Ingvar Loco Nordin & Anna Nygren
The Jupiter Hike
(Waiting for Garddenvárri 2014)

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Chapter 1


Our complete hike lined out in yellow. Tenting places and hut stays marked with red dots.

There's no real way you can tell what is good for you. You may believe that you've got it all figured out, and that your preparations are sufficient and quite splendid... but then the Universe proposes something entirely different, and life presents itself to you from an unsuspected angle. That which you have been fighting to fulfill might be something that turns out against you, and only that which you hated so much will save you. Yes.

The weeks before The Jupiter Hike I was quite ill. I contracted a painful and ominous bursitis of my left elbow. It began as a minor irritation when resting on my elbows at work, but quickly developed into a red, swollen and quite tense spot. The first doctor I saw – an infamous Ö. Walter – said: ”I'll tell you what I'll do; absolutely nothing”, and sent me home after a couple of minor tests. The second doctor at the same clinic, a lady I saw after two days, immediately started me out on heavy antibiotics, indicating that the inflammation – the bursitis – had extended into an infection of the arm. I was feeling really sick by now, to the extent that I stayed home three days on sick leave, which hadn't happened in many years. I was by now worried that Anna's and my Lapland hike was in jeopardy. Then I had to go to the ER (Emergency Room) at the hospital on the following Sunday, since my arm had swollen profusely and acquired a red nuance. The doctor I saw there cut the elbow open and relieved it of some fluid, which was sent for testing. This was the beginning of recovery. The testing indicated that it indeed was an infection, by yellow staphylococcus.


Myself at home on bursitis sick-leave in a heatwave


During these weeks before our hike the weather was extreme in Sweden, extremely hot, to a degree that put everyone to the test. I moved around the apartment to find the least hot area to sleep, but it was a nightmare of sweat and bad dreams, with the bursitis and the heat wave cooperating to make life dark, painful and unreal. I found it almost impossible, during this illness, to do any bike exercises, which normally have me out each night after work at least 30 km, so habits and good traditions were slashed.

The arm got better, but still today, as I write this, well after the hike, I wear a protective bandage around my elbow.

Anna had a more severe problem, longer lasting and potentially detrimental to her participation in our mountain adventure. She had hurt her left knee badly on a small climb on a local mountain – Snipen – right after she'd been on a ten-day winter Lapland hike on skis in April. She probably had over-strained herself on skis in Lapland, and when climbing that local mountain at home, she made some movement that hurt her knee. She acquired a partial rupture of the medial collateral ligament of her left knee. This was serious, and caused a lot of pain. It was not a suiting ailment to get before a strenuous mountain hike with climbs... and worst of all, it remained almost unchanged during the months leading up to the hike. Anna was recommended by colleagues to buy a good knee support before leaving for the mountains, and luckily she did, just a couple of days before departure. She stated later that she would not have been able to do what she did on this hike without this expensive Rebound Knee Brace from a company called Össur.


Alexander Gerst in the International Space Station, observing Earth


There were other aspects of the time before our hike that weren't medical, or negative. I followed, with scrutiny, the German astronaut Alexander Gerst through his rich reports on Facebook from The International Space Station. He circled the Earth once every 90 minutes, cruising at 28000 km/h, delivering fantastic pictures of the Earth and space, keeping me in awe and jubilation. It felt like, finally, there was a guy with a similar sense of curiosity and wonder as mine, out there in orbit. His reports continue also after our hike, and I remain closely attached to them.
Simultaneously I was reading Frank White’s account on space exploration from it’s beginnings up to the years of the Space Shuttle; The Overview Effect, with the subtitle Space Exploration and Human Evolution; an uneven but partly very interesting and compelling study.



Another event that had colored my life in a major way before Anna's and my hike of August 2014 was a meditation course I went to in May. Anna had told me back in the winter 2013-14 that she was about to take up meditating, like she'd practiced in younger days. I asked her to show me how to go about that, and on one of my visits at her farm up north, she gave me some instructions. Right there I started a meditation practice. I looked for possible courses on the web, and found the Vipassana courses held all year around near the town of Ödeshög in Sweden. I applied and was accepted, and stayed there for twelve days in May, out of which ten were spent in total silence, so-called noble silence. It was a good, profound experience, which I do carry with me.


The back cover of a CD I made with a composition inspired by the Vipassana course


The front of that same CD


I have not been a stranger to meditation, as I am an avid reader of Buddhist texts, and love to listen to readings of, for example, Alan Watts – but before this Vipassana course I hadn't seriously set myself the task of sitting meditation. Now I did, and I keep that up, to some degree, long after the course. It's more of a daily routine, like my bike exercise. At the same time I began finding deep relaxation on an acupressure mat, almost every day.



Since Anna and I met, first in August of 2009, without thinking so much about it, up at Nallo in Lapland, and then again in August 2010, again at Nallo, when we started to realize that it was more than coincidence that we kept meeting like that in the wilderness, we have been together. I have retained my apartment south of Stockholm, where I work as a crime investigator, and Anna has her farm up North, near Luleå, with three horses, and her physiotherapist work at a hospital. I keep flying back and forth as much as I can, being lucky enough to plan my working days pretty much as I wish, if only I do the required hours.


The tail of the Norwegian plane I flew up north



To chapter 2