WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE TIRED OF URBAN LIFE AND HAVE DREAMS OF LEARNING HOW TO COPE ON YOUR OWN IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS WHILE LACKING KNOWLEDGE AS WELL AS EXPERIENCE OF IT? THE THING TO DO IS TO LEARN BY DOING IT. THIS IS THE STORY OF BILAL AND TAHA, WHO SET OFF ON THEIR OWN TO LIVE OFF NATURE AND ENDED UP LEARNING MUCH ABOUT THEMSELVES.
It was the summer 2014, the week before school was to start again when Yehia Bilal and Taha Aldujaili, 18 and 19 years old respectively
were discussing in Upplands Väsby, outside Stockholm, how to best use the time left of the summer holidays. They longed to get away
from the city life and out into the great wilderness, but neither of them had been to the mountains. In a sports shop they were given the hint that Funäsfjällen is situated in scenic nature with nearby wilderness. And what is more, there are coaches going most every day. They jumped at the idea and booked tickets for the next day. Then they started packing, finding it essential to pack smart; tinned tuna, mackerel, beans and a
cooking pan. They went on to buy a tent, they already had sleeping bags. A few articles of clothing and the packing was completed. Just
before five o’clock the next evening they entered the tourist information in Funäsdalen. – “Hello, we have just arrived, where do you suggest
we go?” Sandra at the tourist office is hesitant but given that it is late in the afternoon she suggests they ascend Mount Funäsdalsberget, it
is not very far. The views from there are lovely too.
Dark clouds An hour later sees them on the
summit and they start to pitch the tent. The views are indeed spectacular, they have arrived at last, in the middle of the great outdoors
and totally free. Meanwhile, approaching from the east is the worst thunderstorm for a decade and soon the winds are haunting the peak. Bilal goes outside to fasten the outer tent while Taha stays inside unpacking. Soon a heavy rain starts followed by gusts of storm.
The outer tent is blown away and the inner is drowned in the rain. After a little while the wind turns into storm. Hanging on to the tent just about to take off from the ground including all their packing inside it, Bilal shouts to Taha that they have to find protective cover!
The mountains are now enwrapped in menacing dark clouds and
a full thunderstorm has developed bringing also thunder and lightning.
Just below the summit they find a tiny hole in the ground, barely one square metre, with walls of rock and a wooden roof. They manage
to squeeze in there, use the sleeping bags to waterproof the ceiling and the remains of the tent to protect the opening. Soaking wet they try
to calm down and eat something until the thunderstorm is gone and they can return to the village. Late in the evening they are admitted
into the hotel where they can dry their clothes and provisions.
Four days later after many tins of beans with
mackerel, no map, a touch of bear fear and miscellaneous hardships they are pitching their tent for the last time on Mt Lillskarven. They
have learnt the lesson from Mt Funäsdalsberget and set up camp on the edge of the forest below the bare zone. From the peak they are watching the sun setting between the Norwegian mountains, consuming
another meal of mackerels and celebrating that they are finally in the setting they had envisaged, albeit after new experiences and hardships.
They could not have foreseen these, but in the end
everything went well.
T E X T : P E T E R R E H N P H OT O : R O G E R B O R G E L I D