There’s something about snow that brings out your inner child. In winter, Arctic Finland certainly has plenty of it. BaseCamp Oulanka, Kuusamo, Finland is situated approximately 13 kilometres (8 miles) from the Russian border and is as remote as you can be. With no light pollution to spoil the sky, chances are you might even glimpse the Northern Lights. There’s many adventures to be had here so get your winter gear on and head to Santa’s playground.
Enjoy the warmth of a stay in the Finnish wilderness
Take a stroll in this wilderness; it’s remote, wild and, especially in winter, as close as one can get to feeling totally isolated. With such friendly staff on hand and a communal dining area, you need not feel completely alone. Temperatures here often dip well below freezing, but when you return to the log cabins buried deep in the Finnish wilderness, you realise that things couldn’t get more perfect.
Put your survival skills to the test
Following an itinerary that caters for all fitness levels, it can be as adventurous as you choose. From the sedate snowshoe walks and cross-country skiing to ice-climbing, husky sledding, snowmobiling and a ride on a reindeer sleigh. Other activities are also offered, such as a skills-based afternoon that includes building your own quinzee. A quinzee is essentially a hand built shelter used for emergencies if lost in the wilderness. It is built by piling up snow to an average height of around 2 meters (6.5 feet) and compacting it so that the ice crystals bond. This is then hollowed out with the entrance lower than the point where you sleep in order to maintain a constant internal temperature of around freezing or just above. It’s kind of like building a really big snowman and then hollowing it out. The structure itself can take quite some time to construct, but if you are feeling really brave you can choose to sleep the night in one, where it’s even possible to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis (or the Northern Lights as they are more generally known). Persistence is key if you want to glimpse the Northern Lights. Oulanka is so perfectly placed that light pollution is minimal and the night sky becomes a blank canvas peppered with stars blinking against a near perfect black sky. Standing on the shores of Lake Juuma if you cast your eyes skyward, you might just see them.
You need not worry if you are not a seasoned arctic traveller as kit is available. It’s difficult to prepare for the kind of temperatures expected in this part of the arctic circle so you are supplied with every piece of equipment you might need, including gloves, hat and boots. At first this might seem a little overkill but it soon becomes clear that this ‘uniform’ has a purpose aside from making you look like an army of smurfs standing out from the dazzling white snow, it provides everything you need to feel snug when out in the Arctic chill.
Going local with the food
On an active break such as this it’s amazing how many calories you burn and the food is always warming and hearty. Breakfast consists of typical Finnish food including locally sourced cloudberry and lingonberry. Dinner includes local meats such as Elk and salmon but they do also cater for special diets on request. Even the bar serves Finnish drinks.
Lap up the adventure in arctic Finland
You don’t have to be planning a Christmas trip in search of Santa or thinking about Rudolph when you plan a visit to Finland. It’s a perfect destination all year round and even though it gets really cold in the winter, what better excuse than to become a child again and make snow angels in the snow. Exodus runs a Finnish wilderness week tour, with a stay at Basecamp Oulanka. So why not leave the hard bit to them and enjoy the ride.
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