Fjestad's Insight

Written by: Stein Håvard Fjestad/Transl. SM Arctander
Date: 12.03.2012 18:52

In 1982, in the first Finnmarksløp I participated in, I met everyone in the race comity when I arrived in Øvre Alta. Geir Landmark, Pål Leinan, Magne Amundsen, the Hykkerud boys and Sedolf Slettli. We were not many mushers. You could count them on one hand, if we used it twice. We slept in the same room in the Mountain Lodges we visited as check points. We got well acquainted with etch others body odour when we got out of our sweaty outerwear in order to dry them over the glowing oven in the middle of the room. While we found shelter from wind and cold inside, our polar dogs lay outside in all kinds of weather without blankets, no coat, but many got straw beds. Many a good story were told and strong opinions were exchanged while we fried eggs and bacon under the dripping clothing previously mentioned. The check point staff were caring people who looked after tired and disoriented mushers. Handlers? What was that? Close friendships grew out of the flickering light from candles, while the storm was shaking the lodge on a desolate mountain plateau.

Quote of the day: “I can drive a dead dog a hundred kilometres!” Taisto Torneus, Tornedalen Finland.

Regards from the past.

Stein Håvard.  

Ps! In hindsight. I asked Inger Marie: -Will you take your 16-hour her in Neiden? She said yes. I had a cup of coffee. When I came out, she was gone! Conclusion: Never trust a competing musher.

Ps 2! One thing to reflect upon: Outside it is snowing heavily. Three teams have left Neiden on their way to Kirkenes. The trailbreakers drive in front of the first team. In principal, the trail is not broken later. With 16-hour rest in Neiden, it could mean heavy snowploughing for the dogs when they start out tonight or in the morning.  


Inger Marie Haaland's team. 

Inger Marie Haaland at check point.