well, espcially if somebody would be cruel on me as me :-)
OK, a few hours later, filming around the light house is done. I am signing the book in the lighthouse. It is super super windy, absolutely no chance to do any drone shots today. Perfect! I have a valid excuse, so that saves some time. Lindesnes lighthouse is totally crowded, I can't wait to be in the jungle again. There I have a certainty, that I will be totally alone. It is already 5 p.m. when I am starting the Garmin watch and inReach GPS tracker and take the first step on my hopefully 3000 km long adventure.
I am running down from the lighthouse through crowds of people to Nesvarden, which lies about 600m south east of the lighthouse. This rocky cliff is the real southernmost part of Norway, not the lighthouse. Starting from NPL the lighthouse is cheating, as well as ending it on Nordkapp :-P
Standing on absolutely windy Nesvarden, looking on the ocean, I suddenly and unexpectedly start to feel enormous gratitude and joy to have another chance to do my dream project I am thinking about evry day for 5 long years. Joy and a flow of energy returned, so I am quickly filming this moments and happily start running back to the car where I meet Radka. She gives me 2 of her amazing sandwiches. Last photos and videos of the car for the partners and I am leaving the asphalt parking place. I start running up on a small trail leading to the first rocky hill above the parking place. What follows from here, you can see perfectly in the video above :-D
Behind the first rocky hill, the running stops for today. I am entering the kingdom of tussocks, wetlands, super scratchy bushes and sometimes super super thick jungle. I am faster than last year, I am filming much less, no talking. I am fully realizing, that I have to become more a runner than a filmmaker the next weeks. Otherwise, if I play too much with the shots, we have no chance again. The budget does not allow us to spend here 100-150 days (and film everthing the best way) like most NPL thru-hikers do. The right foot is much better and does not suffer here much, I am not jumping on it as I would running on trail. So I am really happy about it.
I am moving a bit more to the west and higher, compared to the last year, when I was "running" under the wind-mills. hoping to find a bit faster terrain on the rocky hills. Nope... What looks like a nice grassy meadow is slow terrain full of traps, especially the tussocks. Even the best runner in the world would be super slow here. Otherwise you break your leg immediately. But I counted with it, so I like it. That's the price you have to pay here. And I am realizing, that this is a special moment in my life which I will remember forever.
The nature here is absolutely amazing, very various and "old, some places are like from a post apocalyptic movie. I see several ruins, old stone fences and a tractor, literally eaten alive by the forest.
I feel big gratitude. I know that my today's "running statistics" will look terrible on the paper, and I know many people are watching my steps now, but I don't care. This is not a 1 day long race. Only the last day of this journey will tell us if we succeded or not.
Dramatic evening light through rainy clouds creeps in, very strong wind, deers, rabbit and almost no sign of civilisation... Yes... I am on Norge pa langs again!!
I would never walk on the road, not even gravel road, here, you skip so much beauty! No kidding, no bragging. Seriously, the landspace here is like nowhere else further north! Really, the "mountains" of the Lindesnes peninsula are so special and wild, despite the fact that the highest "peak" is only 214 m high. You do a lot meters of vertical gain here, you go always up and dow, constantly.
At 9 p.m. I am calling Radka and at 9:30 we are meeting down by the lake, where my friend "killed" our only drone on the Day 1 in the short ridiculous NPL 2019 film project attempt. So many nice strong memories, despite it was hell back in 2019 :-) Definitely I feel about thousand times better now.
I know that we are ready, we are much more experienced now, have much better equipment, I know I can theroretically do it (running and filming and posting daily reports like this one = killing combo) and all depends only on us and on my head. And Radka's skills and dedication. She is incredible. She is driving the car, cooks, takes cool crazy instastories of my dog Čenda (check her and his Instagram), haha, she edits the photos super quickly, takes care of about million things the project needs... Only with somebody similartly dedicated, hard project like thi is possible.
Today I am sleeping in the car. I am super tired from the previous sleepless days and all the stress of previous months, so I go to bed without posting anything to web or social media. I need one good night of sleeep and I will get much stronger. And also faster after 3-4 more days, after I leave the jungle and reach Knaben in Setesdal Heiene mountains, where some marked trails finally start.
I am writing this post in the morning of Day 2, so no early start again, but it will get better and better.