A Winter Adventure in Lapland (4)

New years day was another bright day, once it became light at around 10am. It’s was a freezing cold morning, at -16 degrees. We went to the hotel and had breakfast and then booked out the skis for the morning.

Skiing to Kakslauttanen

Once we had all got our skis on and the required layers of clothing, we set off on our cross country adventure to Kakslauttanen (or Klatterslappen as we keep mistakingly call it).

This is another small holiday village approximately 3km from Muotka. We managed fairly well in the tracks, but when it comes to crossing the roads, or areas where there are no tracks, it’s a little more difficult and there were a few falls along the way. The hardest part for me was going down hill as it feels like you build up a tremendous amount of speed. I resorted to coming down them sideways, to avoid quite some much speed. I did manage one hill, but screamed coming down as if I was skiing down a mountain off piste, when it was actually just a small hill.

It was so cold that ice crystals formed in any area where you were warm, or where yo were breathing. We had ice crystals on our hats, on my eye lashes and when you breathe through your nose the hairs in your nose freeze. However with all the effort of skiing you still remain warm inside all the clothes.

Once we reached the village, we called in for a hot chocolate and a look around the gift shop. We then put all the layers and skis back on and headed back for lunch. The ski home didn’t seem to take any time at all.

After lunch we had a restful afternoon and as it started to come dark around 2pm, it makes it feel really late. Afternoon naps are definitely required, especially if you are going out in the evenings.

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Aurora hunt by car

After our evening meal, we were then booked to go out aurora hunting in the mini bus. By this time it was snowing heavily and we knew that there was little chance of seeing them.

The trip out was worth it, just to see the amount of snow falling and the amazing drier, who seemed undeterred by the blizzard and carried on regardles, stopping just once to clear the ice from the wipers.

We stopped at a couple of points to get out and look at the sky, but due to the amount of snow there were no auroras to be seen. The temperature reached -21 degrees at one point.

We were provided with the customary hot chocolate and cookies and then returned home at midnight.

We have a couple more trips out to look for auroras, but as it’s a natural phenomenon there are no guarantees, but perhaps that means we have to come again if we don’t see one

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A Winter Adventure in Lapland (2)

After a good night’s sleep I awoke at 6am to the sound of the snow plough going past the cabin. It was still pitch dark and had been snowing overnight. Once the snow plough had gone past it was calm and peaceful again. After a leisurely shower and then piling on lots of clothing, we went up to the centre for breakfast. It wa a very mild morning at -2 degrees. It was still snowing and snow had been forecast for most of the day.

There was a lovely choice of food for breakfast and we then went back to the cabin to get ready for our first activity.

Cross Country Skiing

I tried on the enourmous snow suit and struggled to walk in it as the crotch was down by my knees and the legs were about 6 inches too long! I went back to the clothing centre, but they did not have any in a slightly smaller size that would still fit me, so I was provided with a belt to pull it in and hold it up around the middle. Luckily this did the job whilst I was skiing, but I still couldn’t manage to walk in it.

one of the hardest jobs of the day, was getting the skis on whilst wearing so much clothing. Once we all managed to get sorted,  our group set off following the guide along the ready made tracks in the snow.

Once I got a rhythm going I was fine, unless I lost my concentration and then I would start to wobble. Luckily I managed not to fall and the group kept up a steady pace, into the Urho Kekkonen National Park. It was snowing gently and I was absolutely melting in the snow suit. The guide did say that they are more useful for minus ten temperatures rather than the current mild weather.

My husband managed to break the strap on his skis, so had to walk the last few hundred metres to the refreshemnet stop. In the National Park we stopped by a fireplace (not lit) where we had hot juice and cookies. Most of the cookies were fed to the Siberian jays which were very people friendly and were happy to eat the crumbs out of your hand.

After this lovely rest and a change of skis for Andrew, it was back on the tracks to ski our way to the hotel. A quick change of clothing followed by a well deserved lunch and I was happy to find that my fit bit recorded 21000 steps!

A forest walk in snow shoes

After lunch, we were booked in for a lesson in snow shoes. I had learned my lesson from the morning and put on a few less layers, minus the snow suit.

The snow shoes were no easier to get on your feet, but were a little bit easier to manage once you had them on.

We set off following the guide, initially on the flattened snow track. She advised us at this point to stay on the track, as although we were walking on the frozen river, there were places where it wasn’t frozen.

Once we were in the wood she then suggested that we have a go on the crash snow off the track. This was really hard to do and it is difficult to tell how deep the snow is. At one point I stepped in snow up to my waist, tried to put my hand down to push myself up, but again disappeared into the snow. Even trying to use the poles didn’t help. Eventually after gettin over my fits of laughter I was helped up by my husband and a lovely lady in the group. I managed the rest of the walk without incident.

We stopped in the woods at one of the Kota’ s, which is a teepee style building built by the reindeer farmers for shelter. We stopped in the shelter for hot juice and cookies (there is a bit of a theme appearing here) and then we carried on walking through the woods back to the hotel

Sauna and snow

After a short rest and a warm drink and snacks, we then decided to use the sauna. Each of the cabin has its own sauna, but we all went into the one in our friend’s cabin.  I had to sit on the lower deck as I cannot bear the hottest heat at the top of the sauna. I was then challenged to run out into the snow and rub the snow on my skin as it’s really good for you. Amazingly, it isn’t quite as cold as you would think, running out intimate the snow in bare feet and a swimmingly costume! It did make me feel ver invigorated. Things are looking positive for the planned sauna adventure tomorrow then!

We had a lovely meal in the evening, followed by a couple of drinks and a game of cards. At this point I was very relaxed (possibly slightly drunk as I am a lightweight!), so it was back to the cabin, where I slept like a baby.