Lapland adventure – day no.3

Here I am back, with the awesome Lapland adventure. If you do not remember what happened in previous days, just go back in my blog and find these stories. So, it is 3rd day in Lapland and this happened …

Forecast says sun – it is time to discover this area

So here we are in Saarisalka, 3rd day. I slept really well, as last 3 days I spend on the small seat in small bus. It is really a pleasure to wake in bed here in North Finland. First of all it is time to prepare something to eat. Luckily I have enough food from Lidl store which we visited in Kemi. Or I think it was in Kemi, but it does not matter. So, breakfast is ready and not, what next? It is time to ask Alex what are his plans for today.

As I expected from him, he is ready to spend day outside. First of all we go to the center of this small village where is info-center. We are looking for some free maps of this area but it seems like they have only paid one. Somehow, outside from info-center we find one which superbly fits to our plans.

View from out cabin in Saariselkä 
Map of Saariselkä 

We decided! We will go to Urho Kekkosen national park. Part of this park is also in Saarisalka and it is quiet easy to access. So let’s go.

Urho Kekkosen national park 

The park is well-marked and we have to decide which trail we will use. There are 3. All marked with special signs on some kind of pipes. The pipes look pretty small, but after we step few times out off the trail, we find out that they are not really small, just there is so much snow all around. My guess is about 2 meters, but who knows. Trail is pretty nice and it is easy to walk it. Wind is a bit stronger as it was just few minutes ago. Weather changes a lot. From time to time we can see the sun and blue sky and in just a minute we are in snow storm with strong wind. But we both are crazy enough to continue. We still believe it will worth it.

Trail in Urho Kekkosen national park 

Temperature here is about zero degrees. It should be fine, but do not forget about the strong wind. It is all over us and makes our faces red as tomatoes. Fast look at thermometer and we continue.

Thermometer in Urho Kekkosen national park 
Signs in Urho Kekkosen national park 

Whole countryside looks death. Some trees, especially this next one looks amazing. I know Alex is not happy, but I have to spend few minutes, to take some great picture of this one. I just love how it looks. Colors of the forest are gray, green and white. White makes us blind from time to time, when a sun shine on it. But sun, is something what we are looking for today.

Death trees in Urho Kekkosen national park 
Forest in Urho Kekkosen national park 

We just arrived to the crossroad. Here we have to decide if to go further or turn back to the village. I want to go further but Alex is not sure. He thinks it is bit too far and the weather is not really good today. I try to explain him that we can do it but later, I agree and we turn left back to Saariselkä . On the way back we want to climb up to the highest peak in this area. In the next picture you can see how it looks from the area under this highest peak. So we are here, under the peak and guess what. Wind disappeared. We can feel our fingers, left and faces again. Energy is coming back to our bodies and we make a radical decision. We will go back to the previous crossroad and follow the road to go further. I am laughing a lot because we had to walk to here, for another 30 minutes in bad weather, to find out that we want to go further. So, another 30 minutes of walking back and we took of to the valley (I forgot the name – I am sorry).

Urho Kekkosen national park 
Urho Kekkosen national park 

So here we are going to the valley and it seems like weather likes us more as before. The wind is blowing but to our backs so we cannot really feel it. Sun is shining and clouds are just perfect for some photo shots. It is about 6 or 7 km to the valley, so we have an hour or two in front of us. Lets hope it will worth it.

Urho Kekkosen national park – on the way to valley

We arrived. Here we are, next to the valley but I have a bad news. It is not possible to go to the valley. The train there is completely blocked by snow. We make some test steps into the snow but after each our legs fall deep into the snow.

But next to the valley, is really nice looking cottage. We entry it and there are 2 people from Finland. They are just leaving so we just say hello and they left. Whole cottage is now just for us. I like the smell of this place. There is a fireplace where we can put some extra wood and the smell of woods which is inside and wood which was used for this cabin just remind me the smell when you use sauna. If you have ever been in sauna I am sure you know what I am talking about. There are also some hangers where we can put our wet clothes. A textbook is on the desk so I open it and take a look. I am trying to find some people from Slovakia, but there is nobody. I feel a bit proud to be a first Slovak in this cabin. I sign myself into it and then I write also a postcard for my mom which I bought in the info-center. The design of this one I really like. The bear and a bit of forest drawn by pencil. Alex takes out of his backpack some food, we eat it, I make some more shots and we are ready to go back. When we go outside, there are some more people who came here by skies. It seems like we were the only 2 people who walked all the way here.

