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Finnish Lapland (video)

By womanontherun 2015.01.07 in Polar reunions!


Last week, me and my Polarfriends went to Finnish Lapland where we had a great time together.

My blog about it is still under construction, but here is already a video-impression of our happy adventures in Finnish Lapland!





Scafell Pike, Wansfell Pike & Skiddaw Mountain – A Polar Reunion

By womanontherun 2014.05.12 in Polar reunions!


When doing the Fjällräven Polar adventure, I spoke to Phil Raisbeck, one of the other Polarists. We were chatting a bit about upcoming adventures and he mentioned the Lake District, a place where he has been before and which he would visit again in a few weeks with his friends. It sounded all well and he asked me to come over, and visit him and his friends. It sounded like a very good adventure, the date was chosen very well (my only spare week left for next months), but it still felt like something far away.
When home after Polar, I started thinking about this idea again. After comparing prizes, it became clear it would be possible to go. So, I bought my tickets and left home on Sunday 18:15. It would be an excellent moment for a reunion – and I could try my new Fjällräven gear (Keb jacket, Keb trousers, Abisko Hybdrid vest etc).

Sunday/Monday, May 4th/5th
After packing my backpack, what went really fast after I reorganized my outdoor stuff, my parents drove me to the railway station in Dieren, the Netherlands. Still somewhat frightened about flying, I was getting to take the Megabus from Amsterdam to Preston (was also somewhat cheaper). We would drive to le viva la France first and then cross the sea to England. In what way, I didn’t knew, but I thought we would take the Eurotunnel. First wrong thoughts (many would follow..) and we were waked up at 03:00 to leave the bus and enter the ferry. Great. Two hours and a bit of sleep later, I found a next surprise. I had to change bus in London and wait for 3 hours for the next one. Eventually I could get an earlier bus to Preston and in Preston, I could get an earlier train to Penrith. My first acquaintance with England was very good. People were kind and helpful.

In Penrith, Phil was ready to take me of the train. We would drive to the Nordic Outdoorstore in Keswick, to meet the manager who wanted some photo’s of us Polarists. We talked about lots of stuff, like Fjällräven Classic and Polar, but also about Scafell Pike, the mountain we would walk next day. They told us about ‘the Corridor route’, what must be a great walk to get up Scafell.

Our house, were I would stay for the next days, was big. Big and luxury. There were many bedrooms and bathrooms, a dining room, a small room, a capacious kitchen and a garden in which you would get lost. The house is on sale for 3 million pounds, so that says enough, I think. I’ve never been to a luxury house like this before and I was really looking forward to all comfort.
In the garden I met Jason, one of Phil’s mates, who just went out for a run. I also met Joe and at then I wasn’t sure if I’d met the gardener or Phil’s mate, a hilarious moment.

Joe loved cooking (I think), because we got a really tasteful dinner. I wasn’t familiar with all dishes, but I can say; it tasted very good.
We collected some wood in the garden and made a fire in the living room. Although I had bring my Morakniv, I haven’t used it this week. Will practise with it at home again ;).
The evening was full of pleasant live music. Joe appears to me a great singer and Jason can play the guitar very well. For me, it was like a scenery of a good movie. These are such lovely moments for me, I can really enjoy.

We talked about Polar, we talked about adventure and we talked about next day. Scafell Pike was on the programme, and I was really looking forward to it. Some years ago I read about it and I was very lucky Phil and his mates had planned this hike when I was visiting them.






Tuesday, May 6th

08:00 Time to wake up! We decided to leave at 10:00, so there was lots of time to have a nice shower, pack my bag and to have a relaxed breakfast. Joe decided not to hike with us, because his girlfriend Terry would come over at this day.

At 10:00 we left to our starting point. Phil and Jason had inspected the map carefully for many hours, so I was full of confidence we would take the right direction. It appears to be that Phil and Jason had had former problems, navigation with a map, and that they’ve been lost on almost every trip. All this I heard when we were already en route.

Seathwaite farm was our starting point and we could park the car very near.




Last checks were made; shoes, food, luggage and clothes. At 11:00 all was done and we were ready to leave.

After 5 min of walking (we just pasted the farm and went through a few fences, the map was taken out. A promising thing. We decided to follow the fence, along the river, on the left side of the field.

After the first kilometre, the trail went upward fast. I felt my muscles working hard and I loved the changing sceneries. We had moments of rest and we had moments of enjoying the nature. In spite of the hard wind, we all got really warm and I was happy I wore only my Aclima baselayer. My Keb was perfect for these conditions, I could open and close zips along the road and the hat was of great value. The map was taken out lots of times and after half an hour our guides came to the conclusion we were lost on the map. Although Phil got a GPS device, it didn’t help. It all didn’t matter for me, I was just happy to get out.

On a protected place, we decided to have a little snack.

We were lucky with the weather. When going to the Lakes, I was mentally prepared for lots of rain. It didn’t rain till this far on the hike and my Keb hood could manage the very strong wind. It actually was that windy, that when an unexpected squall came, I almost felt. We even saw the sun at the beginning of the hike!

