Far North: Wilderness

Part 3 of the Far North Travelogue. Which continued after conquering the Ice Hotel.

Been anticipating this, dog sledging, snow mobile riding, cross-country skiing and staying in harsh winter's wilderness cabin. Although a bit expensive, but it was really once-in-a-lifetime experience, who will think of going so far into that cold hell in winter anyway? The summer is really beautiful, from what I saw in the pictures.

The group of six, 5 Malaysians and a Japanese.

So what I did first? After Henrik fetched us to his "base" which it seems he could pull out tricks of getting everyone a pair of winter boots and winter clothing. Here came my first Cold Hell Survival Tip, wear a pair of boots that is bigger than your feet. Run around, the air that is trapped between your soles, toes and the wall of the shoes, get heated and keep you warm. The artic light was glowing beautifully in the distance horizon while we were running like some lunatics, just to shake the cold off.

Getting impatient, finally Henrik the old called upon us to give us instructions. Didn't pay much attention though. My, the dogs were barking inside the boxes, before we were taught to hold on to their neck collar and dragged them to their post, ready for their day's only 2 hours activity. Of course they got hyped up and couldn't stop barking, crying and shitting, pissing all over the white snow.

After they did their job, the dogs curled up in their nest. I wondered, weren't they afraid of cold? Henrik threw the dog food like feeding chicken. They were so skinny, as if getting some mistreat... Blame us, the tourists.

Besides, we did snow mobile too... yay at least driving a different kind of motor despite we were not allowed to speed.

Later we went up onto a hill and oh, this was where we were going to spend a night in! Interesting!!

When the night falls, we went for cross country skiing, not the conventional type of skiing, on the frozen river and its bank. Kinda boring, the only excitement, the small hill where the wooden huts were, down to the river bank. Despite no artificial light, I could see the surrounding clearly, thanks to the full moon. I never knew full moon is so magical and faint though, the entire northern landscape was lit up. Galaxies could be seen up on the sky, clear and each star was so bright. Many of us did hope for the dancing lights to appear especially in this clear sky but the sky was as still as the night. Rumours had it that someone from the same tour saw the white wolf wandering around the cabins and we were warned to be extra cautious of surrounding.

Cross-country skiing, have you tried?

It was well past midnight, and we went for the sauna, which was heated by the wood chopped by us, by our hands. Nothing so special except we could go out to roll on the snow naked after getting all sweaty. Actually I didn't do that, the most daring move by me was just out to the cold to scoop up snows and carried into the sauna room so that the ice could be melted to warm water by the heat and we could bath.

That was the misty river which we had drink the water from, refreshingly cool and sweet water, although I did not know whether the water was clean enough to be consumed. We drilled a hole on the ground, scooped up the water from below.

As for meals, Henrik's chef, which me, no, everyone thought that he was a bastard that harass the girls sexually. Some people might say that this is normal to Europeans, but I did not think it was to this extent! I was suppose to talk about reindeer. Well the chef made us food, which he admitted that he got most of the groceries from ICA. Luckily some exoticness still could be tasted, the reindeer meat! They had some reindeers right outside their wooden huts so I wonder those animal were for display or they will be killed for food?

Did I mention ice fishing too? We drilled a hole similarly and no one was patient enough to get a catch.

See the frozen strands of hair?

There, we met so many new friends and kind of happy! Specially introduce my shooting partner of the north, Apple Ping!

This trip, which was my last Europe trip before departing back to Singapore kind of give my exchange travel experience a beautiful epilogue.

Far North 1: Northern Lights in Abisko

Far North 2: Ice Hotel

A very detailed Travelogue (Chinese) from a friend that I met in the tour, He Hua:


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