Cabin in Urho Kekkosen national park 
Textbook from the cabin
View from the cabin – it was possible to prepare a tea there also
Surrounding of the cabin in Urho Kekkosen national park 
Valley which we did not read as it was blocked by snow

The way back to the crossroad is harder as it was before. Wind is strong and it is blowing right into our faces. From time to time we have to stop because the snow storm together with wind makes it impossible to move. I still try to take some pictures and sometimes I forget that I cannot step out from the marked trail. Few times I did it and this happened. Once I was so deep and Alex was a bit far, so I felt like I will be stacked there forever.

Snow was really deep in this area

Crossroad, turn right and we are at the same place where we before took a rest as it was the only place without a strong wind. We have in front of us the last point of our tour. The summit, the highest place here. It is time to go, we are climbing slowly up. Snow is surprisingly strong so it is easy to walk. Wind is still strong but we do not mind anymore. But the effect which wind and snow makes, is amazing. Alex says this is the time to take a picture of the day. I agree, set up my tripod and put my bag down to the snow. And this a picture which we got up there. Anyway, the bag which I put next to the trip, got completely covered by snow in just few seconds.

Summiting the highest place of Saarisalka

On the way back from the top, we pass this cabin in the forest. It is names Aurora cabin and inside you can find some sofas, couches etc. I think it is the place where some guided tours go in the evening to hunt aurora. It is good to know, maybe we will come to this place later.

Aurora cabin

As we came to the cabin, took a rest, shower and so, I do not want to talk. It is not really interesting. We had in our legs already about 20 km and I was also super tired. But we are in Lapland and maybe we will see the aurora tonight! So to be tired or not, we want to go up to the mountain over our cabin and try to see aurora. To walk up there takes 30 minutes and on the top you can find a restaurant. It is closed, of course, because it is 10 pm. Clouds are all over us but the application in Android says aurora should be here. We decide to wait. Some of us are hidden behind this restaurant as it is really freezing outside. I go up to watchtower and try to take some nice pictures. If I do not see aurora tonight, I want to have some nice pictures of the restaurant and surrounding at least.

Mountain where we were hunting for aurora
Restaurant on the top of the mountain

Yes you are right, If you are thinking why you did not see any pictures of aurora in previous pictures, it is because we did not see any aurora. Cloud did not disappear so it was not possible to watch it. But I liked these trips up here. Every time, when we even did not see aurora, we were sliding down from this mountain and it was really super fun. Sliding from the mountain for 10 or 15 minutes was something what I have never done before! I loved it and will miss it forever!

So we are on the way back to our cabin, but Alex gets an idea to go to this aurora cabin which we visited before. I am okay with it but nobody want to join us. So we decide to go by ourself. I have to say it is a bit scary, nobody on streets of Saariselkä and some animals are running in front of us. Maybe it was a rabbit, maybe fox, deer, I really do not know. We are going deeper in the dark forest. Maybe 1 km from Aurora cabin we find another one, smaller. I want to take a rest. As we are sitting here, we can hear some noise. It is coming from the Saariselkä . In few minutes we find out what it was, what was the noise. About 20 Japanese tourists are coming to our way. It is our chance, say Alex and me almost in the same time. We join this group and we hope they go to the Aurora cabin. Yes they go! Ahhh, I feel so happy that we do not have to walk there alone. When we arrive to the cabin, clouds are still here. Japanese looks exciting but me and Alex know, that there will not be any aurora tonight. So I pack my tripod and we head up back to Saariselkä and out cabin. On the way back I really do not care about animals and other things around us. The only thing which made me mad was .. that I forgot my gloves in Aurora cabin! So we have to walk all the way back, but luckily my gloves are still there, so I take them and we go back.

View over the sky full of stars from Aurora cabin

We are back. Back in our cabin. And the 3rd day in Saariselkä is over. I am sure we will sleep really well tonight as we walked about 25 km all together. We did not see aurora tonight but still I have to say that we had amazing day! The day which will be never forgotten! What happened the next day? Are you curious? I tell you just some highlights – Norway, swimming, Arctic ocean and food.

See you next time!

Your Supertramp


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