A Quarter of 40 Days and Nights in the Wilderness

We had been in Norway about 6 weeks. It was getting time to know what our next move was. Were we going to leave Scandinavia and head into the heat of southern Europe? Were we going to stay in the relative cool of the Nordic summer by volunteering in Norway at a farm? We didn’t know, but we knew it would be good to know and it was time for us to have a plan.

We decided to stay north for another week to camp. Erik (our gracious and generous host) was happy to help and lent us his camping gear. He even made our camping plans for us. (Have we mentioned we can be indecisive?) The night before we headed for the wilderness we bought two airline tickets from Oslo to Istanbul. We had a plan.

Erik prepped us for our adventure on the drive toward our destination. We would spend 9 days and 8 nights at a lake in the woods not too far from his home. He would drop us off at the north end of the small lake. We would hike south along the eastern shore of the water’s edge (which turned out to be more like scratchy bushwhacking than hiking) for an hour or so until we found a suitable camp area. We would then drop our bags and scout the larger area for the most prime location. We followed his advice and found a perfect spot on a rocky peninsula with a few shore access points, an earthen spot for our tent, a nice breeze and an established fire pit.


The lake and land were beautiful. The forest came right up to the water’s edge. Little islands were visible all throughout the shallow lake. The first few days the sun blazed and we wore less clothing, got our dose of vitamin D, read outside, swam and relaxed. Then the rain happened and we spent the entire day inside the tent with our books taking turns reading aloud to each other. David enjoyed watching as individual rain drops landing on the lake creating tiny craters that then suspended a water droplet on the surface for just a moment before disappearing. As we sat in the tent we would hear the rain stop for awhile and then could hear the curtains of water approaching again from the far side of the lake.

20130814-004823.jpgAbove: wooden art projects. We set some of them on fire.

Our pantry consisted of:
6 freeze-dried meals, 3 cans of mackerel in tomato sauce, 2 cans of sardines, 4 cans liverwurst, 6 deer sausages, two pounds of “breaky bread,” a bag of oats, raisins, honey, cocoa powder, coconut oil, 4 bags of instant rice, 1 pound of coffee, 2 salamis and the entire lake for drinking.
If you just read this pantry list and thought to yourself, ‘That doesn’t seem like quite enough food for a David and an Austin to live on for 9 days’ then you are more astute than we were. We ran out of food with a day and a half left to go and spent one morning picking a pound of wild blueberries to supplement our measly ration of remaining oatmeal.

20130814-005753.jpgOne day we walked farther south along the lake and found an empty cabin with an unlocked rowboat on the shore. We returned the following day and wrote a note asking forgiveness for our bold borrowing of their vessel. We rowed out to some islands and made our way around the perimeter of the lake.

We enjoyed being outdoors with lots of time to do nothing or something. We brought three books with us: Nonviolent Communication, The Hero With A Thousand Faces and The Undefended Self. We hoped to gain insights into ourselves by reading, talking and being out here. The plan worked and we left with some grounding insights.

Animals we saw:
5 frogs, 2 herons, a few smaller birds, a poisonous snake, a legless lizard, 2 dragonflies, a damsel fly, a little red underwater insect, a small fish, about 15 humans, and countless spiders, ants and biting flies (called “kleggs” in our own special blend of Norsk and English). We also saw moose poo, which is almost an animal.



10 thoughts on “A Quarter of 40 Days and Nights in the Wilderness

    • Hillary- Good to hear from you again through the FS portal. We miss you and think of you two often. I’m cuddling with a skinny little cat at a cute little Istanbul cafe called Holy Coffee. It’s a on a cute busy side street and they are super nice.

  1. Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople. Been a long time gone, Constantinople. Why did Constantinople get the works? That’s nobodies business, but the Turks.

  2. how has that green jacket of yours managed to stay so new looking (at least in the pictures). My recollection of travel experience is that everything gets ruined, lost, ruined again, lost again, chewed up by a rabid dog, ruined again, torn and sewn, torn and sewn again, and again and again and again. I mean really, that thing looks like it did when you first showed up at our home to show off how frekin cool it was! Anyway, I (we) miss you all and sooooooooo look forward to reading your posts! Thanks for inviting us into your world and I very much look forward to enjoying your physical presence whenever that day may come. Tomorrow? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, it wont be tomorrow, you will be in Istanbul, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I mean yes (sarcastically of course :)). Lots of love to you both xoxoxxoxoxooooooooooooxoxoxoooooooooo

    • Sproutz- Your comments are so fun for us to read. Keep writing to us! We are excited to hang out with you when we’re back. So far we have been doing pretty well keeping our stuff from getting lost or destroyed. David did lose one of his two pairs of underwear with two weeks left on the Camino. He noticed this morning that he lost two pairs of ankle socks in the Norwegian laundry. Maybe also lost his black beanie that was really handy to have, but not at all necessary in Turkey. It’s hot here!!! Austin has managed to keep her neon green jacket looking neon green only by the fact that she shares genetic material with Anne, the world’s best launderer.
      How is work going? How was your time at Cape Cod?? We send our love to the special apartment at 303 Monroe and both of its lovely inhabitants. We miss you!

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