The path was full of rocks, big ones and small ones, so I was unable to really enjoy the scenery. I looked at the ground almost every moment, preventing myself from stumbling. It didn’t matter, it gave us extra moments of justified relaxing.

After a few kilometres, we met two other hikers. They were doing Scafell Pike as well, and they told us they were following the Corridor route. At that moment, we knew little but one thing; we were not on the Corridor route, so nor were they. But they were also heading for Scafell Pike, so it must be okay. Not much later, Scafell Pike came in sight. We needed both our hands to get up and the view was limited to a few hundred of meters around us. A small and beautiful world. But what a wind!
We reached the top soon (after 7 kilometres) and after a few photo’s, it was time for lunch.

Scafell Pike – 978 m.


Phil got us some dryfood from Adventure food and the Mince Beef hotpot tasted well. After some 20 minutes, we were cold again and decided to start the descend.

Our descend took around 6 kilometre and a path was sometimes hard to find. We needed to climb along steep gulfs, something I like a lot. We walked and walked and scenery kept on changing. At some point we could see the valley again and not much later – Seathwaite. At this moment, we pointed out we came down along the right side of the field (we got up at the left side of this field) and that we were descending on the Corridor route. It became clear were we took the wrong turn, but it didn’t make a difference for us. We enjoyed our hike, reached the summit of Scafell Pike as planned and we even hiked a part of the Corridor route. Perfect.



After a short ride we reached our luxury resort again and we found a delightful smelling kitchen. Joe and Terry spent a lot of time in the cuisine and I can say – dinner was again very tasteful. We got a selfmade strawberry-cheesecake as desert and I wished I could eat some now!

We could enjoy our live band again this evening and I loved the atmosphere of everything.
Around 23:00 – 24:00 it was time to get to bed, because next day we would leave somewhat earlier than today.


Wednesday, May 7th

Today, we left somewhat earlier than yesterday. A hike to Wensfill Pike was on the program, a mountain with an altitude of 482 meter. We planned to do the hike with all 5 of us (Jason, Joe, Terry, Phil and me), but Terry and Joe decided to sleep a bit longer and we left with 3 of us.

The hike started near Ambleside, a lovely little place with lots of outdoor shops we definitely would visit when we came back from our hike. That was actually the reason of starting somewhat earlier ;).
I knew the weather wouldn’t be as good as yesterday, but I didn’t took a proper raincoat with me. I thought it would be too warm, a plastic bag around me, so I took a disposable poncho (I know, still a plastic bag, but somewhat different ;)).

On our way to Ambleside it already started to rain. Heavy rain. Our first change of clothes could begin before we even did a step into the right direction. It didn’t rain hard enough for me, so I decided to wear my Keb. Raincover on my pack; I was ready. Phil wore his Fjällräven Bäck rainclothes and after my trip to the Lakes, I’ve decided to buy one myself as well.

The trek started in the woods and after 15 minutes, we had a beautiful view of Ambleside. It started to rain somewhat harder, but not enough for headstrong me to get my poncho. The first few kilometres we walked between lands full of sheep and over small farmyards. I was happy I walked here with real Englishman, because I wouldn’t be sure if I was allowed to walk along/over/in the farmyards. No dogs chased us, so it appears to be al right.

After 4,5 kilometre, we walked in a little tea house in a small village. Unfortunately, the tea-room was closed, but we could get a warm cup of coffee and tea in the little shop. It was a lovely place, full of homemade brownies and flapjacks. We decided to drink something and have lunch later on the day and what I can say afterwards, it wasn’t the right decision for me. I felt a bit sick when walking to the top, probably due to lack of energy.

The rain became more and more heavy and it was time for a change of clothes number 101. I took my poncho, but I hadn’t thought about the short sleeves of it. My Keb wasn’t waterproof and preventing everything from getting soaked, it decided to go up with my bare arms. In the beginning it was a bit cold, but after some time I coudn’t feel them anymore. Fine!

Our way to the summit of Wansfell Pike was cold, windy and hard due to a lack of energy. On the summit itself (after 7,5 kilometre), we had no view because of the mist. It gave a magical feeling, but made us descend fast. Big stones laid as a stair and in no time we left the clouds and could see Ambleside again. 2 Kilometres later, we reached Ambleside. Time to change clothes and go shopping!


We had lunch at The Priest Hole Restaurant and I really needed a big warm meal. I got a sandwich with chili beef and french fries, delicious. It had a special name, like everything on the menu, but I felt really in a foreign country, not knowing what everything was.

In the outdoor shops we talked to staff members and of course we talked about Classic and Polar again, as the peaks of my outdoor adventures. We looked of course at Fjällräven gear, but I didn’t bought anything, because I will save my money for a good day of shopping in Flagshipstore Amsterdam.

Around 17:00 o’clock, we finished our shoppings and left to our estate. Terry and Joe prepared dinner again. This time we got Red Curry, a delicious meal.

