0500 here in Solleftea. A little misty.I am looking out over a field of dandelions gone to seed occasionally launching little clouds of tiny parachutes into the breeze. Hanging birch, lupen, and a heavy bodied work horse taking his ease or whatever it is horses do when they simply stand and let things happen. He has been there for awhile now.
The camp officially starts today. Short meeting, move in, lunch and then an afternoon of hill bounding, orienteering and circuit strength. Athlete-coaches on hand are Tio Soderhielm, Charlotte Kalla, Emil Jonsson, Robin Bryntesson, and Britta Nordgren. All the real McGoo! Great skiers and having watched them work with kids for the last few years, great people and great coaches. Old guard coaches include Bengt Stattin, Tony Gustafgsson, PO Andersson, Tobias Laangberg, and Kaare Korpela. Erik Nilsson is working directly with the BMA gang this year and will be with us for both the Swedish and Norwegian legs of the trip.
Yesterday we opted to stay close to town. Minimum driving and it was nice. The kids visited the park on the river and watched their Swedish counterparts graduate from highschool…fun celebration, very traditional…white peaked caps, lots of song, open-bed trucks, the beds bordered by freshly cut birch boughs and blue and yellow Swedish flags and ballons, were signed with various school class logos and not a few had tables set up in the middle complete with champagne and food. At the finish of the formal ceremony a wide blue and yellow ribbon bounding the area where the students stand to receive their diplomas is cut by the headmaster “releasing” the kids to their parents and the world. Trucks fill up, corks pop, and the parade begins. Some of the singing would seem to indicate corks had been popped some time before. The general mood is one that would send most North American school people and the more conservative of us tsk-tsking with disapproval or fleeing in search of another place to lay down stern law, prosper and dominate our fellows and our world.
Later in the day we went up to Hallstaberget to try out the roller ski loops and to get a little exercise. All good…still a little cobbling things together as one or two were still missing gear. “How big are your feet? you can use my skate poles, the wheel just fell off!” etc. The roller ski track in Solleftea is arguably one of the best I’ve ever seen for instruction and technique training; many transitions and opportunities to short-loop back around to keep working on a hill for intervals or on a drop-in and climb for tempo changes.
For dinner we went to a forested park on the island, Hagestaon, in the middle of the river. We walk across the bridge nobody jumps off and set up a fire pit, grill chicken and sausage, have salad out of a bucket, Mitch eats two full baguettes of fresh bread before anyone catches him; ” I only ate four ends!” How many ends do two loaves of bread have? Conversation runs the gammut from serious to absurd…college stories, different schools across New England and bits of news from Alaska. Old man lies. We decide the gang in the shelter across the river for whom the caps have been twisted and thrown away are the “poor-me’s” from the party we hear sub-woofing somewhere downstream. “Even the cat won’t stay with them,” observes Lucy. “Look at him…he’s stalking off in disgust!”
Ten o’clock rolls around and we clean up around the fire and head back for our bunks. The easy day has been a good idea. Later, all of our gang long asleep, the music dies down and this wonderful stillness settles in with the pale light of northern June midnight. Down in the river valley two geese are black specks over the lemony colored water and make a long curving flight toward the north. A big horse plods into the meadow next to our hotel.
I’ll try to keep the week on record here. It gets busy…wet too I have a feeling. That’s ok. As Bengt says “We aren’t made of sugar or paper. We won’t melt.” Let’s get it out of the way before we head to Sognefjell and the snow.
all the best for a great summer