Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Hiking for the Arctic - la conférence!

Bonjour à toutes et tous, 

En 2016, une série de conférences vont être données en Suisse et en France sur notre expédition en Scandinavie. Vous trouverez ci-contre les prochaines dates déjà fixées.
Ce post sera mis à jour au fur et à mesure, dès que d'autres dates seront connues. 

- 15.01.2016 à 20h, salle du Battoir, 1149 Berolle
- 20.01.2016 à 19h, bibliothèque communale et publique, 1180 Rolle
- 15.03.2016 à 20h, Ferme du Manoir, 1260 Nyon

- 22-23-24.04.2016 au Salon du Véhicule d'Aventure à Nantes, France

 No talks in English planned yet. For those interested, please feel free to contact Rachel!

Au plaisir de vous rencontrer à l'occasion de ces soirées et salon!

Sparta, Nyx et Rachel

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Hiking for the Arctic - the movie!

Watch the trailer of Hiking for the Arctic- the movie! 

At last! After 4 weeks of hard work, the movie is finally ready! First session is tomorrow for our main sponsor Purina. Two public sessions are already planned in Switzerland for mid-January in Rolle and March in Nyon, and more dates are to be confirmed!

If you are interested in having us on your premises - or know anyone who could be -, please do not hesitate to contact me! I'd love to do more speeches :-) The more visibility the expedition gets, the more people will talk about the Arctic and that's all I wish for!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Return to the fold

Sarek National Park

So here we are. Sparta, Nyx and I made our return journey to Switzerland. Home sweet home J.

There is so much going on in my head that I haven't been able to write before today. And still, I don't know where to start. I want to write. I want to share what we lived during these 21 days on the trails of the Great North. And it will come, bit by bit, topic by topic. For now, I am enjoying being back, gently finding my bearings.

Some facts and data on the past 6 weeks:
- 3'200km from our home town to Kautokeino. 7-days journey and 10 days return.
- in total we took: 7 buses, 1 train, 4 ferries, 2 shuttle boats, 1 rowing boat and drove 48 hours
- 22 days on the trails. 21 days hiked, 1 full day rest, 3 half-day breaks.
- some 650-670km hiked (exact figures still need to be checked)
- maximum distance walked: 42k, minimum: 10k, daily average 32k
- the dogs ate 26kg of food -18kg during the hike - and loads of snacks!
- 50 dried freeze meals (hunger made me eat two sometimes..), 25 home-made breakfasts (also used as afternoon snacks), 60 energy bars, 4 dark chocolate tablets
- 20 nights in the tent, 1 at my friend Ziss, 1 in Akste Fjällstation (dreadful weather conditions!)
- passed by some 25 mountain huts
- crossed countless rivers, streams, creeks and flooded areas, sometimes over bridges, mainly not, very often wetting my feet.
- passed by thousand of lakes and ponds
- worn out 1 pair of shoes
- 2 (big) blisters, not a single injury for all 3 striders (!)
- 3 pairs of socks (2 finished in the bin)
- 2 pair of pants, 3 t-shirts, 1 second layer, 1 down jacket, 1 poncho, 1 Gore-Tex jacket, 1 night outfit (recovery pants + long sleeve), 2 Buffs, 1 hat, 1 glove left, 1 lost.
- a fair number of mosquito bites
- seen many reindeers (alone or in groups) and thousands of lemmings, spotted many birds and grouses, one eagle, heard wolves. No elk. No bear. Only their droppings!
- met some amazing people: hikers from all around Scandinavia, Europe and Australia, local inhabitants and Sami reindeer herders, artists and jewellers, hut wardens.
- seen and been confronted to the effects of climate changes from inside
- discovered a land of potentialities, of amazing beauty, of incredible diversity.

I am very proud of what we accomplished the dogs and I. These two have been amazing, crossing vertiginous bridges, deep rivers, walking long hours and always with an incredible goodwill and lust for life. We handled difficult days and situations, faced harsh weather conditions, had to take decisions and make choices and not look back.

I wanted to do something extraordinary with my dogs. I wanted them to come back happy and healthy. I wanted me to enjoy myself and live an incredible adventure. I wanted to raise awareness on the interactions between mankind, nature and animal kingdom and the impact of climate changes in the Arctic. I succeeded. And I have discovered much more. On me. On people. On the Arctic. There is a lot to say. A lot to do. I feel like this is only the beginning...