Tomorrow, we will leave somewhat earlier than today, because rain is predicted for the evening.

Thursday, May 8th

First big language barrier: we agreed on leaving at half 9 for or next hike. I thought it was best if I would set my alarm at 07:00, so I had 1,5 hour for preparing. 08:30: I was ready and steady for a go! But I was the only one. Jason still walked around in his pyjamas. It didn’t matter for me, I would sure find something else to fill my time. Later on this vacation, I understand what went wrong. In England, they mean 09:30 by half 9. From half past 9. In Holland, we say half 9 for 08:30. That’s why I was that early all these previous days!

Anyway, it was time for our hike. We would start in the backyard of our house and walk up the hills to Skiddaw Mountain. It would’t be a very long one, cause we wanted to get home before rainfall and of course – we wanted to go shopping in Keswick in the evening.

We left at 09:15 and happily the weather was good again, after different showers of last night. After a quarter we reached the foot of a long hill and we started to climb up. It was a long climb and the view became better every minute. We really needed a lot of moments to rest.


Around 10:10 we reached the top of the first hill (what apparently doesn’t have a name) and it was time for a little snack. I learned from previous days and took some bread.
Unfortunately it started a bit to rain again, so we left our spot earlier.

Jason and Phil had done this trek already and they warned me about the upcoming ascend. Skiddaw Mountain had lots of loose rocks on a steep hill, which would roll away at unexpected moments. They told me we couldn’t stop along the wall and that we had to keep walking. I was a little bit concerned about these words, because I didn’t knew what to expect.

At that moment, mist became thicker and we had little sight left. Again, the world appears to be small.

We reached the summit of Skiddaw Mountain (931 meter, the fourth highest mountain in England) in about 20 minutes, a bit faster than Jason and Phil expected. The ascend turned out better than expected. It was actually no problem at all.
On top there was nothing to be seen, but in good weather, we could have seen Scafell Pike which we did two days earlier.

The descend was again easy and went fast. It wasn’t that steep, but a long stretched out walk between colourful fields. In the distance, we could see Derwentwater, a beautiful sight.


When in the valley again, it was time to change clothes and go out for some shopping. We went to the Nordic Outdoor shop again, because Phil wanted to try some clothes and around 16:00 we went home again.


After some sleep, it was time to get ready for dinner. We would dine out, because Phil, called The Silver Fox after that night, would celebrate his birthday next day. We dined at Keswick and went to some pubs after. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convince Phil from going to the ‘Loft’, a dancing hall. Pubs closed around 12 I think, and most stopped serving drinks after 23:00.

We called a taxi and went back to our house for a last night of sleep in it. Tomorrow we would leave – and I would start my journey back to the Netherlands, after a wonderful time in the Lakes.

Friday, May 9th

We had to leave the house around 10:00 and we left to Ambleside for a meeting with a tour operator. Phil and his friends are planning a vacation to Morocco in October and wanted to get some information.

My bus from Preston would leave at 14:20 and Jason dropped me of at the bus station. After a long ride, I arrived in Amsterdam at 09:00, Saturday 10th.


Phil, Jason, Joe, Terry – Thanks for this fantastic week!




Fjällräven Polar 2014

By womanontherun 2014.05.01 in Fjällräven Polar


Monday, April 7th.

Today is the day, after months and months of preparation. The day on which our adventure would begin! My alarmclock rang at 0300 am; time to get out of my bed and to enjoy a good shower. It could eventually be the last one for the next days.

0655: Schiphol Amsterdam – Copenhagen 0820

Around 0345 my dad, mom and I left to Schiphol. I already became more and more nervous and my happiness of this morning slowly disappeared. I wasn’t afraid of the Polar, or the adventure in front of us. Nope, the planes were the ones who scared me. And I wasn’t just a little bit ‘nervous’, no, it started a few months ago, when Polar became real reality. When we arrived at the airport, I could already see some planes. Nervousness became fear. We decided it was better to say goodbye quick, before I could change my mind. Yes, I certainly was in a doubt whether to go to Polar or not. Silly me. But – adventure was longing and I went through security check without any problems. So far so good! A few days before this very special day, Timo, editor of Hike&Trek magazine, contacted me. He was on the same flight as me – and I could say, it was a big relief. I met him at the gate and fortunately, he had no problems with flying, so he could keep me quiet. Before departure, I decided to ask the stewardess about any turbulence. Ah, and I gently mentioned my fear. She calmed me down and asked me during the flight around 5 times if all went well, very sweet!

0900: Copenhagen – Stockholm 1010

My second flight went also fine and I put Timo on my list of heroes (yes, that list actually exist for me. People who are of great help for me, at the right moment, are placed on this honourable list). When arrived at Stockholm, we waited for Timo’s luggage. I had put all my stuff in hand luggage of maximum size, so no worries for me. After waiting for a long (long long long) time, a big investigation with drugs hound and no baggage, we started to worry. It was lost.
Andreas Karlsson was waiting at the terminal for a couple of participants and this was the very first moment we met some other Polarists in real life! Woa, that was a strange moment!

