Felix’s summer time reflections, part two.

This time looking at trailrunning – once a leisure activity for the individual, it has transformed into a running hoard of commercial opportunities – the extravagant Swede has gone meditating along the high paths of the Chamonix-valley.

Rocks and roots and bark and wood.

Felix Olsson

As I leave the gravel road and enter onto the trail, I kinda wish I was ski-touring. I start climbing the switchbacks, slowly, surely, and have to fight back a voice that’s whispering negative words about there not being any powdery reward waiting for me at the top.
-“Shut up” I mutter under my breath. “The way down is not everything.”

This is my first time living full-time in the mountains, and I am now caught up in the middle of a quotidien that recently I was only able to look on with mixed emotions of fear and anxiety. What will life in Chamonix be without snow and cold weather: the two things that have been the founding pillars in my dreamy life? Sure I’ve been told by experienced Chamoniards that “mec, the summer here is almost better than the winter…”, but they’ve always offered me alien answers as to why that is.

“Biking, hiking, climbing, trail running. Aperos in the sun. Getting to wear your flip-flops all day after being stuck in your ski-boots all winter. No need to get up early for the powder. BBQ’s and sunshine.”

Felix Olsson

As the climb gets steeper I try to find comfort in this… And yeah, I suppose the sun does feel good on my skin. The sensation is very different from that of being clad in GoreTex-shells on top of some remote peak. I smile and take notice of the fact that my muscles are getting warmer now, the intensity of my struggle is decreasing.

The Forest is pretty in green, lovely, dark and deep. I ask myself: What is it that I like so much about ski-touring? And what am I really doing right now?

Well, one thing is for certain; out here I have nothing to hide, nothing to prove, nothing to fear.

Nothing to win.

Nothing to lose.

I’m not sure what I am really doing right now, but it has nothing in common with the marathons, the competitions, the corporations. All this is… Is being free to move, free to breathe, free to be. Personally, all I need to do that is a pair of shoes and some time.

Felix Olsson

No spectators. No judges.

Just like ski-touring.

Being in nature – with friends or alone – exploring places deep in some more ancient part of our beings.

Connecting with the elements, yes, but what does that mean? Social media would have us believe that there are some inherent truths about the joy of nature, but are not always letting us in on the details.

Well, for me it’s always been about the silence, I guess. The commercials and billboards don’t tell us about how completely silent the ascent of a mountain can be. I find comfort in that, and I experience a familiar silence as my trail stops climbing and begins to level out. There’s only the sound of my feet on the path, bringing my thoughts to those of skins sliding across snow. Looks like there can be pleasure in both.

Felix Olsson

My trail is descending now, and while the sensation differs greatly from that of skiing, my legs are experiencing a very similar feeling of reward as the climb is finished and the descent has begun.

Huh, I guess this isn’t so bad. And it should definitely get me in better shape for skiing, no?

In a few short months it will be November… Until then, the sun feels good on my skin.

Similar to the glaciers and snowy slopes of winter, the trail doesn’t ask anything from me as long as I pay them a visit every once in a while (if I don’t, sustained periods of lactic acid and pain will remind me of it).

It is there for me when I need it, and it’s turned out to be a source of meditation and inspiration. It kinda does make me wish I was ski-touring, and that gives me something to long for.

Rocks and roots and bark and wood, they’re all lovely, dark and deep.

Looks like the name of the game is not – after all – just getting through summer, but savoring it.

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