Woke up quite a few times last night to check for aurora, with no luck, and Avi joined me in the early morning to stare at Venus. He and Zoe slept in a double pull down loft while I slept in the main bed. It’s such a nice small drive camper! Everything is so well contained and easy to use for wild camping… The guy we are borrowing it from didn’t even think we would need the electric cable for hookups (which is as hooked up as possible). 

Anyway, the sun takes its time to come up and down, so we sat up and read for a while before making some oatmeal for breakfast. The light revealed a fresh dusting of snow! It is so exciting to be here for the first snow. The kids could hardly contain themselves!

  We bundled and braved the brisk morning to play a bit and then go for a hike across the river on a nice nature trail through the woods and over boardwalks through the bogs. Zoe found blueberries still frozen, and entertained herself by kicking snow off all the reindeer moss. Our goal up the trail was a bit and a spring. Finland has an extensive hut system… Some for just making a picnic fire and others for overnight. The one we found was well stocked with a nice fire pit and iron pot hook, lots of wood stocked, a day hut and a nice tiny cabin. I was so impressed with small details like a visitor log, marshmallow sticks, and benches. There is a day hut just as nice near our camper that even has an ax on a chain for chopping! Fire must be such a way of life here.

Anyway, we walked to the spring which was bubbling up in a little pool before joining the rest of the tannin-stained big water. I was getting out our bottle to fill when Avi went and dipped his gloved hand straight into the spring!!!! What?? On earth!? He couldn’t tell the surface it was so crystal clear.
That was our cue to turn around. He borrowed my glove instead and I just kept my hand in my pocket the hike back.
It was lunch time at the camper so we noshed on something, tidied up and then started driving north. There is really just one main road here: the E74 or Finnish route 4. It’s a paved two way road with an occasional been but many convenient pull off. It could easily be a small country road in the US, but I had only one car behind me the entire 260km drive north. It’s also snowy in many spots, so it’s good we have studded tires on. The drive was pleasant enough, pine trees broken up by an occasional red house with white trim, and a few villages. And lots of reindeer!!  We stopped for a snack break after a couple hours and continued on to arrive at Kiilopaa in the Saariselka region.

It was only 3:30 pm but I was feeling nervous about the low slung sun. Driving north this far north meant the sun was behind me the whole way (it was south), and now it seems near to setting. Well, I decided to try our hike to the top of a big fen anyway, figuring we could stop just after we breached the tree line. So we set off up the trail ad kids had a blast; there is way more snow here plus a boardwalk over the squishy ground (in summer).

 We made it to a great viewpoint (pic above) and I suggested we turn back, but Avi would have none of it. He was determine to reach the top of the Kiilopaa fen; we could see the board trail and stairway up to its top. I knew it was only 2km from the car park So I agreed to go until the sun was gone.  He was so motivated! He ran and we counted down as we passed the rest benches. Zoe wasn’t into it, so she just walked slowly behind. We could see for miles and miles, and when we finally reached the top the sun had just sunk below the horizon. I knew it would be be a long twilight again. Zoe even came up to the peak before we turned around and nearly ran the whole way to the camper. It was still pretty light out at 4:30.

I had a couple places -parking trail heads -in mind for the evening, but the first one was not very private right along the main road. So we continued to another and found it suitable. Not as awesome as last night, but good for a sleep. There is even a sign where campers should be and no one else around.
It got dark soon after I parked and put the windshield cover on. The kids worked on school work while I heated soup for dinner. Zoe had fun being Avi’s teacher.

We’ve at least made it to 7:30pm. Hoping for aurora tonight, though the moon is so very bright.

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