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The Huskies of Hetta

Somewhere in the darkness in front of me, six huskies ran. They seemed to dance across the snow, hardly sinking into it at all as they pushed ever forward. Snow crunched under my sled, weighed down with two people and a heaping pile of reindeer skins. The dogs panted and the wind was doing its…

The Best Ways to Explore Utsjoki & Finland’s Remote North

If you’re looking for remote — and if you’re visiting Lapland, chances are you like remote places — it doesn’t get much moreso than Utsjoki. Finland’s northernmost municipality is also once of its most sparsely populated; most sources list the number of people living there as .25 people/km2. That’s not many people at all. Unfortunately…

Inari in Summer: Exploring the Lands of the Thunder God

In many parts of Lapland, the history of the region isn’t immediately obvious. You won’t find any cathedrals erected in 1000AD or even many buildings built prior to 1945, when the retreating Nazis razed nearly all the towns in the region to the ground. While this means you have to dig a little further, it’s…

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day With the Aurora (And Knee-Deep Snow)

Most St Patrick’s Day celebrations involve a lot of Guinness and even more people wearing every shade of green in existence.  Last year, mine involved neither–although some of the people with me may have been wearing green under a multitude of other layers designed to keep them warm in the -20ºC temperatures. And, instead of…

A Taste of Wilderness in the Middle of Rovaniemi

The most memorable part of my brief sojourn to Swedish Lapland last year — the trip that inspired me to go back for much longer this year — was my first venture out into the untamed wilderness in a sled being pulled by six huskies. I remember being bundled up in reindeer skins and canvas,…

Bashing Through the Ice in a 3500-Ton Ship

Standing on the bow of the Sampo icebreaker ship, I looked out “to sea.” That sea was a frozen, barren stretch of ice that stretched all the way to the horizon, only broken by lines of churned-up ice left by the ship’s previous excursions. It looked as though we should be stuck, hemmed in as…

Snowmobiling on the Icy Gulf of Bothnia

Standing in the middle of the frozen wasteland of the Gulf of Bothnia, I felt like I could have been a thousand miles to the north. Sure, in the distance I could see a small windfarm, slowly spinning away in the light Lappish breeze, but when I turned away from it I was greeted with…

Nearly Being Steamed to Death…in the SnowCastle?

Never did I imagine that a stay in the SnowCastle would result in me nearly passing out from heat exhaustion. As I curled up in my Arctic sleeping bag, leaving only my nose and mouth poking out into the -5C air inside my little dome of a room, the only thing I could think of…

Enjoying the Moment at the Arctic Snow Hotel

After having spent four of the previous five nights standing outside in seriously cold temperatures until well past midnight, it wouldn’t have been surprising if I couldn’t muster up much excitement about yet another cold night. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Yes, I was tired, but the adrenalin had kept me going…

Cross-Country Skiing…Without Falling Over!

I’m just a little bit clumsy. I’ve fallen into a parked car, giving myself a concussion in the process. I’ve dislocated my toe on the Tongariro Crossing, having to hobble the final 2km so I could catch my bus. Last year, I planned to try cross-country skiing, only to break my leg before I got…
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