Friday, 4 September 2015

31 August

WE'VE MADE IT!!!!!! Reached Kvikkjokk this morning, after enjoying a last bivouac in the woods and taking our time to finish the last 12k. It feels so good to be here!!! I am really proud of my dogs, proper Striders! And even though we couldn't do the entire Nordkalottleden, we still walked a fair distance in all kind of conditions: 650km! And all 3 fine, in a good mood, yet a bit tired I must say
The last days were quite different from the rest: very wet, colder - we had to stop for half a day in Aktse due to the bad weather. We walked a lot, took twice the boat and also rowed across one of the lakes!, met some crazy people out there, had some good laughs with a funnny bunch of German, Aussie and Belgium in Aktse. And went up to Skierfe, one of the most remarquable view in Sweden.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Wednesday 26
The Striders are in Ritsem! We got here last night after more than 40k of mountain paths and road. And we've now done some 550k!!
From Abisko we were for some 45k along the famous Kungsleden - so busy! A shock after days alone on the trails! Then we were back in wilderness and bare mountains. Weather still beautiful, hot and sunny - we're so lucky
Today we're crossing to Vaisaluokta and head on the Padjelantaleden for a while. Sparta and Nyx are really impressive by their vitality and motivation to go, they really got it now, have their little habits during the day, rest when we stop, then Sparta walks ahead and Nyx stays behind me. Love it to be out there with them!
It's the last part. Next Monday or Tuesday we'll reach Kvikkjokk and the end of three fantastic weeks of Hiking for the Arctic... But for now, let's enjoy the trail!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

 Saturday 22.08
Hello everyone! News from the Nordkalottleden! Here we are in Abisko after more than 400k!! We arrived yesterday afternoon and my friend Ziss Stålhandske picked us up just out of town. How nice to have a home, a nice bed and a lovely evening with friends after 12 days on the trails. Sparta & Nyx are resting, enjoying lying on the carpets!
We had 6 fantastic days out there, lots of kilometers and long hours, bare mountains, rocky forests and many rivers crossings, sometimes even bridges, a luxury! We met some amazing people in the most remote places and I can't thank Jodun and her friend enough for saving my feet in Dividalshytta!
Today I am cleaning, refreshing and refilling what needs to be. We need to be fully ready for the second half of this extraordinary trip. Departure at 4.30pm for a short 15k-walk.
We did very well up to here and I've decided to do a bit less mileage for the next 11 days for the dogs to recover better from the daily stage. Next target: Ritsem/SE! And arrival planned for 31st Aug or 1st Sept in Kvikkjokk 😀 Keep u posted! Take care

Saturday, 15 August 2015

After 5.5 days and some 200k, the Striders arrived in Kilpisjarvi this afternoon.
This first stage, leaving from Kautokeino/NO, was pretty tough, with very wet portions on the first days, and then many stones fields and very rocky paths. The scenery is amazing and very varied, from lush forests, bogs and canyons to dry mountainous landscapes and blue lakes. 
All three Striders are doing fine: the dogs are truly amazing!  doing all this distance plenty of energy, chasing lemmings when free, spotting reindeers when on the leash. Rachel is feeling good and strong; only some nasty blisters hindered her pace over the past 2 days. But that'll be healed soon!!
Tomorrow they set of for the next bit, heading towards Abisko/SE. Keep you posted!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Striders – Rovaniemi, last stop

Saturday 08.08. We arrived in Rovaniemi last night after having spent three days driving through Finland, kilometres of woodlands and countless lakes and rivers.

Seen in Ranua zoo

2 days in the same place seems like a luxury! It’s nice to stop here to do the final check, a few last buys, and pack. I really like this city and on my fourth time here feel a bit at home! It's great to be here with my beloved ones! 
Even though Kamil very kindly offered us to stay at his place, we opted for the campsite, more convenient to accommodate the Striders’ team not that clean after 10 days on the road! 

Tonight everything is ready for tomorrow’s departure: backpack packed with:

6 days food for us 3, some spare and warm clothes, a Gore-tex jacket, a poncho, 2 pairs of socks, gloves and buff, tent, sleeping-bag, a light mat, some toiletries and first aid kit, insect-repellent roll-on (!), thermos, a tiny pot, a spork, a foldable plate, fuel and stove, a pair of running shoes, plastic bags to cross rivers, the maps for the first stretch and compass, a tiny headlamp, a rescue blanket, a compact signal launcher,  the InReach, GoPro, solar panel and an external battery, some change, credit card and ID documents. And of course my Swiss Army knife (but the light version!). All of it kept to the minimum possible without depriving our safety. 

We had fine weather all the way up, and the only rain we got was on Friday night and early this morning. I know the summer has been terrible up here till now, so let’s hope we brought some of the heatwave with us! All I ask is dry weather J. I also know that some of the segments of the trail, especially in the first part, can be quite dangerous if the water level is too high and am ready to have to change my route if need be. So now…let’s wait and see!

Tomorrow bus to Hetta/Enontekkio. Then I just had the great news that we’ll get a lift to Kautokeino, thanks to Jip, a Dutch guy who works and lives there. And on Monday… we’ll be there for good! At last!! I must say… I am getting nervous… but so looking forward to this great time out on the trail with the dogs!

Keep you posted J