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FP 2014: Day 6 – Fjällräven Polar 2014 – The End

By Phil on 2014.04.29 In Fjällräven Polar

Saturday 12th of April 2014:

I was first of our team to wake following our night in our snow camp. I can’t remember what time it was as I couldn’t be bothered to get my arms out of my sleeping bag to look at my watch. It was a beautiful morning and so peaceful. Even the dogs were unusually quiet, so it must have been early. Or maybe they knew it was our final day and not wanting it to be, just like the rest of us. Then all of a sudden I heard movement in the trees behind our camp. I lay perfectly still wondering whether to wake up my soldiers Phil and Jostein, but then I turned and saw it was only Håkan the official photographer who had obviously been taking secret photos of us sleeping in our camps.

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It wasn’t long before the rest of the team woke before getting on with our tasks and having breakfast. And for the first time during the trek we actually had a breakfast, following Phil’s discovery of our porage breakfast meals at the bottom of our food box, it made a nice change from spicy chilli or pasta dishes.

As it was our last day and a much shorter day to our final destination of Väkkärä, there wasn’t much of an urgency to complete our tasks and get going, which was a good job, as our camp neighbours of team Czech/Estonia/Slovakia were still fast asleep well after we had completed all our morning tasks.

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Team Czech/Estonia/Slovakia still fast asleep

Despite it being our last day on the sleds with the dogs, everyone was in good spirits as people visited each others camps and take photos with each other. This was the first time during the whole trek we had a lot of time to really socialise. It was also funny to hear how my Mackem accent had extended beyond my Norwegian team mates Madeleine and Jostein when I heard Katrina from Estonia and Melanie from Germany repeating many of my words in my accent. Really made ”me” day.

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Phil thinking he is at work guiding in Apache helicopters

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Team Sweden/US girls Hana, Alex and me

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Jostein and Phil doing a bit of back stretching

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Jostein had missed his daily yoga routines

Once all teams were up and ready, we headed over to the meeting point for our fire test with Johan, followed by some crazy dancing for our Happy team video, before heading on our way to the finish line.

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Madeleine hadn’t shaved for nearly a week ;)

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Men make fire with knife and birch

As we got to within a few km to the end, all teams stopped and waited for all other teams before heading off in one long line to be greeted by the many people cheering and clapping as we all pass the finishing line.

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Getting close to the finish line

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Johan Skullman seeing us to the end

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It was another emotional moment knowing that our journey had ended. Although none of us were ready for it to end and could have easily carried on for another few days, it was also a great feeling to know that we had completed this amazing once in a lifetime adventure and had learned so much in just five days.

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Team Norway/UK. What a team! Why-Aye Pet!

Once we had our group photos and TV interviews from various countries around the world, it was time to head to a big tepee for hot food and drink before heading to our big cabin, where within minutes we are all changed into our swim shorts, G-1000 Nordic Heating bathing shorts and bikini’s before heading to the sauna with unlimited supply of beer!

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Simply the best group of people I could ever wish to have shared this amazing adventure with

After being off the drink for seventy five days, I was ready for a beer. After finding my perfect seat in the sauna and endless supply of ice cold beers, I thought I was set for the night. Oh no, there was a hole in a frozen lake behind the sauna where you are required to go and dip yourself in. After hearing the screams from others who had went down earlier, I decided I would give it a miss. But then somehow Madeleine twisted my arm with her constant ”Come on Pet!” pleas, with her Mackem accent getting stronger by the day, as she offered to escort me down and show me how its done. She was used to this. This is just like going to the swimming baths for her. After my many comedy falls in the deep snow on the way to the hole in the lake, much to Madeleine’s amusement, I climbed into the ice hole. I wont repeat the words I shouted at the time, but surprisingly once under the water your body seems to fight the freezing temperatures and doesn’t feel as cold as it actually was. Or maybe it was just shock or the number of beers I had just drank prior to going under. Whatever it was, it lasted only a few seconds before we ran back to the sauna for more beer.

Then it was time for our fantastic 3 course dinner served by our own cabin chef before speeches by Andreas Cederlund, Johan Skullman and Fjällräven CEO Martin Axelhed, followed by a great response speech by our Swedish participant John Saari thanking Fjällräven, the mushers and all the other support people who helped us along our amazing journey. His words were perfect and echoed the thoughts of each and every one of us.

