Photo Credit: Tate Drucker, Nathan Lemon, Hannah Hunt, Susan Manser, Kylie Brown Chenn

DAY 4: URHO KEKKONEN NATIONAL PARK

The smell of cardamom buns and Finnish pancakes wafted through our cozy lodge very early this morning, waking us for our sleep.  As the delicious buns were baking, we set off for a snowshoeing photo lesson in the bogs just outside our lodge.  We needed to prepare for the day to be spent snowshoeing through Urho National Park, one of the most famous sparks in all of Finland.

We spent about an hour outside walking through the beautiful scenery, watching the sun come up behind the clouds.  The snowshoeing experience was incredible, and we captured numerous beautiful snapshots of the park.  As our hands and feet became chilled we were more than ready to return to our lodge and indulge ourselves on sweet cardamom buns, Finnish pancakes, and breakfast potatoes.

All the trees in Lapland are stunning.  Covered in snow and weighed down, they bend and buckle at the branches – creating beautiful shapes and unique frames.  Urho National park is filled with beautiful nature as well as a variety of Arctic creatures such as reindeer, foxes, moose, owls, and winter hares.  Reindeer are everywhere here in Lapland – as many of the people’s livelihoods revolve around this big animal.

We stopped midway to light a fire and drink some hot chocolate in a small covered area along our route.  After warming our fingers and toes for a few minutes we continued on our journey through the beautiful winter wonderland, walking through an abandoned mining town to a restaurant in the middle fo the park.  It felt like something out of the movies, walking up to the restaurant door in our snowshoes and quickly rushing into the fire to wark our hands and rosy cheeks.  We splurged on some rbead cheese with cloudberries and waffles and ice cream (two speciality foods here in Finland.)  The restaurant was cosy and warm so we were very content.

The evening once atian was filled with searching for the Northern Lights, which we saw for the first time tonight!  The lights were fain but beautiful.  The blue and green speckles, streaking through the sky are something that not many people get to see…

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