A low sun sat in the sky as I navigated through a slot canyon filled with slippery boulders and precarious wooden planks covering the wet ground. I stopped at a desolate beach and setup my tent for the night. A storm brewed as I shivered in my sleeping bag and worried about getting blown into the frigid Norwegian sea feet away. Both hands shielded my head from the battering tentcollapsing around me. I quickly learned conditions in the far north were not to be taken lightly. After a tumultuous night, the wind died down long enough to boil water and make instant coffee. My cold hands gripped the warm mug while waves broke on the shore and the deep blue water contrasted with the golden sand seated under mountains ascending to the sky.
I found myself in Norway after a hectic summer in southern California. I was drawn to the inclement weather, bucolic landscapes, and quiet atmosphere that reminded me of growing up in northern Michigan. I planned little for the adventure and packed a light backpack with a few essentials and my camera gear.
I walked along the winding road with aherd of sheep meandering in mydirection. A group aggressively raised their hooves when I tried to make conversation; the smell of dried fish hovered in the air from a rack outside a nearby wooden house. I stopped at Reine, a fishing village on an island weaved around giant fjords. I grabbed a bite for lunch at a café and watched fisherman load up their boats with nets and crates. I was headed back into the mountains and knew I would need a meal that consisted of more than the granola bars I had been eating the days prior.
At the base of a mountain I checked my provisions for the night and set foot on the trail. Mud gripped my boots as I trekked through pastures and steep hillsides. Heavy wind and rain continued to pummel my face as I climbed the narrow path. I took a deep breath and admired the landscape from the summit. Scenery overlooking the sea read like a painting as endless mountains expanded for miles. I setup my tent, snacked on rice and beans, and watched the sun go down as the temperature dropped on the mountain peak.
A vibrant colorful glow radiating through the sky woke me. My hands turned numb as I tried to capture a photograph of the rainbow illuminating the world around. I sat on the mountain, an audience of one watching every shade of green, ochre, and purple dancing through the night.
The marvel of the northern lights was etched in my head as I drifted back to sleep. Deep in the arctic, I surrendered to unknown forces and found it to be the reason I pursue adventures in far off places. Breaking the mold of comfort and control so often found in my every day life. The morning transitioned amid an unforgettable sunrise as I breakfasted on splintery dried fish.