It was then off to the a much bigger cabin with a bar, live music and dance floor for our party! I then got a chance to chat to Björn and Gustaf from Swedish band Mando Diao and ask them when they are going to tour the UK. Hopefully soon! Just hope I get some free tickets. By this time the earlier drinks from the sauna and our meal had obviously kicked in as we all danced the night away till the early hours, though nobody managed to outlast the legend Johan Skullman. He was of course there till the very end.

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Me and Phil getting our polar tattoos, thanks to Alex

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Top Swedish band Mando Diao and me

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The Man in the Fjällräven Shirt and Johan Skullman, another man in a Fjällräven Shirt

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Melanie, Manon and Petra letting rip on the dance floor as Mira looks on

The atmosphere the following morning wasn’t as buoyant as it had been previous mornings. This was mainly due to nearly everyone nursing pretty bad hangovers, but also because this was the day that some of us would be saying goodbye as a few people head home.

Some of us had decided to stay on for a few nights in Stockholm for a bit of culture, shopping at all the Fjällräven stores Stockholm has to offer and there were a few, drinking and other craziness as we headed to our accommodation on board the docked boat hostel STF Chapman

Altogether there were 14 of us who stayed on for a few days after the polar, which included, Katrina, Alex, Tuija, Melanie, Petra, Peter “Hollywood” Holly, Paul, Tuomo, Mira, Soren, Peter “Doc” Jansen, Greg, Johan and myself. It was great to get to spend more time with such a great bunch of people and had such a laugh as we wandered around Stockholm in our UN Blue Eco jackets while getting called Smurfs from passers-by.

As well as sampling the delights beautiful Stockholm had to offer, some of our funnier moments were while we were on our boat, drinking Estonian, Czech and Slovakian liqueur, getting dressed in our Ninja suits as part of our “Happy” video and not forgetting Petra and her Fjällräven Polar Parka dance. Much to the shock and amusement of fellow passengers on board the boat.

Our “Happy” video:

To summarise:

It really is hard to describe the whole Fjällräven Polar experience in words, photos and videos. You really have to experience it for yourself to believe and understand it. I really can’t imagine anything that would come close to matching such an experience.

My whole Fjällräven Polar adventure was an experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life. It really was a once in a lifetime experience and feel so lucky to have shared it with such an amazing group of people. I know I have made many lifelong friends during this amazing experience, which has been shown by the continued constant contact between many of us since we returned home over two weeks ago, future meetings also already planned, including the Fjällräven Classic in August.

After been referred to as the “glue” by Katrina, as the person who will ensure we all stay in touch and have many future meet-ups, is something I’m already looking forward to.
I feel so privileged to have experienced such an adventure and could not have wished to have shared it with a better bunch of people, which includes all participants, Fjällräven staff, Johan Skullman, the mushers, cameramen, photographers and all the other behind the scenes people who helped make this experience unforgettable.

It really has been the best experience of my life.

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Official Fjällräven Polar Day 6 page

Selection of official Fjällräven Polar photos

1 Responses to "FP 2014: Day 6 – Fjällräven Polar 2014 – The End"
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      Comments (1)

    1. sarahthompson wrote:

      Incredible adventure and fantastic photographs! Thank you so much for sharing.

    2. Leave a comment

    Welcome

    Welcome to my blog about hiking, trekking, Fjällräven Polar 2014, in fact anything where you require boots and the outdoors.

    My name is Phil, and following my outdoor epiphany which started in the summer of 2012 I’m now hooked on everything outdoors. So far my biggest treks have included the 250km Cathar Way, the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc and best of all, winning 1st place to take part in the Fjällräven Polar in April 2014.

    I plan to use this blog to write about all my adventures, which will include my personal goal of becoming a Munroist (completing all 282 Scottish Munro mountains), summer treks, weekends in the Lakes and many more.

    I like to try and make my blog posts humorous so I hope you enjoy reading and that I can put a smile on people’s faces while showing you some amazing places.

    If you have any questions about the blog or the places I'm writing about, don't hesitate to contact me on: phil@philyourboots.com

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