Snowshoe in the wilderness under the Northern Lights
Escape to the Finnish wilderness. Spend the week snowshoeing through the Oulanka National Park. Your local guide will lead you through this beautiful landscape allowing you to explore the amazing Finnish Taiga. For the most part, you will stay in a traditional old logging lodge in the middle of nowhere next to the Oulanka River. Away from the hustle and bustle and with no light pollution it is the perfect spot to look out for the Aurora Borealis in the evenings. Two of the nights will be spent near the Russian Border in a remote former hunting cabin. In the evenings you will enjoy authentic local cuisine and will have time to relax in the sauna, a must when visiting Finland!
All breakfasts, 6 lunches (depending on flight times) and 7 dinners included. The food provided covers a variety of traditional Finnish dishes going back 50 years using recipes from forestry camps. Breakfast will be continental, with bread, cheese, cold meats, porridge, muesli and yoghurt available. Lunch will consist of warm soup, bread, cheeses, sausages, hot tea and biscuits. In the evening dinner will consist of traditional meat and fish dishes with vegetables and dessert. A vegetarian option also available, though there may be less variety.
Start at Basecamp Oulanka, our main base in Oulanka National Park, for the first briefing and to visit the kit room to collect all the clothing needed for a week of snowshoeing in arctic conditions. Depending on the arrival time we may have dinner or a light snack here or later when we arrive at the Logging Lodge in Oulanka National Park. Lunch is included for clients booked on the group flights on weeks where the inbound flight time is later.
Our first morning is spent with an introduction to snowshoeing. You will be taught the technique of snowshoeing and how to use the poles appropriately. We spend the day not far from the Logging Lodge and the River Oulanka as we get a feel for snowshoeing. Lunch today is taken back at the Logging Lodge. In the afternoon we get an introduction from the leader about bushcraft skills and an insight into the skills needed to survive the arctic wilderness. This is an interesting look at the knowledge the locals take for granted. We will also learn how to heat the sauna where we will be able to relax in each evening. This evening, we are given dry sacks to fill with the belongings we’ll need for the next two nights. These are then packed onto the trailer and taken by snowscooter to our destination in the morning. After preparing for the next day we will venture out for a short snowshoe walk in search of the Northern Lights.
Today we set off east towards the Russian border zone. The goal is to reach the log cabin known as the ‘Russian End’, on the banks of the Oulanka River, close to the border. After the morning briefing, we head into the forest of the Oulanka National Park, on many occasions following the tracks left by the Reindeer. After a snack and hot drink around an open fire we continue along the boundary of the forest where our guide explains the different tracks left in the snow, taking time to observe the woodpeckers, Siberian jays and if we are lucky capercaillie before heading on to our cosy home for the next two nights. The total distance is around 11km and we aim to arrive by mid-afternoon depending on conditions. Those that wish can accompany our leader down to the river to collect some ice which we’ll use for a well-deserved sauna or undertake further snowshoeing if there is time. This location has no light pollution so there is a fantastic chance in the evening of seeing the Northern Lights in all their glory if the conditions are right
After a night in splendid isolation, we awake to a warm breakfast and prepare for our day tour. Snowshoeing south the route takes us first across the river and uses some forest roads. Skirting the border the trail leads us to the beautiful viewpoint which overlooks Lake Paanajärvi on the Russian side, a wonderful spot from which to admire the natural surroundings. The forested area is inhabited by Elk so there is a high chance of seeing one. In the evening we can relax in the traditional Finnish sauna and head out to the frozen river for an amazing view of the night sky.
Today we pack up our kit for the return journey to the Logging Lodge then head out on our snowshoes. We pass a reindeer herder's pen where we will stop and look for the reindeer which wander freely in the area before following forested trails close to the Oulanka river stopping for a hot drink and snack break. Once back at the Logging Lodge there is a free afternoon for relaxing in the sauna. Extra snowshoeing opportunities may be available if we arrive ahead of schedule. The total time this route takes can vary greatly according to conditions and group proficiency.
Today is our last day of snowshoeing as we head north along the Oulanka River. As we go we will admire this beautiful landscape where we can see landforms created during the Glacial Period, 10,000 years ago. We have lunch along the way as we spend the day exploring the Finnish Taiga.
Free day. There are a variety of optional activities on offer today (subject to minimum numbers and availability) including the new and increasingly popular winter activity – fat biking; explore the winter wonderland with specially made bicycles with ultrawide tires that can run easily on the snow at very low pressure. Alternatively, we can transfer to Basecamp Oulanka and pick from a number of activities (listed further down the trip notes). From Basecamp a day trip to Ruka can be organised if you wish to try your hand at snowmobiling or downhill skiing. We then head back to the Logging Lodge in time for a final sauna. Dinner tonight is taken outside around an open fire.
The trip will end at the Logging Lodge.
* Return flight from either Gatwick or Heathrow to Kuusamo, airport transfers (for group flight only) * All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners * All Arctic winter clothing and equipment
Fantastic holiday with stunning Narnia scenery. So beautiful! Great week of fairly easy snoeshowing with lovely people and a great guide. Food was good, although fruit a little sparse. Accommodation was good , except due the exceptionally cold weather (-30’s), an extra warm jumper required for the evening. Would love to go back!
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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