Over the summer I got to visit Finse, Norway - HOTH from The Empire Strikes Back! It was a dream come true to visit theactual place where Han rode a tauntaun, Luke nearly got eaten by a wampa, and the coolest vehicles in all of Star Wars took down some AT-ATs. #TeamSnowSpeeder
Armed with snacks, water, a jacket and a lightsaber or two (because, HOTH), I figured I was totally prepared for this pilgrimage - uh, day trip.
I SO WAS NOT.
But the Force taught me some valuable lessons - lessons I'm sharing so that if you ever find yourself heading to Hoth, you don't show up for an impromptu four hour hike on a Norwegian glacier wearing Adidas Superstars. #SadButTrue
VISITING HOTH: A SURVIVAL GUIDE by S.T. Bende
(1) There's always snow on Hoth . . . even in August!! I don't know how I didn't see that one coming, but I was genuinely shocked by the huge patches of snow that looked deceptively close to the train station. So shocked, I may have wept. Openly. #NoShame
(2) If you want to blend in on Hoth, hide your fangirl tears behind big sunglasses. Apparently, most people DO NOT BURST INTO TEARS the moment they step off the train and see the aforementioned snow. Clearly, these are the heartless Sith people.
(3) Greeting fellow visitors with a hearty "May the Force be with you!" earns you weird looks. Despite clearly visible Rebel signage that marked this place as INCREDIBLY SACRED GROUND, it turned out everybody else was there to hike some glacier. Including a group of Boy Scouts who were polite enough to hide their laughter behind their reindeer burgers. Bless.
(4) Space is measured differently on Hoth. Remember that deceptively close looking snow from #1? Turns out, said snow was a four hour round trip hike from the train station, on account of a sneakily wide lake. A FOUR HOUR HIKE. That is way past the first marker. #HothHumor
(5) Snowspeeders aren't required in August, but hiking gear is. Turns out Hoth was filmed atop one of the most beloved hiking locations in all of Europe. (So said every single person who passed me on the trail.) This explains why I was the only person trekking around without hiking shoes, hiking socks, and hiking poles (yes, poles!). See FOUR HOUR HIKE, above. #WheresATauntaunWhenYouNeedOne
(6) In a pinch, Adidas Superstars make great hiking shoes. Because I wasn't not going to hike to that patch of snow! But for the record, white Superstars will be covered in Hoth Berries by the end of the day. (Fun fact: Hoth Berry stains wash out in the laundry!)
(7) In a pinch, Adidas Superstars also make great skis! My bucket list includes "SKI HOTH!" and "SKI JOTUNHEIM!", and since my Rossignols were at home, I made do with what I had. #RebelsAreResourceful (Another fun fact: Hoth is pretty darned close from to a place called Jotunheimen National Park, so I'm calling this a win on both fronts.)
(8) Manners matter, even on Echo Base. Finse is only accessible by trains - a very small number of trains that keep to very regimented schedules. Ours was two minutes late, and the conductor apologized no fewer than fifteen times. Seriously.
(9) Kyber crystal-powered weapons are allowed on Hoth. Because all the cool adults show up in tiny Norwegian towns carrying lightsabers, right?
Spending time on Hoth, even in questionable shoes, was one of the coolest experiences of my life. Not only was it breathtakingly beautiful, but it gave me a whole new connection to a galaxy far, far away. I'm so incredibly grateful that I got to visit Echo Base, and I can't wait to go back again . . . hopefully in the winter, when there's EVEN MORE SNOW!!