So there I was sat by the pool on Utila Island post-dives sweating it out in the sun. It had been a few months since completing my hike the full length of Israel and I was itching for some new adventures. So I did my usual, flicking through outdoor blogs and scrolling through social media adventure groups looking for adventure inspiration. That’s when an image caught my eye. Someone layered up to the max, pulling a pulk in a full-blown winter storm.
Well, that seemed like a brilliant idea!
Crossing the Finnmark Plateau
It took a lot of searching to find a pulk pulling arctic challenge that would provide a real challenge, while not reaching into the £10,000 like most polar expeditions do. And Norway seemed to provide the perfect balance. Led by Turgleder, this Love Her Wild expedition will cross the full length of Finnmark Plateau in the heart of winter from North to South.
Self-contained, camping each night (under northern lights I hope!) and contending with temperatures of up to -40 degrees.
As with all Love Her Wild expeditions, it didn’t take long for some equally mad ladies to think this was also a great idea. So we have a team of 5; myself, Aimee, Seanna, Trish and Jo. On January 22nd, 2018 we will depart for this 17-day expedition.
Thanks to Trish, we had a great weekend all together where we met for the first time and did some full on team bonding. Check out my vlog on how that went.
In January I’m doing a 200km cross-country skiing expedition in the arctic circle (eek!). A few weeks ago I met my team for the first time for an action-packed team building weekend….
(MUSIC CREDIT: Would You Forgive by Jorm iamjorm)
So, um, about that snow
Last year I spent an hour doing a beginners skiing lesson in Japan. That is my winter experience, right there.
I’ve barely seen snow in my life and I am bricking it! I get cold on a warm summers day in the UK so I have no idea how I will cope with the arctic conditions. It is what makes me the most nervous. That and the pulling the pulks part.
But we are a team of novices so we will be taking it slow. Plus I know from experience that no matter how big and impossible the adventure seems, you’ve just got to break it down. Once you’ve got those small manageable bites everything seems much easier.
Preparations for the Norway Arctic Expedition
There are 3 stages of getting ready for this expedition. The first was working out what gear I needed (not easy as there really isn’t much information online). I got onto this task nice and early so I wasn’t stressing about it nearer the time. I’ve kitted myself out with top-notch Armadillo thermals, some liner gloves and fleeces. I will be hiring the rest of the expedition gear from a UK company called Expedition Kit Hire.
I’m so organised I’ve even brought my toiletries, some Clif snacks and a stash of chocolate.
So that I have at least a basic understanding of winter skills plus a (very important!) chance to test out my kit prior to going, I’ve signed up to a winter skills week with 360 expeditions. I’ll be spending 7 days in the Pyrenees learning all about ice arrests, ice crampons and avalanches. Although these skills won’t be needed on the expedition, I know it’ll boost my confidence in a winter environemnt…..plus it gives my brain a chance to get over the shock of seeing snow.
Finally, the hardest part of all for me……training.
I always have the best intentions to train, I really do, but it just never seems to work out. And so far it has been just fine. I’ve survived my adventures and learnt that fitness can be picked up pretty quickly along the way. But this one is a little different. I really do need abs and calves of steel to get me through across the plateau.
Arctic explorer in training
Again I couldn’t find any information online so I have devised my own timetable that involves mixing up my exercise with high-intensity HIIT sessions (on YouTube), running and relaxing yoga (on YouTube!) on my day offs. And of course, tyre dragging.
Once a week I am heading out with a tyre attached to my mid-drift to mimic pulling a pulk.
As I’m in Tanzania for 2 months the bulk of my tyre pulling antics will be happening on Mafia Island. There are some advantages…
- beautiful secluded beaches
- can combat boredom by picking up plastic along the route
- sand makes for great resistance on the tyre
- can jump into the sea post workout
But there are also disadvantages….
- it’s really hot
- I look like a complete and utter numpty
- no variety of landscape
All I can do is try my best
It’s not easy going into an expedition completely clueless but it is also exciting. I’ve got a nervous feeling in my stomach and I’m relishing being pushed out of my comfort zone and into a new environment.
I’ve done the research. Spoken to people who have done similar things and now have nothing left to do but try my best based on the advice and knowledge I now have. It’s all we can ever do!