It wasn’t until our third day in Lapland that we actually went above the Arctic Circle. The first two days (you can find the photos from those days here and here), we just explored forested areas that were located under the Napapiiri (the Finnish word for Arctic Circle). But it was already time to start going North.

That day couldn’t have started better. It had been snowing the whole night, but we woke up in a clear day with a beautiful blue pastel sky. We stayed that night near Juuma (close to Oulanka National Park), in a lovely country house at the shore of Juumajärvi lake. During breakfast, we could see colorful birds flying around the house. It’s so surprising to find such colorful birds in a place where everything is white for months!!! (I took a few photos of those birds, but the quality is too bit low to post them here) After that, we decided to explore the surroundings of the house and the lake with the beautiful morning light. The lake, even if it was frozen, looked so beautiful with the trees covered in fresh snow and their long shadows spreading over the lake…

Following the tips of our helpful host, our first stop of the day was Riisitunturi Natural Park. I’m so happy she recommended us this place. Riisitunturi is located on a mountainous terrain or tunturi (the word used in Finnish Lapland for high and barren terrain), which gives the park a great view of the surrounding forests and lakes. It’s a very humid area, and the few trees that cover the summits of the hills are covered with a thick coating of condensed frost, creating a incredibly beautiful forest of “sugar covered” trees. Here it wasn’t as silent and quiet as the previous days. A strong wind was blowing, dragging with it snow powder that created beautiful patterns on the ground. And the snow on the ground was so fresh and deep that the trail was almost gone and it wasn’t easy to walk, even with snowshoes. But the views were so beautiful and unique that we didn’t mind the challenge.

After hiking in Riisitunturi, we headed to our next destination, the Pyhä-Lousto National Park. Here we found a very different landscape. There are a few mountains or tunturi and two small ski resorts. But there are also a few winter trails, so we took again hour snowshoes and hiked in this area. After walking through an ancient boreal forest, we found a wetland, all covered in snow, of course. The landscape was so different to what we had already seen in Lapland. The terrain was completely plain, the trees thin and long and sparse, and the low sun and golden light were creating beautiful long shadows on the snow. The view was gorgeous, but I confess that this was one of the most difficult landscapes I’ve ever photographed!

Our day ended in Lousto. When we arrived at our hotel, the receptionist gave us a mobile phone. “If the Northern lights appear tonight, we’ll send you a SMS”. That was a very nice touch! This was the first clear night during our Lapland trip, so I was very excited!! I’ve been dreaming with seeing the Northern lights for so many years!!! I had downloaded three different apps, and I checked other three websites to check the aurora forecast… Unfortunately, the forecast wasn’t good for that night and the SMS never arrived… So, a bit frustrated, we went to bed thinking that maybe the day I was going to meet “Lady Aurora” was the next day…

I won’t say for now if I saw the Northern lights during this trip… You’ll have to read the next posts about Lapland! But here are some of the photos I took that day. I hope you like them!

Friendy Friday Photo Challenge: Mood


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