Time to break out the sunscreen
It’s Eastertime in southern Norway and winter’s coldness is giving way to spring sunshine. The nights are still below freezing but the bright daytime sun is working hard. The snow on the side of the road may be grey and crusty but in the forest it’s still white and crisp. Rather crisp, so break out the klister if you want to go skiing. (Left: Ørfiske, Nittedal, Norway. Right: Årstadvangen, Gjerdrum, Akershus, Norway)
There’s nothing like sunny weather or visitors to get us thinking about new adventures. A good friend from the UK was here over Easter break and we convinced her to join us on our next long-distance hike through Norway. Our discussions reminded me: We left not-yet-snowy Norway for several weeks of sun and warmth in December.
Learn about life: Travel to another culture
Our brother-in-law, Grant, said, “You can hike to us from one of the local airstrips.” And that’s all it took to create an adventure. We flew into Maseru, capital of Lesotho, and collected neither of our hiking backpacks. The first pack showed up on the next plane and the second pack arrived on the third and last flight of the day. We spent the night at the lovely Botleng Guest House before we took a Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) flight to an airstrip in the mountains. Grant will soon be a pilot with MAF and it was cool to see what he’ll be doing. We had one aborted landing (too windy) before dropping off the other passengers at a medical clinic. Those ten minutes of flight translated into a six-hour car ride on winding mountain roads. That’s why MAF is so important to the clinics and people in very rural places around the world. You can read more about MAF here. (Left: View over Maseru, Lesotho. Right: Quthing River, Ha Makoae, Lesotho)
We spent the day hiking toward our halfway point, where we planned to meet Grant. Did you know there are two different villages named Ha Potso across the valley from each other? And they both have raised solar panel arrays? Neither did we. But we found each other at last and grudgingly pitched our tent on someone’s rock-hard driveway. Our second day of hiking went well, as long as I don’t think so much about the very long and very steep downhill at the end of the day. It is easy to take for granted the copious amounts of fresh, drinkable water available in Norway. (Pulane Children’t Centre, Ha Makoae, Quthing District, Lesotho)
Lesotho is beautiful, mountainous and rugged, and the Basotho people are warm and inquisitive. If you want to learn about yourself, travel to a place where your skin colour makes you very visible. Grant and Emily direct an orphanage, Pulane Children’s Centre (PCC), in the rural area of Ha Makoae in the Quthing District of Lesotho. The children are happy and the staff love their jobs. We were glad to have their hospitality and spent time exploring the numerous paths that cross the mountains. Learn more about PCC here. (Road to Lets’eng-la-Letsie, the wetlands near the southeast border of Lesotho and South Africa)