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  • Writer's pictureRadka Minksová

NPL 2022 - DEN 4

Solvang - Fredheim, 23,48 km, +1030 m



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16. 7. 2022


23,48 km

80,33 km

1030 m




Waking up by lake Toftelandsvann. Again Instagram, selecting photos for article, etc. Late start, at around 1 p.m. from Solvang.

I am going straight to the marshland behing the last solvang farm with many high tussocks and with a muddy beaver river in the middle. Behind the river I continue 200m on tussocks until I cross a very small cool creek, hidden in high grass, with stony bottom. I continue straight in this creek to the bridge, it is so much faster to walk and the water so refreshing.

By the bridge go up from the creek on a small gravel road leading towards distant farm Eieland. Before the first farm behind the creek called Lia I am thinking about a man, who I saw here last year in 2021. He was taking care of the grass behind the house and he was looking at me like he wanted to talk to me. But I remember I just greeted him and continued running. I am starting to film just before the farm. As I approach, I see the same man, taking care of the "English style" yard grass. This time straight by the road. As I am passing me, he immediately starts talking to me. Funny...

We are talking about 7 minutes, about my run, about his place. When I say how special and beautiful his place and area is, he is very happy and proud. He agrees to be filmed, so he will be part of the NPL movie. One of the many very nice moments on the trip.

I continue on the gravel road through the forests, fields, passing several picturesque farms and lakes. Again.. I feel as if the time stopped here loong time ago. Such a slow, peaceful atmosphere.

I make a break on nice bathing rock by the lake Austre Eilandstjønna. I can se there are people on the nearby farm, now a cabin, Eiland. Very very nice place, which looks much more northerly than almost all the lakes so far.

I am passing the cabin, greeting the owners who are chopping firewood and start walking up nice easy trail towards the first real mountain on my trip called Tjødneskarknuten. No water again, so it is smart to take some down by the lake I passed.

It is very windy at the top. All is exactly the same as last year, same weather, cool boulder just below the summit, first surprising views towards the rough rocky Setesdal Heiene, including the old teapot on one of the boulders.

I am staying about 20 minutes, filming a lot. Last views towards the mysterious coastal hills and forests which I passed and I start another harder off-trail section towards the mountain Berghei. This mountain looks quite close, in air distance only a few km. But the terrain here is really special. Much less trees, we are much higher now.

But what looks like a 15 min hike, takes you 45 minutes, because the landscape is divided here by countless numbers of vertical walls from 1 up to 50 m high, creating many small valleys filled with lakes and marshlands, which you don't see until you come close to the edge. And then you have to down climb the wall or mostly find a detour, because the walls are often high and totally compact.

Very wild and beautiful and scenic part of my NPL path. Some places look like in my beloved Femundsmarka.

Again I am admiring an incredibly romantic view to the spruce forest to the east of my ridge with very isolated red farm of Espeland. It looks like a view into the past... Really calm, old peaceful atmosphere.

The walking here is, again, very slow, but by far not so hard as previous days. But I feel tired and I am realizing again fully, how hard is this project, how far I have to go, how much pain I will have to hold, how many hills I have to climb, what everything must be done except of running, and I feel how hard it will be to stay focussed and super motivated all the time during the hard days.

It is a bit frustrating to spend so much energy to move forward and still being slow due to the hard non-runnable terrain. Using the same energy , but on trails I would be at least 100 km further already after 4 days. No wonder nobody walks Norge på langs this way.

I am also realizing, that last year I was a bit more excited here, because every place was totally new and I did not know what is in front of me. Now I know what waits for me on the next 1000 km. It would be so much easier just start in central Norway, near Meråker, where I stopped last year. Many people walk NPL in sections divided into several years.

But I really need and want to experience it in one long push, this is totally different experience and level difficulty. And without the first 1253 km (which I did in 2021), it would not be fair and clean, in my way of thinking and feeling. I take this project as an "exam" where I have to use all my skills, not just physical, but mental, filming, organizing, strategic skills etc. That's why I go all the way again.

If it was just about running, without filming, writing long articles and editing for and sharing on social media etc, all to the detriment of resting and sleeping and faster running... It would be so much easier, a totally different nice project.

And we are still struggling a lot, I am writing this article about Day 4 at the start of the Day 8, where I really needed to start very early... But that's the challenge... That's what I have to solve. And I will! All of this discomfort on such a hard off-trail jhourney, all the pressure from the media side of ther project, this is what makes you grow and become more flexible and capable. You just have to stay positive, know WHY you are doing it and alyways take another step. And another.. And another... And after some time, you are on "unreal places" you only dreamt about...

Thankfully, Radka is incredible, beside all of the "back-stage things" like driving, organizing the car, cooking etc., she is editing the photos, doing statistics etc.. It is enormous help and I think that at the end of this long project, we will be super fast capable working team. That is one of our goals.

After crossing many marshlands, climbing up and down many walls, I am finally standing at the top of the mountain Berghei. I can really feel the previous days in my legs. I think I was better trained last year, after much more very hard filming of ski mountaineering in Lofoten than this year in Lyngen, where I was mainly just skiing for myself, without filming gear.

I am celebrating it with Norwegian energy from my friend Mads, (first really all chemicals and sugars free organic energy drink), enjoying views towards the southern edge of Setesdal Heiene, filming a bit and then I am staring to run down on absolutely beautiful fast trail. I know that Radka and Čenda are waiting for me on one magic hill a few km further.

When we meet, I am doing amazing drone shots, we are taking many photos and I am enjoying this place. Last year I was here much later during the daytime, when the sun was setting. It was one of the best moments of 2021 training NPL training mission.

I could see just Nature, hundreds of dark hills and many lakes. This was a special monet and I knew I have to come back. And here I am :-)

I would stay longer, but I am still playing with the idea of doing at least 35 km today, it is not super late yet, about 19:30.

So we start running back down to the car. This path is sooo scenic and fast... Last year I felt incredible freedom here. It leads through many lakes and on small rocky ridges. Fantastic running.

On the way down we are filming a lot of cool running shots. The car is parked on exactly the same spot as exactly 365 days ago. Funny. It is not very late, 9 P.M. and I have big temptations to continue at least another 10 km. I have only a ridiculous 24 km and I am almost not tired at all, as the evening approaches again. I always start to feel the strongest after the sunset. Strange. But instead, we decide, that it is smarter to stay in the car and write an article about Day 3, otherwise we would be way too behind and it would not be possible to catch up anymore.

Two more slow hard days in the jungle are ahead of me... Good night...



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