Norway rocks! Oslo is beautiful, especially the architecture and waterfront situation.

Norwegians love their cross-country skiing, so I’m excited that they are excited about my project.

My friends Kristie and Ida had told me several times before I came on this trip that Norwegians love skiing. It took about 48 hours in Norway to confirm that the love is real.

Here is my proof!

On my first afternoon walk around Oslo, I counted 3 people walking down the sidewalk with skis slung over their shoulders…in a major city. Love it! Essentially every TV in every bar on every block in this city was showing a Nordic ski race.

The hipster teenager sitting next me on the flight from Trondeim back to Oslo was watching recorded Nordic ski races on her iPhone, not Norwegian Gossip Girl or flipping through her SnapChat feed, but totally absorbed in ski races.

Due to my fear of over-packing, I often err on the side of too-light packing, typically leaving home some critical item like underwear, shoes, pants. In this case, I left home my cross-country ski pants- brought the rest of the outfit, just forgot the pants. I really did not want to be the American who was skiing along in her proper sporty Nordic ski jacket and hat….and then wearing jeans. I asked my hotel concierge where I might be able to pick up some Nordic ski pants and he proceeded to rapid-fire rattle off so many gear stores within a few blocks that I shirked away completely overwhelmed with the options.

They drive smaller cars here so what can’t go inside, must go on the roof! In this case, it’s cross-country skis. I saw more cars than I could count driving around Oslo with skis on the roof.

My final piece of proof of their love of Nordic skiing: Their national hero’s filling the electronic bill-boards were Nordic ski champions. I had fun looking them up. This was across sectors like banking, energy, business and consumer goods.

Of course, Norwegians are known for many more things and I witnessed it first-hand.

They are some of the most warm, funny, and self-deprecating humans I have had the pleasure to meet. They take pride in the pristine, natural beauty of their country, and protect and respect it. The cities and streets are spotless.

They are very proud of their country.

They value family time and time in nature. They take care of each other.

Their use of technology to create a seamless consumer experience is ahead of the United States. There is cool technology everywhere! I will leave here having found a place I hope to return to many, many times.

And, now on to the trek,

The first thing out of one guide’s mouth was, “Are you open minded?” He asked me five times until I convincingly, almost yelled back saying “YES I AM!”

That is because things have changed.

I will no longer be carrying a backpack, I will be pulling a pulk.

This is fine. I can get used to this…

It changes my training a little.

One guide told me the best way to prepare is to drag tires around behind me on a harness. Yep, drag tires. I was not shocked to hear this because my mom did the same 20 years ago preparing for her ski to the North Pole.

I immediately think about where I can possibly do this around Washington, DC and I am still trying to figure that out.

I need to focus on balance, core and leg strength, a lot. The pulk will likely be 10lbs per day of the trek. I will be leaning forward more. It will not necessarily be more challenging than a pack, just different.

There will be a route 1, 2 and 3 depending on weather and factors, and the final route will not be determined until much closer to the actual departure. This makes complete sense.

We will have to figure out how to communicate from the trek so I can send updates. They believe a big swath of it will be inaccessible.

I will likely need more gripping skins on the bottoms of my skis then I have. I will likely need a second pair of skis for certain areas.

Setting up camp at the end of the day will be really cold!

They stressed: proper sleeping bag, proper clothing, proper training, proper nutrition when out there.

Skype will be our mode of communication over the coming months as we sort out all of the logistics.

He said if I’m not a combination of scared and excited then something is wrong, it won’t go well. I’m a solid combination of both.