When we arrived at the hotel, we all would share a room with our teammate, Bieke from Belgium for me. A lot of other participants were already settled, so we could meet! Another strange, very strange moment. For months, we shared our enthusiasm, our feelings, our worries and we got very familiar with each other. I mean, we got familiar with each others typing behaviour and our FB pics – and now, they were here in real! I had an heart warming welcome. Everybody was so kind, so friendly! And after first sight, it felt all familiar again. What a great group this is, what a great time we will have together in the next days!

Photos by Peter Holly:





When most participants were arrived (except Peter Blom Jensen, who told me about the safety of flying, and Søren, who  had problems with the plane; smoke in the cabin (?!?!), a next flight what was delayed 1,5 hours ‘for some reason’ (?!?!)) we got a word of welcome from Andreas Cederlund, Johan Skullman and Johan the cameraman. This Johan the cameraman has interviewed me last Classic and he recognized me. He even remembered where and when – how romantic haha! This shows I have to look for a Swedish man.

Johan, our cameraman:


Here we got our first lesson of Johan Skullman, in particular about dehydration, hypothermia, hyperthermia, temperatures and clothes. Fjällräven uses a ‘multi-layer-principle’, what means that you wear different layers of clothes, all with particular properties.

Base layer – wicks moisture away from the skin
Middle layer – absorbs and wicks away moisture and provides insulation
Outer layer – protects against wind, rain and wear and provides insulation
Reinforcement layer – gives added protection

After these lessons the moment came were we waiting for for hours, days, weeks and months; gear and clothes! We could pick our backpack out of a room and then the party began. It was like Christmas, Easter, my birthday; everything together. What a stuff. Amazing. And it didn’t end.. more and more was coming out of our pack; we were all so excited!
Part 1 existed of the following stuff:

Photo by Peter Holly:

– Polar Parka (http://www.fjallraven.com/fjallraven-polar-parka)
– Eco-Tour Jacket (http://www.fjallraven.com/eco-tour-jacket-women)
– Eco-Tour Trousers (http://www.fjallraven.com/eco-tour-trousers)
– Abisko 75L backpack (http://www.fjallraven.com/abisko-75)
– 70 L dryback (http://www.fjallraven.com/waterproof-packbag-70-l)
– Belt (http://www.fjallraven.com/abisko-web-belt)
– 4 pair of woolen Socks (different thickness) (http://www.aclima.no/products/sox)
– base layers (1 net shirt, 1 net pants, 1 ninja-suit, 1 shirt, bh, boxershort) (http://www.aclima.no/products/woolnet, http://www.aclima.no/products/warmwool/women/warmwool-overall)
– Keb fleece (http://www.fjallraven.com/keb-fleece-jacket-w)
– Hanwag boots (http://www.brunton.com/pages/hydrogen-reactor)
– 2x hestra handgloves (http://hestragloves.com/en/)
– Hat
– Nordic heater (http://www.fjallraven.com/nordic-heater)
– Gaiter
– Baklava
– Brunton charger (http://www.brunton.com/pages/hydrogen-reactor)
– Brunton headlamp (http://www.brunton.com/pages/lights)
– Brunton compass (http://www.brunton.com/pages/navigation)

It could be I still forget to mention a few things. It was amazing, this amount of beautiful and good stuff!

All our stuff, part 1:


Bieke and I in our ninja-suits:


 After a luxurious diner, Andreas Cederlund told us in which teams the group was divided. Team Benelux came with team Germany, great!
Around 2230 is was time to get some sleep. Our alarm would wake us up at 0530, so we could enjoy a warm shower. This one could also be the last one for next days! (It was..).



Tuesday, April 8th

0530: After a rough waking up from Bieke’s alarmclock, a nice shower and a good breakfast, it was time to drive to the airport again.

0920: Stockholm – Oslo 1020

Photo by Phil:


Photo by Jun-Hee:


Photo by Peter Holly:


A short flight, and I was less nervous compared to the day before, but.. I still wasn’t very relaxed. Fortunately, the place in front of me, next to Peter Holly, was free, so I could change. His opportunity to get on my ‘heroes-list’. And I can say – he’s on it! On the other side of me, there was a kind Swedish man, who borrowed me his superdeluxeandexpensive headphone. Great! The stories he told were less amiable, his wife went once on a trip with sled dogs and they  were having trouble with their stomach. The droppings didn’t have a firm consistence, so you probably can imagine how his wife looked like, at the end of the trip. With this in our foreseeing, we changed planes in Oslo, to continue our journey to the very north.

