Snowshoeing in Finnish Lapland Winter Bushcraft 2018/04/08
For many, the pull of seeing the Northern Lights is the only reason
to venture this far north. In Finnish Lapland that was to be an
unspoken wish that I was keen to have fulfilled. This was certainly
not the only desire on my list and nor would it matter one bit if it
didn't come true. This was a fantastic trip snowshoeing in Finnish
We had planned to spend time snowshoeing in Urho Kekkonen National Park
as well as visiting some other hiking trails in and around Inari. This
would be scratching the surface when it comes to visiting this area, but
one has to start somewhere. I think it's best to leave an area with
unanswered questions and a strong will to return. I think it will be
another trip snowshoeing in Finnish Lapland.
Late March and the conditions are well
below freezing but with longer days and the sun high enough in the sky
to give you bright views across the landscape and plenty of blue skies.
Urho Kekkonen National Park
We would be on snowshoes to cross the terrain and this proved to be a
mixed bag when it came to results. The powder snow had not yet formed a
hardened crust and was exceptionally deep in the valley forests. Up on
the fells things were much better but it was slow progress lower down. I
know next time skis will be used.
Finnish Lapland is a bushcraft paradise
and experiencing it in winter conditions is challenging but not
uncomfortable if done right. However it is in the process of being in an
environment when things are not so easy that make a return trip even the
more earned. For seeing a landscape only in one season is like reading
half a book and in Lapland there are 8 seasons, so much more detail to
be felt and witnessed. The chances of adventure seem limitless.
The flora was fascinating, with the
highlight being a chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) in the wild. Sadly
way out of reach atop a birch. This most enigmatic mushroom is one of
the reasons I will return to seek out another specimen. I also spotted
Fomes fomentarius commonly called horses hoof fungus on another birch.
These trees this far north have visibly thicker bark and plentiful
shedding layers that just beg to be collected and put to use lighting
your fire. It is not only birch in these forests with pine needle tea
making a great wood person's drink, but late March is not necessarily
the best season to harvest as there are no young tips as of yet. It is
amazing what you can encounter snowshoeing in Finnish Lapland.
Moving through the forest here the birches start to get shorter and more
curly in appearance as they grow almost horizontally to protect from the
harsh conditions that start higher up. It all gives way to barren fell,
made all the more bleak with its winter cloak. On a summit of one of
these fells one can see into the heart of a great expanse of wilderness,
one that is full of nature. What better way to get down again than by
snowshoeing. It can be fun, when the conditions are just right on a
descent you can run down the slope with each step cushioned by the
powder. Snowshoeing in Finnish Lapland is what it's all about.
Lapland is also home to inherent risk
without the correct equipment and experience one can quickly become
unstuck. A low of -20°C along with full white out conditions were two of
the most memorable moments.
I think being outdoors with an open mind and no expectations are a good
blend. Nature can force you to change plans on the spot so being
flexible both in body and mind is vital for happiness on the trail. I
mentioned this unspoken wish to witness one of the most magical sights,
the aurora. I was lucky enough to get a viewing. First very faint and
partially obscured by cloud and then fading away into nothing. Was that
Two days later on a clear night in the
distance came a cloud but one shifting and made of green light. Moving
across the sky it traveled to right above us with a shade of blue, green
and purple. I cannot wait to go back snowshoeing in Finnish