December 2016
News from Norway

Dear lovers of the wilds, fellows, friends!

It’s a month now that winter has arrived in Nord-Østerdalen. One day, it snowed all the way down to the valleys and the snow kept staying. Forests and mountains are aglow in a wonderfull white, compensating for the dwindling day light. Even if the day length is close to its shortest, it is pure pleasure to roam in nature. On skis naturally, with half a meter of snow all around! Everything is clear for the winter season to come, and here I want to introduce both the two winter programs which now are available in English.

Today’s topics:

Skiing on Traditional Wooden Skis

An old legend says it was a god who brought skis onto the earth, rather accidentally. He’d been on an elk hunt, chasing the elk all over the sky. In his desperation the elk jumped down to the earth, and the god followed it there. This way even the people on earth came to use this divine means of locomotion. In fact, archeological finds and stone age carvings show that people used skis thousands of years before the invention of the wheel.

Without skis we’d get hopelessly stuck in the masses of snow. We don’t own the constitution and strength to trudge through the deep snow as the elks do, or to plough through it like the musk ox. And we’re not light enough like the foxes and snow hares, who just run on top of the snow. Skis are the divine gift, which lifts us up upon the top of the snow. But not enough, skis let us glide, and in fact I only know of one animal to share this privilege with us.

Traditional Skiing on Wooden Skis - even animals do it (picture)

Skiing is outstanding and elegant, yet simple and easy. First of all, you don’t need anything but two planks. You tie them to your shoes and here you go! Special gear like you need for cross country or alpine skiing are just unnecessary. Traditional skiing is all about playing with the snowy landscape: to find the right angle on the slope for not getting to slow or to fast, to keep balance, to chose a suitable path between hills and valleys, not too steep, not too flat, and to find one’s way through the labyrinth of trees. We hardly need to know any skiing technique. We glide a bit, adapt, glide another bit, or climb. We don’t use skins for climbing as when ski touring. The wooden structure of the skis and some wax give grip enough to climb gently. Got curious? Join in and try!

By the way, I’ve got a bonus for you: [offer ended]

 

Wilderness Courses in Norway: Nordic Winter Wilderness Living in a Winter Camp (picture)

NORDIC WINTER WILDERNESS CAMP
Fire and Ice : Femundsmarka

This winter camp is my brand new program, I already mentioned it in my last newsletter. I’d dreamt of a program in the internationally known wilderness area of Femundsmarka for a long time. Since 18 month I’ve made contacts and plans – and here it is! The Nordic Winter Wilderness Camp is the course for everybody who are curious about nordic winter wilderness living and winter survival. We live in a cold camp and in snow caves or igloos which we build by ourselves. An isolated summer farm house will be available for us as back up during all the time in camp – we won’t take any risks. Naturally we use traditional wooden skis, even if we focus on living in nordic winter conditions, not skiing. No prior experience is needed for this course.

Read the complete description here:

 

Backcountry Ski Trekking Tour: Winter Adventure and Wilderness Experience (picture)

BACKCOUNTRY SKI TREKKING TOUR
Wild Reindeer Highlands : Forollhogna

If you prefer a real skiing tour, this backcountry ski trekking tour in the highlands of Forollhogna national park is the program of your choice. For nine days we roam the white expanse, and possibly encounter herds of wild reindeer. Similar to the better known Hardangervidda, Forollhogna is a wild reindeer reserve. But different from the former, the latter has no infrastructure and hardly tourists. The only accommodations are hunters’ cabins with just a few beds, limiting the group size to just four participants. That a special permit is needed for this tour (which I’ve already obtained), makes the tour still more exclusive.

 

Update: Wolf hunt in Norway

In my last newsletter I had written in detail about the wolves in Norway and the upcoming wolf hunt. A lot has happened since, and here I want to keep you up to date. At first: there was a huge manifestation in Oslo, where thousands of people raised their voice for the wolves. Further, more than 70 000 people signed petitions to stop the hunt. Due to your comments I know that some of the signatures are yours. Thank you so much for supporting the Norwegian wolves!

All that hasn’t been enough to change the predator managements’ decision. But the Norwegian nature conservation association has raised an objection at the department of climate and environment to prevent four wolf packs (at least 24 wolves) from being killed. Living in special reserves far off the pasture areas these packs can’t have caused any damages there. So it is now the minister for climate and environment to make a final decision immediately. If you want to support the conservation association in saving these wolves, you can send an e-mail to the Norwegian minister for climate and environment. It’s urgent:

[Campaign has ended.]

The First Nations’ United Voice

I never had intended to make this newsletter a platform for politics. Yet there are topics which are so interwoven with the way I see myself as a wilderness mentor, that I can’t ignore them, like the wolf hunt. And like another topic, which has really touched me during the last weeks, and which I definitely want to share with you here .

It is the gathering of water protectors at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, USA and their resistance against building a crude oil pipeline. I won’t talk about my thoughts concerning this infrastructure project, that’s not the point here. But what I find amazing is to hear the voices of Native people, unified into one loud and clear voice all around the globe.

This is extraordinary: the seven Sioux tribes have come together for the first time in 150 years for a common council. Several hundreds of tribes from both Americas and from other continents have sent delegations, gathered at Standing Rock and sealed treaties for mutual support. The Norwegian Sami have sent a delegation and unleashed a turmoil at home in Norway: they revealed the engagement of the partly state-owned Norwegian major bank DNB and the state pension fund in the project which is in conflict with the declared divestment policy of Norway. DNB has already sold their shares on the project under public pressure, and the discussion goes on.

What is happening here actually touches me: the Indigenous Nations have put their view on the international agenda. Their voice has grown strong and can’t be ignored any longer. It’s really worth listening to the news the people at Standing Rock send around the world. I want to invite you to listen to them, you too.

Sal Gencarelle, a Jon Young’s 8shields Institute member, has published an article, which I’d really like to recommend you. He links the recent events at Standing Rock with the causes laying hidden in history several thousand years back. And he links them to to the general state of today’s humanity and to you. Read by yourself:

In Norway, in the dark and death of Nordic winter, the meaning of a spark of light is evident. The gathering at Standing Rock is a sparkling fire, shining bright and giving hope. Let us all poke that fire and and our own sparks of light!

I’ve posted further information on facebook, you’re welcome to look there.

Winter in Norway: Lighting a Campfire (picture)

Communication Channels

As usual, I’d finally like to draw your attention to all my channels of communication:

I’ll post current events on facebook.com/wildernesslife.no at irregular intervalls. ‘Like’ the page to get the news on your timeline. Share page and posts with others and help me to spread the message. Thank you for that!

In the newsletter I’ll feature special stories about the wilds, upcoming events at Wilderness Life and tips how to connect with nature. Feel free to forward this newsletter to others, this also helps me. Who doesn’t already get the newsletter automatically, can register here:

You find detailed information about program and profile of Wilderness Life on my website, and I’m in train to upgrade the English pages to a full version.

I wish you all a nice advent season. Take care of yourself, make time for rest and reflection, so that you can start refreshed into the new year.

Kind regards from the wintry North

Thoralf

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PS: I’m sorry for the speech mistakes you may have noticed: I’m not a native speaker and still training.