Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Key for the Pilgrim

July 27, 2009

“You’ll find the key under the ‘S’ in ‘Washington Mills’”, my telephone confidant instructed. I did. I’d reached the “Skytehuset”, or shooting clubhouse at the Svorkmo Rifle Range. There were cars out front but, as promised, no one was there to greet me. The “Mills” firm was an advertising sponsor of the shooting competitions. The clubhouse, with a kitchen, half dozen bunk berths, and showers (!) was comfortable and … all mine for the over night. Mid evening the mystery of the cars was explained. Berndt, a German Pilgrim priest came by with a friend to claim them. They were part of a church supported, vehicle backed, mostly German Pilgrim group a day ahead of me on the Leden. Before leaving, Berndt gave me his Pilgrim blessing and … another “key”: Walking on this morning, I would need to be especially alert for a nearly concealed way mark indicating a critical track turn. Without the minister's warning, I’d have missed it for sure. His “key” opened the door for me to a soaking wet but beautiful day of boggy marsh hiking. Mid afternoon, when my wet feet next touched down on firm asphalt I was thinking that I needed to pull out a map to refresh on what I thought might be six more kilometers of solid ground walking. Instead, there it was—a welcome sign reading “Kleivan Pilegrim Herberge—50 meters”. 27 days into a challenging Norwegian Pilgrim trek, I had pulled off 32.5 kilometers by 3:30 p.m.—real powerwalking. Liv, the Herberge host, was a former school principal. She and her partner Jonvold had restored the old farm building creating one of the nicest pilgrim’s refuges on the Olavsleden. And I catch Toni O’Bryne, Irish Pilgrim woman, here. We have lots to catch up on—neither one of us having met another Oslo-Trondheim Pilgrim in our month of walking. Liv told me, “We enjoy the Pilgrims. We’ll give the herberge another couple of years to decide if it’s something we want to do for the long term.” One day more into Trondheim!

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