As we leave the terminal building I feel strangely conspicuous. It's a rainy day in Tromso and I'm dressed for the mountains, in winter, with snowshoes, flotation tails attached, strapped to the back of my pack. We've been travelling since yesterday evening. The late flight to Oslo, a few hours sleep in an airport hotel and an early flight North are all behind us and, already eleven hours underway, I'm impatient for it to really get started. There is though, one more obstacle between us and the trail head, we need to get our hands on gas cannisters. Hoping to avoid a round trip into Tromso centre we throw money at the problem and claiming the first taxi in the rank, which is also the only taxi in the rank, we hope that the driver really does know where to buy gas. Ten minutes later, still within sight of the airport and with shiny new gas cannisters stuffed into rucksacks, we set off, now confident that the driver knows her way around. Ten minutes later still, we're stood on the road side, looking out over the Grotsundet and zipping on snow gaiters.
Olympus e30/Zuiko 14-54mm @ 14mm, f5.6
This place has lain idle for a while. Contrary to the impression that might give I myself haven't been idle. Too much, and of too little relevance, to report here. I have, however, been out gathering fuel for a trip report. Troms was fantastic. As the dust continues to settle, and the imagery jostles to find a place in my memory, it already feels like Troms will go down as one of my best ever. Why is that? Perhaps because of the blinding white-outs that forced careful compass navigation? Perhaps because of the hard, wind-driven snow that made an already wild landscape seem all the wilder? Perhaps because of the periodically clearing skies that temporarily revealed tops we'd planned to climb and lured us into aborted attempts? Perhaps because of the gear failure that nearly, but not quite, led to an early bath? Perhaps because of the sudden appearance of the ghost-like Swedish girl who came in out of the snow-storm only to go back out again? Perhaps because, after many trips North, I finally got to see the aurora? Perhaps, simply, because of the long day spent cutting fresh tracks under long golden light? A day of days! Perhaps because the high North has become a more important part of me than even I had understood? Perhaps not due to any single one of those things but because the final tally is greater than it's parts?
Any who've dropped by in the last weeks may have noticed a steady stream of photographs has been appearing over there on the right hand side-bar. Look carefully and those photo's tell something of the story. You'll need to wait a little longer for the write-up. Although many of the words are already in place they have to find a way out of my head and onto the page. That process can take a while. In the meantime, I'm off to Norway again for some more inspiration......