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Canoe trip in Norway 2018

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My consciousness grows numbed in my daily life surrounded by comfort. A heavy autumn shower in Norway will clear my head again.

Autumn is in full swing in Norway. A beautiful play of colour as nature changes. Amazing how dying leaves can be so breathtakingly pretty. We load up the canoe and drive out to a small area dotted with lakes, a few hours to the north of Oslo. A short break away from everything civilised, except our fire of course. We will use the fire to cook and dry our clothes. Keeping things dry is especially important, because…it’s autumn…in Norway….in a canoe on open water….for hours at a time. Oh and this time we have no rain gear.

Rain gear is an extra layer of comfort, standing between me and nature. And nature is why I am here, so that layer needs to go. At least that is the idea. We’ll see how things turn out. The water welcomes us as soon as we start the trip. Water under the boat and water in the air. I once came up with a theory about 7 kinds of rain and try to decide which type of rain is pounding down on us.

Other than the fact that it is cold, being wet is not that bad. My body is largely waterproof, and I can dry out by the fire. In any case, I can feel nature in every pore, which was the idea. I learn how to adjust in a couple of days. I wear wool rather than cotton. That stays warm even when it is wet, and I can snuggle up close to the fire with it.

I also keep a constant eye on the wind. Is the wind warm or cold, turning, or increasing in strength? This matters, because the wind brings the rain. Living like this is challenging. I am often soaked – when I am, the wind brings my body temperature down very quickly – and collecting dry wood is time-consuming. But I learn to embrace it. To welcome the inconvenience, because it focuses all my thoughts on the here and now.


Bart Leenders


The photos below give you an impression of my trip.



Wood does not burn; the fire triangle


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