Ingvar Loco Nordin & Anna Nygren
Russian Disappearance Hike
(Presley Rock Hike 2012)

A piece of birch bark, with an anomaly on it looking just like a mountain, which I found at home on the farm in Niemisel just prior to our hike.

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I'd like to dedicate this mountain story to Johan Hammerth for composing his Piano Preludes, and to Stefan Lindgren for interpreting them!

Hammerth portrait: Christian Albinsson

Chapter 1

This is the total hike. Red dots are our tenting places. We started at the bottom:

Notes: Distances are given in kilometers, altitudes in meters and temperatures in Centigrade. When the word climbing is used, it does not denote proper climbing with ropes, handline blocks, latches, descenders, pitons etcetera, but at the most light climbing, when you use your hands and feet on shorter, vertical or semi-vertical passages. Otherwise the word climbing is used here simply to get up and down very steep, steep or semi-steep mountainsides. Anna and I took all pictures. Anna's pictures are marked as her shots. All my photographs are taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 compact digital camera, and Anna's with a Canon IXUS 1000 HS compact digital camera.

Arlanda Airport. Time to go north!

Anna's and my mountain hike 2012 had a loose and unsure foreplay. I thought I was smart when I began wearing my backpack stuffed with 22 kilos of hiking gear back and forth between my home and work for a few weeks before my vacation, eight kilometers every day, and the plan as such probably was logical and intelligent. I hadn't, however, taken into account that the topography of the town of Nyköping and the corresponding one of the Lapland mountains and valleys are quite opposite. In town the ground is flat and even, while in the Lapland wilderness no step is identical to the preceding or the following. I discovered, after walking those eight kilometers each day for a couple of weeks, that my body had objections. It didn't approve of the flatness and evenness one bit. It spoke to me through cramps in my back.

As I write I recall that I've had thoughts on this before, up to the point of theorizing about healthy ground to tread, in cities and indoors. I had the idea of floors in apartments - or sidewalks in cities - made artificially uneven, in various degrees and styles, for example like the rocky ground in Lapland, which would be possible with some of the new materials being innovated or evolved by science. The top of the line floors or sidewalks would change appearance slowly, so that no stretch would be identical from day to day. The way to the bathroom or the subway would be different, ground wise, each day, thus keeping you focused, making your body balanced and strong, keeping your back from getting sore, breaking loose from all stale deadlocks and blockages.

Cloud cover from above, somewhere between Stockholm and Luleå

I had to start taking anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Diklofenak, and visit a chiropractor, who took care of some of my money. I also retorted to a very strong liniment, used by athletes: Linnex, containing capsaicin. It burns like fire, keeping your mind off the original pain...

The unforeseen back problem, which the hiking to work should have prevented, but instead caused... lowered my spirits, and when time came to fly north to Anna's farm, near the tiny but historically significant village of Niemisel, at the start of August, I was in doubt of the outcome of our planned hike, which this time, according to plan, also incorporated some serious summits.

Stinging nettles at the dung hill at Anna's farm

The flight with no bullshit airline Norwegian (as opposed to all bullshit airline Ryan) lasts an hour and a few minutes from Arlanda Airport outside Stockholm to Kallax Airport in Luleå, up north in Sweden. At Kallax Anna picks me up in her car, for the 60 kilometers drive to her farm, due northeast of Kallax. I've done this flight many times, since I live south of Stockholm, in Nyköping town, to work, and on the farm up north to love!
The simplicity of Norwegian Air must be praised, since other low fare airlines usually try to squeeze as much extra money out of you as they possibly can, like Ryan Air, while Norwegian never tries any dirty tricks with you. It's like getting on a bus, and you're there quick and smooth, without being bugged about anything at all.

We had four days on the farm before we were scheduled to depart on a four-hour train ride to Kiruna, close to the mountain districts. Anna’s vacation started later than mine, so she still worked the days before departure, as a physiotherapist at a big, modern hospital outside Luleå, which looks like some kind of space station cast out in nature.
I remained at the farm, taking care of the horses and doing some chores, or simply sitting out in the mosquito house in the garden, reading and sipping coffee.

Reading and sipping coffee inside the mosquito house was sheer pleasure!

I brought a couple of books; Turning The Wheel of Truth by Ajahn Scitto (Commentary on Buddha's First Teaching), and The Loft by Marlen Haushofer, whose magnificent The Wall had been recited on national radio earlier in the year, catching my ear. From Anna's books I chose Tore Abrahamsson's great book about the Lapland area north of Kebnekaise, which is the district we were going to hike. Anna had also recommended a couple of books by Jacques Dropsy, to help me correct my body posture and thus be less prone to get back aches; Le corps bien accordé (The Harmonious Body) and Vivre dans son corps (Living In Your Body).
Anna gave me a good back rub each night, to reveal those intermittent cramps.

Grip got new shoes when the farrier came by. Anna watches.

As if it wasn't enough with the back cramps, I contracted a case of infection of the cornea of one eye, opening a grey, ugly peripheral sore two days before our departure. This ailment isn't new to me, but this time it appeared at a very impractical time. However, I had a standing prescription at the national pharmacy, so Anna could pick up the meds necessary from the drugstore at her work; some Fucithalmic antibacterial ointment.

Anna had her own back problems, getting quite bad before the hike. She had a rearing horse fall back over her once in her youth, while riding in England, and since then she has recurring periods of back pain. Now it seemed we were unduly ill fitted for a mountain hike which required us to carry heavy loads over unforgiving terrain…

Anna’s daughter and her husband came around to get a last run-through of how to take care of the horses Grip and Torre while Anna was away, and all the preparations thus were completed, as far as anyone could see.

I don't know what this wasp's nest symbolises, but there is something mystical about it...


To chapter 2