1145: Oslo – Tromsø (1335)



When arrived in Tromsø, we were again picked up by a buss. It took us to a big cabin, where we got part 2 of the gear. It consisted of the following:

– Bib trousers
– Sunglasses (http://www.julbo-eyewear.com/en/10/home.html)
– Sleepingbag Polar, -30 Reg (http://www.fjallraven.com/fjallraven-polar-30-reg)
– Sleepingmatress (http://www.fjallraven.com/ground-sheet)
– Food packages (http://www.drytech.no/index.php/en/)
– Windshield (http://www.fjallraven.com/vindsack)

From this place, we drove to Tamok Valley, a place close to the start (Signaldalen).
It didn’t end, here we got part 3 of our gear:

– Knife and firesteel (http://www.moraofsweden.se/adventure/bushcraft-survival-orange)
– Drinking bottles (http://www.primus.eu/drinking-bottle-wide-mouth-alu-1-0-l)
– Vacuum bottle (http://www.primus.eu/c-h-vacuum-bottle-stainless-steel-0-75-l)
– Cutlery kit (http://www.primus.eu/lightweight-cutlery-kit)
– Meal set (http://www.primus.eu/meal-set-red)
– Mug (http://www.primus.eu/4-season-mug-0-3-l)
– Snowshoes
– Tent (http://www.fjallraven.com/akka-endurance-3)
– Stove (http://www.primus.eu/omnifuel-incl-fuel-bottle-and-pouch)
– Etc!

Johan Skullman


We all listened carefully:



Photos by Peter Holly:



In Tamok Valley we got our first practical tips from Johan Skullman. What’s best way to pitch a tent in snowy conditions? Of which things do you have to take care first? What are the best steps? Some tips are pretty simple, but very important. And when it’s cold and you’re hungry, your mind will act different than in normal life. I think the little things are of great value, to make the trip more comfortable, but you have to think about them. For instance, when I pitch my tent in the South of France, 25 degrees, on a nice camping and I get the tent poles out of their bag, I just put the bag ‘somewhere in a corner’.  In this area, it’s very important you stall EVERYTHING on a safe and accessible place. It prevents it from blowing away, or getting lost somewhere beneath the snow. It’s a logical thing, but when it’s cold outside, when you’re hungry and tired, then the logical thinking will disappear sometimes.
We learned pitching the tent in the right direction (because of the wind) and we learned to make anchors of the tent pegs. Now and then it was hard to don’t lose concentration, because it was so cold! I was really freezing, my hands were bleeding everywhere and I was a little bit concerned how to survive next days. It was a relief to see my companions shiver as well. After this lesson, it was time to put up our own tent. Bieke and I had some trouble (not our fould!) because a foot for one of the poles was missing, and we missed some pegs.
When our tent was pitched, we met our musher: Jan. We learned practical things about the sledge and we learned that the dogs won’t listen to us. Okay. It didn’t took a long time, because diner was ready! Yeah finally! I was really hungry. Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. We got soup from a lamb. There are a few things I don’t like; something from a goat or sheep. It always feels like I’m in the sheep’s stall when I eat this meat and I won’t get rid of the taste for the next hours. The advantage was; I knew which sort of food we would get during our journey; food from Real Turmat. I like those meals, although you can’t compare it with a homemade dish. So, after my fear for flying, I defeated the fear for the lamb and ate 3 plates of soup.
After diner, the practical lesson passed on. This time, it was about the stoves. What I can say about this lesson afterwards, Bieke and I should have listened better. Story about this on Wednesday.

Photos by Jun-Hee:



Photo by Peter Holly:


Our first night in tent was very cold; -16 degrees. Our sleepingbag kept us very warm and I waked up like a newborn baby.




Wednesday, April 9th

0500: Good morning!


It’s Wednesday! The very first day of our POLARTRIP! Breakfast started early and our buss left in time to the start. Here, at the start, 220 dogs were ready, making a noise as if they were with 2200 dogs. What a view! I got 6 very sweet and cuddly dogs. The first 4 dogs were medium sized and quiet. Lena and Fena would lead my sledge. The last 2 dogs, just in front of my sledge, were big and strong. Even when I pulled out the anchor and stood still on the biggest brake, they could pull me forward.
When we were waiting, the first sledge took of. It was Peter Blom Jensen’s, and I think his dogs were that enthusiast, they left without him.
And yes – now it was time for our team to take of! That first feeling, the power, the scenery, the speed, indescribable. We crossed the road, went over some bumps – and I was happy I could stay on the sledge, in front of all those cameras. It all didn’t matter for the dogs, they just wanted to run forward. There wasn’t a real left or right – unless our musher Jan finally got his dogs to the left or right. And the dogs poop while they’re running. A very interesting sight, seen of my position. Furthermore, some pooped on the cords they were attached with on the sledge. These cords had to be removed at the end of the day with the same gloves as with which we cooked our water, putted up our tent and ate or meals… Back to basic!

At the start, the Fjällräven Crew wished us luck, like we’ve seen in the movies of previous years. That gave an amazing feeling and a happy feeling. I was proud, that I could make this trip..



On the first day, we climbed uphill very fast, from the Norwegian Valley to de Mountain regions in Sweden. Sometimes we could help our dogs, by stepping or running next to the sledge.

