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August 19th

9:12

I’ve just taken my first shower in a week, it was a half beautiful, half horrifying experience. I say horrifying because of what came out of my hair, most notably a stick the length of my little finger and half of what used to be a very large spider. The worst part is I have no idea how long it was in there, or if it was half a spider before or after it got tangled up in there.

This is the stuff of nightmares I tell you.

We had a good final night though, Frizz and I shuffled around a little bit since I’m a delicate flower who gets easily cold, I slept better with the reshuffle. Yet still woke up at sunrise, my body telling me that sunrise was the time to get up, even though the sun rises happen at about 2 here. Still, no drama, I sat outside watching the sun bleed the clouds red and had half an hours meditation and trying not to turn into one of those writers who use phrases like ‘but I’m an Auteur Darling!’.

The weather finally gave out on us today and we found ourselves riding in the clouds, which was cold and wet. Then we had our first proper rain late on. I say proper rain, both myself and Frizz needed it pointing out to us it was raining since we are English and were wearing t-shirts in what us, and any other good English folk, would have called ‘light drizzle’.

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Luckily the rain didn’t start until afternoon and the cloud only plagued us first thing in the morning, which is why I will start talking about lunch first, as we spent the morning walking in tight formation since we could only see the horse directly in front of us, and no one wanted to get lost.

We had a few good shots of Brenna the pack pony, ambling along like a goat and acting like she knew better about where to cross rivers and how to get down cliff faces, in the minutes the fog lifted enough for us to see her.

It was out final meal over a fire and while I do like reindeer I have to say it was nice to know it was the last time I’ll be having it in a salted and smoked style for a while. We also had out last trail coffee, which I will miss. It’s s shame on the way back we have to take three different flights, basically means we can’t pick anything up in duty-free. Like good coffee.

At lunch it turned out Birt lost a shoe in the mist at some point, so I calmed him while he got a new one put on. I calmed him a bit too much since he fell asleep and then refused to move at anything but a plod for half an hour after we set off. I think out host was a little annoyed at the horse shoe loss, but strangely we found another, completely unused shoe later on in the day as we neared the bottom of the trail.

So the ride was a bit of a struggle, though we did have some more lovely reindeer sightings, and the scenery remained as beautiful as ever (when we could see it)

 

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Final Reindeer Sighting

 

But I have to say I was losing heart a bit towards the end of the ride as the rain poured down and then the final straw was Souley, one of the mares, trying to kick Birtingur, only to miss and hit me. I sprained my ankle about a week before we came on this holiday, so while I was lucky the horse didn’t kick and shatter my kneecap, it did kick me in the leg with the bad foot, and the twist caused the left over from the injury to come back with a vengeance. I spent the last two hours of the ride in quite a bit of pain, and on the final stretch that we took at a trot I had a lot of fun trying to rise with only the use of one leg.

We met up with the horse trailer and car along the road, then it was straight back to the starter farm, and dinner the moment we put our things away, since it was already around 8. We had our final reindeer meal, this time in a soup so I was happy for a different presentation of it.

We also met up with the two that left us on Day 3, and I didn’t realize but it was one of their birthdays. So we sang and got a lovely cake, layers of meringue and cream with sour berries (that I can’t remember the name of) before everyone split off to get ready to leave tomorrow.

Frizz and I just finished wrapping as much stuff as we possibly could in plastic bags since it all smells like we spent a week in it horse riding (strangely), and enjoying stretching out on beds, and discussing our showers at length. We’re going to enjoy a full night in bed, since tomorrow we’ll be going on another two-day journey with no sleep – this time stopping in Copenhagen.

So from there we went to Copenhagen where we were on a 12 hour lay over. We found we’d actually landed in during Gay Pride, so there were plenth of people around to talk to while we bar hopped, and took the journey home in our drunken stride.

That’s all for my Kiruna adventures. Hope you enjoyed reading my diary style nonsense, it’s back to books-books-books again next week.

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Our Final Ride On Kaftain and Birtingur