Hiking like an overweight Viking

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Nausea, hard belly, bladder pressure, shortage of breath, cramps, high pulse, unsteady balance,… These symptoms have all occurred in lesser or greater degree during my pregnancy, now over seven months in the game. It goes without saying that these physical annoyances can put you off considerably, even affect your daily routines, but are indeed part of the deal. How one reacts and chooses to deal with them is of course a personal issue.

Not travelling, however, is not an option for us. We will work around the belly and the belly will be catered to however it feels fit. As for our hiking plans: on Faroe islands you are actually not confronted with mountains as such. With the highest peak being around 850 meters, you cannot say you have conquered mountains, rather ambitious hills. But one can indeed argue that they are spicy enough as one always starts the hike from about sea level.

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Personally, it is not a matter of not wanting to cave in. Nor is it to prove anything to anyone. When hiking is what you like to do when in such a stunning environment, you’re keen to find out and experience how far your body allows you to go. So you take appropriate measures and give it a try. I have never set a goal, I have just agreed to the mere possibility of making it to the summit. Or not, either way. Our preparations involved:

1) Having a fairly good idea of the weather conditions. We consulted Yr.no on a daily basis, and indeed multiple times a day. The described conditions vary considerably from hour to hour and from island to island.  So the information provided online and its real-time assessment did not really get us further than at that very moment, when we put our heads out of the window. One would imagine that being informed by locals helped to know what it would, or should we say could, bring later that day. Yes, somehow. Even that source was never a defining factor for a successful prognosis. Everyone looks up at the sky, scans the horizon, ponders for a moment and then makes an intuitive call. You learn quickly: on Faroe it can all change in the blink of an eye.

Everyone looks up at the sky, scans the horizon, ponders for a moment and then makes an intuitive call.

2) Understanding the trail ahead. Reading about the conditions of the tracks, their intensity and thus the required effort is indeed vital. Luckily my partner has that task covered perfectly; he is basically a walking guide. How very convenient for me 😉 Also, there is a good tool at hand: “Walking the Faroe Islands” by visitfaroeislands.com with over twenty clearly described hikes.

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Other than those two essentials, it comes down to packing the basics: sufficient water, a biscuit or two, a fully charged cell phone (hopefully with coverage!), hat and gloves, a rain jacket. And of course a good portion of hiking appetite for the day ahead. Because let’s face it, if you are not up for it, there is no use dragging yourself up a flank.

I have learnt to listen to my body. Although the first mile or two it will try to trick itself into going back, quick! It has that way of trying to fool the mind it is sore, stiff and inflexible, that laying down and napping is the best cure. But I have understood that it is just the engine warming up. Once you have found that rhythm, a comfortable pace, that internal whining stops and the body gets into an automatic modus. You feel like you can go on forever…

IMG_1394Which is not true! Being that pregnant forces you to stop more, take your breath, assess and reassess your body and the trail ahead. If you do reach a summit that day, you experience a ‘hell yeah!’-moment. On other days, when the hand makes the ‘abort mission’-sign to the head, you just leave it at that. Then it is a matter of finding a good resting spot, laying back and enjoying the view before and beneath you. Take a nap. If the sun is out, smile. Wait for the hubby to return all sweaty yet content from his peak-moment. Enjoy the great pictures that were brought to you effortlessly. And should you stop feeling like an overweight Viking, tomorrow is another day for some more hiking.

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