,,In perfect weather, the dogs pull their sleds upwards through thinning forests for the first 10km after leaving Signaldalen. Once they have reached 800m above sea level, they are above the treeline and the Norwegian mountains can be seen stretching endlessly on ahead, today showing their best side. A cold wind in the otherwise pleasant conditions of minus three degrees makes the participants pull up the hoods of their Polar Parkas. Sunglasses and goggles protect their eyes from the intense light of the sun’s rays reflected in the sparkling white snow” (http://www.fjallravenpolar.com).

We were sledging for less than two hours and I had to go to the bathroom. I mean, a toilet. Or just a tree. But no trees anymore; so.. a stone is okay for me too! I asked musher Jan, but he didn’t think it necessary to stop, because another team would catch us up. I didn’t mind, but okay. I would wait. Half an hour later. Not stopped yet. An hour later. Still not stopped. Jan wanted to keep on going. In the meanwhile, I watched the dogs, a bit jealous, doing their ‘things’, while they keep on running. Fortunately, after a few hours, we reached Checkpoint Pältsa, where we could go to a real toilet. Yay! What a luxury! It exists of a windy wooden hut with an hole in a wooden bench. And there was a disinfection soap! Going to the toilet wasn’t easy in the beginning. Because of our multi layer principle, it took me in the beginning around 10 minutes to fully undress and dress me, but at the end I had reduced it to 30 seconds. Routine it is.
After we had our lunch (Pasta Provencal for me) and I had gone to the toilet for 3-4 times, it was time to pack and to proceed the trip.






Photos Fjällräven Official:






Photo Jun-Hee:

After a further cold voyage, where we climbed up beyond the tree line, we arrived after many hours on our destination for this day; Råstu. I didn’t know what time it was or how many hours we had sledged.

Photo Fjällräven Official:


The hard work could begin. We changed the dogs of position, so that they couldn’t play (or attack) with each other and so they couldn’t damage the cords they were atached with. After this, the harnesses must be taken off and because it was cold and very windy, they had to wear their pyjamas. We also dug a hole for each dog against the wind, with a wall for protection.
In the meanwhile, we had to get some water for the dogs. It cost around 20-30 minutes for the water to boil, so we had time to cut the meat for the dogs. After we fed the dogs, it was our turn. We wanted to pitch the tent, but we had to wait for Johan Skullmans instructions. That means; free time! At home, it wouldn’t be a problem, but here one way or the other, it feels inefficient and lazy. It’s cold, you’re tired and you only want to put up the tent and get some sleep. After the instructions, which were very important, so luckily we waited with pitching the tent), we finally put up the tent. Although, we tried to.  Again, it wasn’t easy. It needed a lot of power to stick the poles in their feet. My mood wasn’t getting better. Cold fingers, a hand what was stuck between two poles over and over, slipping poles and a tent which blew away when not holding it tight: what a fun, wintercamping. Fortunately, Paul, our German teammate, came to help us and the Polar was fun again. I dug out the vestibule of the tent and made a windscreen of snow to cook, so we wouldn’t be bothered by heavy wind.

In the mean time, Bieke made the stove and cooking pots ready. At this moment, Andreas Cederlund and Johan the romantic cameraman came to film the whole progress. With coolness and pride around us, we took our Morakniv and lightened the stove, as we had learned from Johan. The stove went on fire in one movement. Wow! And then, the wooden board came on fire. And the snow. And the powerfuel-bottle. Damn! Everything was on fire, and we all four looked full astonishment. Whut? What appeared to be happened: Bieke didn’t attached the fuelbottle in a proper manner to the stove. When we pumped the bottle for getting pressure, fuel had leaked out of it and we lightened it with our cool Morakniv. As a result: Andreas repaired the stove and we lightened our second one (this went all fine). It was a very good lesson for me; always lighten two stoves, in a case that one may fail, you always can cook dinner with the other one. Because believe me, you have to eat. Although you don’t want anything anymore, after 2 hours of struggling and a fire in your backyard.

The stove was on fire:

Around 1:14 you can see our stove, and me afterwards.


Photo Jun-Hee:

Thursday, April 10th

A new day! Time for a delightful breakfast. Yesterday, I namely sorted out a package of chocolate muesli; I couldn’t wait to eat! Unfortunately, it became warm chocolate-muesli-soup and my hunger disappeared after 4 spoons. The problem is, when eating these package of freeze-dried food, you have to be sure you put enough water in them. When not, you get problems with your stomach, because it could suck up water in your stomach. Too much water gives a soup.
And then there was another dilemma. Johan Skullman kept repeating how important it is to drink enough; around 4 litres a day! Normally, 1 litre is a lot for me. But the problem here is, when I drink a lot, I have to go to the toilet a lot. Where do I have to choose for?

This morning, some dogs were fully snowed in. It looked adorable, but very cold:
,,At the edge of the camp area a little nose can be seen sticking up out of the snow. It looks cold and unpleasant but the guides ensure the group that the dogs are warm and comfortable. “The dogs that are lying there covered in snow are possibly the ones who are most comfortable,” says Tom Frode. “They curl up, put their nose between their paws and wrap their tails around themselves. They are fine! Warm and cosy.” (http://www.fjallravenpolar.com)

Photos Fjällräven Official:

Dog food:


After we ate our dinner, boiled our water for the dogs, chopped the meat, cleaned up the little poops, put away the pyjamas (and make them clean; some dogs undressed themselves at night and pooped on their pyjamas, splendid), emptied our tent, put away our tent and packed the sledge, it was time to go on.


