Childhood Friends on an Expedition of a Lifetime: 2,500 Kilometer Ski Trip!

Some days are worth remembering, reflecting over, and sharing with others.  For me, May 20, 2012, is one of those rare moments in time.  I had the privilege of witnessing two very determined, weather-worn and humble men, accompanied by their faithful Greenland Husky, finish a journey of a lifetime.  After four-and-a-half months on skis (and occasionally on foot), and still smiling, this traveling trio completed a 2,500+ km (1,555 mile) expedition, trekking the length of Norway, from Lindesnes to the North Cape.

Håkon and Andy (photos taken by Håkon and Henrik -used with permission)

You could say Henrik Teigøyen and Håkon Johan Brandvold’s journey has been a lifetime in the making.  These twenty-seven year olds have known each other since preschool, growing up in the same small town of Vinstra in Gudbrandsdal, Norway.

They’ve always been avid outdoorsmen, and as the years passed, hiking and skiing trips increased in distance and difficulty.  The idea of trekking the length of Norway became a topic of conversation when they were teenagers.  Even when they moved away from their hometown to pursue college degrees, Henrik in Librarianship and Håkon in Geology, their common desire to make the trip wasn’t forgotten.

In May of last year, Håkon and Henrik took the most difficult and critical step of the entire trip:  They decided to “Just do it.”  Or in their words, “Det passer aldri bra, derfor gjør vi det nå” – “The timing will never fit, therefore we’re doing it now.”  They both agree that when they made that decision, the rest of the preparations for the journey fell into place.

They started saving money, gathering the equipment they already had acquired, as well as  searching for good deals on (similar to craigslist or ebay).  The local community and an outdoor sporting equipment company, Bergans of Norway, also helped sponsor the trip.

Their travel blog and expedition are titled Tre langs Norge – ved to av dem (Three in Norway (by two of them).  Håkon and Henrik have a connection to a book with the same name.  In 1882, a humorous travelogue was published, written by two of three Englishmen who had come to Norway to hunt and fish for a summer – much of it taking place near Vindstra.  The title was the perfect fit for this traveling trio – Håkon, Henrik and Andy.

On January 1, 2012, they set course towards the North Cape.  I asked whether or not they got on each other’s nerves while living under such close living conditions.  I was surprised and once again, impressed by their positive attitude.  “No, we got along.  In fact, at the end of each day we shook one another’s hand and said ‘Thanks for the hike today.’.”

Their deep friendship was apparent, as well as their wisdom in preparing for, and carrying out, their four-and-a-half month winter ski trip.  They had clearly set job descriptions, and each day they alternated roles.  One man had the responsibility of waking up first, melting snow on the stove and preparing breakfast and coffee, as well as feeding Andy.  The next day he’d be the happy camper that got to sleep 30 minutes longer and be served coffee and breakfast in his sleeping bag, before stepping out of the tent into -20 C (-4 F) and strong winds.

The division of duties also included one taking the lead and reading the compass and map, while the other one cared for Andy and the heaviest pack.

Both agreed that patience was one of the most important qualities to hold onto during such a long trip.  Unexpected situations put their patience to the test, such as equipment breaking, a dense fog or storm blowing in and hindering visibility, and rapidly melting snow that resulted in the final 250 km being completed in tennis shoes.

They learned to press their limits and travel longer distances in a day.  Henrik said, “Tweny kilometers was a lot longer before this trip than it is now.”

On May 20th the three of them reached their goal.  Not without one last unexpected event.  Wind gust between 20-25 mps (45-55 mph) were whipping across the Nordkapp plateau as they walked the final stretch.

Since I met these three Nordkapp travelers, almost three weeks ago, I’ve thought of them many times.  I was impacted by their humility and deep friendship and am grateful they allowed me to be present as they accomplished a journey of a lifetime.

It was a profound moment being present as Henrik and Håkon reflected over their 2,550 km expedition coming to an end.  A rare mix of emotions – from elation to let-down.  It’s a day I won’t soon forget.  And with that being said, here are some photos from the last leg of their journey.  Thank you, Henrik, Håkon and Andy!  It has an honor to join you on the last day of your journey.

Henrik Teigøyen

Henrik Teigøyen and Håkon Johan Brandvold

22 thoughts on “Childhood Friends on an Expedition of a Lifetime: 2,500 Kilometer Ski Trip!

  1. Thanks for sharing your story and emotions with and about the guys. It is interesting to learn about their background and intentions to do such trip. Ha en kjempefin helg! 🙂

    1. I’m glad I finally took some time to write about it. I’ve been so busy preparing to open the gallery, that the days just fly by. It was an honor to meet them and I”m so glad it worked out to be there when they reached their goal. Har en fin helg, du og!

  2. Erica, what a wonderful story about friendship and perseverance! I can tell you were personally touched – it truly conveys in your touching report. Well done!

    1. Thanks Anna. Like I said, it was an honor to be there on that day. And thinking of you today, as your exhibition opens. My opening is delayed until next week…. long story.

  3. Hi Erica! What a wonderful post and amazing photos! Of course I also love that dog and the first photo is so beautiful! x Teje

  4. WELL DONE! To all 4 of you. Ver enjoyable, rewarding souleducating reading.about trze friendship.

    “Det passer aldri bra, derfor gjør vi det nå” – “The timing will never fit, therefore we’re doing it now.” 🙂 🙂 🙂 I have already put it down in my little prcious book for golden words and moments.

    Ha en fin helg!

    1. Thank you Dina. I’m glad I could convey their story in a manner that honors them and their accomplishment. And I agree, it’s a great quote. One worth memorizing!

  5. What an amazing journey and a very special friendship! It also must be special to travel a long distance like this with your dog. This kind of friendship between two men and a dog as well is something you have to cherish.

    1. It was an honor to meet Henrik and Håkon and Andy and be present for the last part of their journey. I don’t remember which one of them took the photo of the skis in the sunset, but I agree. It’s great.

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