Thursday 7th July
The rain came later than predicted but with gusto on our first night at camp. It poured most of the night and drizzled into the morning. Luckily, all my gear held up and I had a cosy nights sleep. I woke refreshed and ready for day two. Only on clambering out of my tent (I tried to do this with delicacy but failed each and every time) I realised my legs had stiffened up. I wobbled into my boots and hobbled up to the tap to brush my teeth. I certainly wasn’t the only one and within a few minutes I was walking vaguely normally again. The previous day was perhaps the longest I’ve ever walked and certainly carrying a heavy rucksack.
For breakfast I had my homemade granola and apple juice. I added dark chocolate chunks into the batch for my trip and it certainly made a difference. I knew I’d miss my morning tea whilst camping, but chocolate really helped the dry granola go down, whilst sitting in a soggy field at 7am in the morning.
Unlike on the start day, you could leave from 8 o’clock so people packed up and left in their own time on Thursday. I set off alone and a little daunted at about 8.15am. But I was soon catching up to other walkers with neon orange tabards in the forest and then around the edge of Lake Inddæmningen.
Our route then wound right down to the stoney coast of south Funen. I met fellow hikers Monique and Laika at the 35km mark and we covered the route to the checkpoint together. With each step of this stoney path I was really glad to be wearing my thick supportive ankle boots. Laika had a distinct advantage walking this uneven section as she had four legs and a long tail. She happens to be a 5yr old black lab mix. Laika and her owner Monique were excellent company on the long trail and made my trip a fantastic experience.
I was relieved to reach the checkpoint on day 2. One of those days when you think, ‘just a bit further around the corner, just a bit further’. I dropped my pack down for lunch in a persistent drizzle, ready for a break but happy to sit down and meet some more friendly Dutch trekkers. Lunch was delicious, my own gf pitta bread with Fjällräven’s provided sardines in tomato sauce and assorted chocolate snacks. The local food provided for the Classic definitely lived up to expectation; pate and tinned fish and plenty of fruit and sweet treats. At each checkpoint and camp sight there was an opportunity to fill up with water and see a medic. I felt we were really taken care of in Denmark. The volunteers too, couldn’t have been more friendly and supportive.
From the checkpoint (the three of us) trekked directly inland following the river Syltemade. We found ourselves walking over alder swampland on raised narrow planks with the dense plants either side growing above our heads. At times unable to see ahead of us or our feet beneath us I felt really precarious on the slippery narrow wood knowing the ground was many meters below us. Laika took the lead on this stretch, 4 legs guiding her easily through the river valley. The trail through Syltemade Ådal valley then lead us thankfully into grassy meadows.
Our final campsite was beautiful. We arrived out of woodland to the peak of a hill with a small cafe overlooking our field. I set up my little home and then sat down to rest. Just as quickly as I was relaxing into this new routine I realised this was the final night. We had a beautiful sunny evening and as I pondered the day I heard the volunteers cheering from the checkin point atop the hill, welcoming each walker down into camp. 50km covered at the end of day 2.
On our last night we were all invited to join a big campfire with live music and skewers of dough to roast over the flames. I felt like I was part of a family as I joined other trekkers I’d met over the last 48hrs. We were united by a desire for adventure and welcomed by others who had been and done this many times before. I knew by this point I was ready for my next Fjällräven Classic; perhaps in Denmark again, or in the Cairngorms Scotland or Bavarian Germany. I know I want to go back and do it all again.
For the second time in a row, I woke in the early hours to the sound of rain pouring outside my tent, and the need to go to the loo. Apparently it’s a habit now. We were very fortunate with the weather during our Classic in Denmark. It rained a bit during the day but only started to pour when we were safely under canvas each night. Obviously we felt very much at the mercy of the weather and I imagine the whole thing would have been more of a challenge had we been wet for three days straight.
I made lots of friends during the trip, from quite a few places. The Classic brought us together to share a few Days in each others company. I feel like the next time we see each other, be it a year or longer, we’ll pick up where we left off, hoist heavy rucksacks and don muddy boots to tackle the challenge ahead with a laugh.