Time to follow our trip over the Artic Tundra! The scenery was wonderful. Stretched out with a view of 50 kilometres. There’s nothing and nobody, only some signboards and a few Michelin-looking man and -woman on a sledge. Beautiful. Mountains, of which you will always underestimate their height. A strong and cold wind, a blue sky and the sun, which made our noses red. This landscape doesn’t have to end for me. This is the landscape, these are the circumstances where I came for. Here the importance of the material became clear. It may not break, it has to do its job. It doesn’t matter how you look like, you just want to keep warm. For me, these moments where incredible important for me. Experience myself that it’s not ‘just’ a vacation in snow. It’s serious and you (let’s say, I) cannot do this on my own. Not yet, not now, not in my position.



Photos by Peter Holly:







We took our lunch together with the other teams in Kamas. The dogs got their snacks and we made our own meal. Thursdaymorning we boiled water before we left our campsite, and putted it in our vacuum bottles, so we could make lunch with the hot water. ,,Be prepared, otherwise you won’t survive” are the useful words of Johan Skullman, which I won’t forget. It makes a huge difference whether being prepared or not.
After our lunch the docter came with Johan for Bieke. She felt ill, poor mate :(.




In the course of the day, we left the Artic Tundra and went into the woods again. Another scenery, another experience. The change went fast, I think in 15 minutes (? I’m not sure, didn’t wear a watch during the trip), we reached the tree line again.

The evening we spent on a frozen lake, Lake Kattujärvi. Bieke was still feeling sick and here our teamspirit reaches its max. While Bieke was resting on a sledge, Paul helped me pitching the tent of Bieke and me, so that she could get some sleep very soon. In the meanwhile, our boiling-water-princess, took care of the water and food, while I helped Paul with their tent. Everything went smoothly and fast, we were ‘prepared’ and had routine. Great! In no time, the tents were up, the water was boiling and we were sitting next to the stoves.
The lake was surrounded by a wall of snow and ground (just a wall?), so many of us departed to the other side to look for a toilet. Apparently, I disturbed someone in his process, because when I came over the hill, I saw a blue jacket with a very white butt, wiggling away on snowshoes (what a sight haha).

Musher Jan wasn’t very good in his communication, because on a certain moment, he came to tell us we had to be with Johan Skullman in 10 minutes for another lesson. We, Melanie, Paul and I, were just boiling our water. A pity, because we wouldn’t be ready in 10 minutes, we hadn’t had dinner yet and we could start the process all over again, when we would come back from the lesson.
Johan gave demonstrations about sleeping outside (what to wear, what to bring into the sleepingbag, what to keep outside etc) and about the first preparations for making a fire. After this lesson, we got bread with baked reindeer meat. Delicious! I really liked it.

An hour or so later, we could proceed the boiling process. Tuomo, the man of Finland, came to help us, very sweet. In the mean time, Bieke left the camp, because she was too ill to proceed the trip. She went to an icehotel in Kiruna, and we all felt sad for her.
Our team existed of only 3 people now and I had to sleep alone for 2 nights. I didn’t like to sleep alone, because then I would miss all the bedtime stories and Paul didn’t mind to sleep alone (with is > 2 metres length, he could use some space), so Melanie came in Bieke’s place.

Tuomo, our hero (Fjällräven Official photo):


Photo by Soren:


Our places on the lake:




Photos by Peter Holly:





Friday, April 11th

Photo Fjällräven Official:


Photo by Peter Holly:

After we woke up, our daily routine started again. Apparently, we got used to our daily things, because we were the first who were ready to go. Lunch we kept with the 4 of us and it was a good moment to try out our Vindsäck, a huge plastic bag where you can sit in, when it’s windy. Photo’s will follow!

Along the way, Jan already warned us about the waterfall. A sharp curve and a steep descent where many participants fall of their sledge each year. Because I already felt of the sledge for 4 times this trip, I didn’t expect to survive this one. The photographers were already ready, in position to record our flattering descending. My dogs took the left side of the path and there was a bump. The dogs ran over it, and I tried everything, but my sledge turned over and I felt. Number 5.

Photo Fjällräven Official:


Not much later, we arrived on our latest campsite. This time, we were again very fast with everything what has to be done. It all seemed so easy now! Meanwhile, Frederick, a Swedish guy from a television programme, came to strengthen our team. This night, we would sleep outside (yeeaah!) and Frederick and I decided to make one hole for the two of us.

