The Sony Challenges S01E04: Sleeping under the stars
Sony challenges Emma Elwin to complete a series of extreme activities. During the challenges, Emma tests Sony’s products too see if they endure the rough conditions. Do the products stand the test – and, does Emma?
From spring 2015, Sony challenges Emma Elwin to complete a series of extreme activities. During the challenges, Emma tests Sony’s products too see if they endure the rough conditions. Do the products stand the test – and, does Emma?
Season one takes place far up north – Fjällräven Polar 2015 is a 300 km long winter adventure across the arctic thundra. Emma and the other participants sleep under the moon and steer a dog sled each from Signaldalen in Norway to Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lappland. Conditions are grim (a storm is coming!) and the right equipment is essential.
Season 01, episode 04: Sleeping under the stars
I wake up at dawn. The dogs are howling outside the tent and I reach for my phone to have a look at the time. 4:57 AM. I feel awake and reson with myself that I’ts better to get up and get water for the dogs’ food that to get an extra 30 minutes of sleep.
Even though my body is exhausted from trying to acclimatize, my mind feels sharp. Constantly focused on the task that I am for the moment pursuing.
Once the dogs are fed and harnessed, and the tents are packed into the sled, we are off. Our team starts as second out today. It’s cloudy and the air is thick. But after an hour or two, I have lost track of time again, the sun is peeking out and the snow looks like glitter. The mountain range is quite overwhelming and I try to catch its greatness in film as we pass it on the frozen lake. Just as I’m starting to get lost in my head, I see that we’ve caught up with the leading team. And it’s with a smirk on my face (that I’m trying to hid) as we pass them. I know that this is not a race, but it still feels great to be the leading team.
When we stop for a break to feed the dogs and ourselves; the dogs eating quickly and restlessly, wanting to get back on the tracks; we take a few minutes extra to breath. The happiness this kind of life brings me is beyond words. I don’t think I have ever lived so much in the now as these past days. The calmness is something I wish I could bring into my everyday life.
After lunch we set off and now the sun makes the snow so bright that I have to wear my sunglasses to keep my eyes from tearing. As we get to the night camp; which is beautifully located on what to my eyes looks like a meadow in a summertime, only in the middle of the forest; the routine from last night and this morning feels familiar already. As the dogs are bathe in the sun, we prepare their dinner and award ourselves with a cup of coffee. There is a rumor in the camp that we are suposed to sleep without tents tonight. It turns out to be true. We’re taught by our surveyor expert Mayor Johan Skullmans how to build a shelter and how to make a fire with bark, a knife and a fire stone.
Johan ends the lesson by saying that tomorrow there will be a test and that each one of us will have to make a fire within a time limit. He doesn’t say how long we’ll have – just that the one that doesn’t make it will have to walk to the finish line. After that he laughs but I’m not sure it’s a joke.
After feeding the dogs, putting their jackets on and going crazy with the ice saw (it’s what you use to build an igloo) our night shelter is finished and we enjoy our dinner. The only thing left is the get a fire going. My hands are so tired after the days’ work and I’ve been chopping wood for an hour. It’s with shaking hands that I’m trying to do what Johan’s instructed us to to with the knife and fire stone. I’ts of no use, my hands are too tired and after 30 minutes my team mate Charlie takes over and gets the fire started. I dread tomorrow and pray that my hands will do what I say once we have to pass the test.
There, under the starry sky, the four of us in team UK/Sweden are lying on old fire tree branches in our sleeping bags, listening to the fire as it crackles in the distant. Just as I can’t hold my eyes open, the northern lights starts to dance over the sky again. I don’t remember the last time I slept that well.
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