Today we were up bright and early as we had an activity booked at 9am. When I say bright and early, that’s not entirely true, it was 730am and still completely dark. The temperature was still at +1 degrees and the snow had melted off the porch are and from the overhead cables as well as all the trees.
Snowmobiling to the fells
At 9am, still in the darkness we again donned all our layers, balaclavas and helmets, ready for our trip to the fells on snow mobiles.
The group was small, consisting of 3 snow mobiles and the guide on another snow mobile pulling a sledge. The really good thing here is that if you want to get out on the excursions, but aren’t mobile or old enough to drive a snowmobile, a large sledge is attached to the guides snow mobile so you are still able to go along.
We drove for a couple of hours on the ski mobiles to Kaunispaan ski resort which is approximately 50 km from the Russian border.
The landscape today was much bleaker. There was barely any daylight and without the snow on the trees, The area looks quite stark compared to the last few days. In the forest there is little wind, but as you get out onto the fells, you can feel the temperature drop and the wind blowing across the open space.
Although it s a bleak landscape but there is still something very beautiful about it. The air is clear and other than passing the occasional group of snow mobiles or crossing main roads, it is quiet and peaceful.
At Kaunispaan we climbed the observation tower for the maximum view and to take photographs. There are no real mountainous areas in northern Finland, so this is one of the best places to get a good view.
We then went into the restaurant to have lovely hot soup (vegetable, reindeer or salmon) with bread.
It was then back on the snow mobiles to the hotel, which took another couple of hours. In all we had covered 60km on the snow mobiles. By this time, once again it was completely dark and the snow had just started to fall.
A magical night
At 9pm we set off as a group in a sledge tower by a snow mobile driven by one of the guides. We were driven to a clearing in the forest to the aurora camp.
It was. Clear night and the moon was brightly shining. We were ever hopeful that we would see the aurora. Andrew set up his tripod and camera and we waited. I lay down in the snow to look at the stars as it was a stunning sky. We were treated to a display of numerous shooting stars.
After a short while one of the guides went into the little wooden shelter and built a fire. People started to drift inside, but as it wasn’t really that cold, we persisted and stayed outside.
Suddenly a small area of unusual light appeared in the sky, which began to grow and as we started to get excited everyone else came out of the cabin.
it was an unbelievable sight and quite emotional. We had hoped that we would see the lights, but there was never any guarantee. Andrew began snapping away and then one of the guides kindly took a photo of all 4 of us together which was stunning (not us, the lights!)
The lights brightened and faded a few times before the guides sadly told us that it was time to go back. During the journey back to the hotel a couple of reindeer decided to trot along the path in front of the snow mobile. They seemed to have no fear of being pursued by the vehicle and trotted on regardless until finally veering off back into the woods.
Back at the hotel we stopped for a coffee when suddenly the chef shouted “lights”. Everyone got up and ran outside. After falling down the steps and wiping out Julie in the snow, we were again treated to the display of lights. We watched them from the hotel and then went back up towards the cabins where they continued on and off for another hour or so.
When we went into the cabin to go to bed we opened all the blinds, just in case they appeared again. Whether they did or not, I don’t know as I fell asleep.
I feel very humbled to have seen the northern lights. Looking up to the sky with all the stars and the vast darkness it reminds me that I am only a very small part of the world and that we are a tiny part of the universe.
An absolutely magical experience!