Preparing food for the dogs:




Johan gave us useful instructions and off we went. We soon found a good space in the woods, just behind a tree, which could protect us for some wind. The building of our snow-hotel has begun! The first meter of snow was of good building-quality. When using the shovel in the right way, we could make strong blocks out of it, with which we could build a real palace. I really found a new passion of mine, digging and building with snow, I can’t get rid of it.
In the meanwhile, some group of mediapeople came to look at us. Under them were 2 Dutch people, and we started to talk. When I wanted to show them our icehotel, it appears that Frederick was already done. And he wasn’t ‘just’ done, nope, he made a windproof castle. Frederick – my hero!

Our ice-hotel:


Ice-hotel of Míra, Peter, Petra and Katrina:




In the evening Fjällräven made a campfire for all of us and here Mando Diao came to sing a few songs. Phil recorded some, they can be heard hear: http://youtu.be/xVRmGq6aC5A . I’m sure that most fellow Polarists will wipe away some tears, when hearing these songs.

Photos Fjällräven Official:



This night outside was wonderful. It was my best night for months. Later, I heard from Greg they had seen the Northern lights (Aurora Borealis) and although I had really loved to see it, I’m happy I went sleeping. Next day (Saturday) would be our last and there was a big party planned, one I wouldn’t miss. However, I surely go back some day to see the light.




Saturday, April 12th

My view, when waking up:



,,Be prepared, otherwise you won’t survive!” Yes, Johan Skullman! I was prepared! The evening before we would sleep in our icehotel, I sorted out some meals for breakfast. We also boiled some hot water, so we could have breakfast in our warm sleepingbag. Yeah, I was a proud girl!

Before we left, Johan called us. We had to show we could make fire on our own. On Thursday, I already collected some Birchwood, what was fully dried now. Again, I was prepared! We got some ‘hair’ of the trees and in no time I made a fire. A fire with wood, hair, a knife and firesteel. PRROOOUUD! It feels so good, making your own fire, finally!






My fire, when practising before Johans exam:



Very soon after, we left again. Our last sleddoggingday begun. The trip didn’t take long anymore and we would finish early, in Väkkerä. We already took our flags out of the pack, ate our last meal.. and then we couldn’t delay it further. We really had to go to the finish line:(.
With mixed feelings we continued the trip. On one side it’s terrible to leave this here, to go back to normal life again. On the other hand, I really longed to a shower.

At the finishline, we had a heart warming welcome from the Fjällräven Crew and media. After some group photo’s, we could move to our cabin and have a sauna. Too bad there wasn’t a shower, but in the sauna we found warm and cold water – a luxury for us and we could wash our hear excellent. I changed my mind; I don’t need a shower anymore.
There was also a gap in the lake, where we could dip after and before sauna. Very cold, but ofcourse, also fun!

At 1900 our diner began. We got as a starter; reindeerheart, cheese-cake, slippy fish and a wrap.



Peter and Míra:

After this, our main dish came; potatoes with reindeer goulash. Whoaa! DE-LI-CIOUS!

During dinner, our certificates were handed out by Andreas Cederlund, Johan Skullman, Kenth Fjällrborg and the CEO of Fjällräven. I wanted to thank these great guys, but how? How can you thank somebody for an once-in-a-lifetime experience? For something I won’t ever forget anymore? I still don’t know. Heart warming hugs were shared.




After diner, it was time for a party. It was amazing. Live-music, beer, friends for life and experiences I will never forget. We danced, jumped and laughed, as long as we could and slowly more people silently disappeared to their beds. Finally, Petra, Míra, Melanie and I were the last Polarists who left the room. It was a wonderful  end of a wonderful trip. A time I will never forget, a time where I was cold, where I sometimes had a tough time, where we learned a lot of things and where we made friendships, which will hopefully last for a very, very long time.

Everybody who helped me, on way way or the other, to make this dream real for me; tack så mycket.


During the trip, I (almost) never knew what time it was. I made the decision not to bring a watch, because I would enjoy nature as it is. Waking up because of the noise, or because I didn’t need more sleep. Eating when I was hungry, getting to sleep when I was tired. It felt liberating, something I, now I’m home again, really miss.

At the moment, I miss the nature, the dogs and the other Polarists. But I won’t sit still and wait of adventure, I’m looking for it myself.
We already arranged a meeting with Polarists at the Classic next summer and we plan to do Ben Nevis at the end of August. Also, I will visit Phil Raisbeck next week in England.

Happily, there are also activities somewhat closer. We have a Fjällräven Flagshipstore with Hanwag store in Holland, with all the gear beneath one roof. A paradise I would say.
So.. who’s going to Amsterdam with me?





Photos by Peter Holly:


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Hej hej!

I'm always collecting things to enlarge my outdoor collection,
I'm always collecting memories to widen my thoughts.

I like to go out and I want to make the outdoor more accessible.
I haven't set goals, I'll just have a look what crosses my path.

At the moment I'm studying medicine and do a lot of sports (running, swimming, korfball). I work as a Lifeguard in summer and at the moment, I'm learning Swedish.

Maybe a small goal? Inspire other people - and get inspired by people!

Tags Recent Posts Fjällräven Polar 2014 – Dutch version