So last night we went to a log hut out in the wild woods beside a frozen lake and ate salmon cooked over an open fire. It was magical.
The salmon was in the form of huge steaks which were staked out onto wooden boards and arrayed around the open wood fire. It smelled delicious cooking and tasted devine. While it was cooking we practiced diving onto deep snow and drank hot berry juice from wooden cups made by the local Saami people. It was about this point the boys fell asleep at the table, it being about ten pm by then.
Luckily they didn’t miss any Aurora by falling asleep because the thick cloud cover denied us any view of the skies. We had to content ourselves with looking out over the frozen lake while snow fell gently down.
Our way home was made more interesting when we came upon a local car that had skidded off the icy road and our bus ended up pulling it out of the ditch. The incredibly matter-of-fact way the locals dealt with this made it quote clear that it was anything but an unusual occurrence.
The late night meant that for the first time this holiday we all slept until almost 8am. After breakfast we kitted ourselves out with skis and set out to ski the 4km from our hotel into Saariselka. It was great just being able to set out from the front door of the hotel and ski to somewhere useful. We all found skiing the deeply cut tram-tracks of a proper cross-country ski trail much easier than our effort in Estonia. In Saariselka we had a hot chocolate to recover and then split up. Jennifer and Declan went to get him a new set of ski overalls as the zip had broken on his originals while Callum and I skied back to the hotel. On the way back Cal and I found our rhythm and made really good time. By the time we got back to the hotel though the brief period of twilight at noon had passed and we were skiing under lights.
The afternoon we went for a sauna again. This time I’d planned ahead and the boys had agreed to make the run out to the snow. So we got nice and hot and then raced out; Callum and I threw ourselves into the snow and rolled about. Declan felt his feet getting cold and baulked. Not to worry though, 20 minutes later they went out again and this time Dec got the full experience.
After dinner this evening we went snow-shoeing in the nearby national park. The low clouds and reflected light from Saariselka meant that it was surprisingly light. The snowshoes made even the deepest snow navigable, although still quite tiring to deal with. Declan followed the more Finnishly-insane of our two guides through every bit of deep snow he could find and eneded up thoroughly covered in snow. Just to top it of he showed off the snow-falling skills we had learnt last night.
A great day all round, but still no sign of the Aurora. Tomorrow we’re told is likely to be better.