My name is Barbara Goode. I live in Chicago and I am a hospital social worker. I am grateful to be still working though I turned 80 in December.
I heard of the Camino Francais in Spain and walked the route from coast to coast twice: once by myself and once with my great niece. There are hikers from all over the world who walk this route. At some point I heard about the route across Sweden and Norway and because of my mother’s Swedish ancestry, and my husband’s Norwegian ancestry, I decided to hike St. Olavsleden. In 2015 I hiked for eight days, but because I had a backpack with a tent, mattress and sleeping bag, along with all the other items I felt I needed in case I couldn’t find a place to stay for the night, I was exhausted and by the 8th day, I felt I could not complete the entire route. I took the train to Trondheim, to see the beautiful cathedral at the end of the route, thinking I likely would never come back. My son, however, knowing how disappointed I was, helped me to arrange transport of luggage for the next year. So in 2016 I started where I had left off the year before and finished the route. Now I am planning to go back in 2018 to do the whole route from the coast of Sweden to the coast of Norway. I am so excited about doing the whole route this summer
I live in very flat Chicago, so there is no way I can prepare for the hills in Sweden and Norway, but with my pack on my back, I hike, at least once a week increasing my distance until I have at least once, and hopefully two or three times, hiked a full 20 miles. I also pack and repack my backpack until I am satisfied that I have all I will need, no more and no less.
I am looking forward to walking St. Olavsleden again: I enjoy leaving my responsibilities and the demands of day-to-day life at home. I enjoy being out in the countryside and the peaceful experience of waking up each day to the joy of just walking on God’s good earth with a daypack on my back and a song in my heart. I am happy to stay connected to my son and my husband by phone and glad to know they have an app that shows them where I am at any time along the way, which gives me a safety net should a problem occur.
For those of you who are planning to walk St. Olavsleden: this is a beautiful and interesting route, well worth hiking. The people you will meet are gracious, helpful and interesting. Be prepared for meeting few other hikers. You will likely find a place to stay almost every night, but possibly not every night. The St. Olavsleden website has a lot of good information. Read as much of the information that you feel will be helpful to you, as you plan your experience.