Woke this morning to a beautiful white wonderland, and this kids couldn’t wait to bundle and head out to play. While I cleaned up breakfast Avi came running that I must see something! A snow rainbow! Over the camper, too. It was the sign of a good day. Zoe made 100 snow angels in the pristine powder.
A short hike from the camper brought us along an old gold panning route to see an old mine shaft – and lots of reindeer tracks, which were more exciting.
Our driving goal today was the Sami village of Inari, and the scenery changes along the way. There are way more open bald mountains (fens)- a huge one we drove over- and lots of lakes and rivers up here. It seemed around every corner there was another lake view or herds of reindeer. We explored a few lake access roads for the fun and potential camping spots along the way and found a wonderful place that is really just a glorified rest stop tucked back away from the road between two lakes. It’s perfect!
We were excited to get back to the campsite, but first took in the Sami Heritage museum called Siita in Inari. It was great: history, reindeer herding culture, and also natural forest information. We learned about the berries we’ve been seeing – bilberries, and about reindeer antlers, and all about lemmings. Zoe saw one on our first hike! She thought it was a weird mouse, but now we have a good ID.
There is a large outdoor part to the museum, as well, with traditional nomadic summer dwellings set up and a good number of winter log cabins. There were also lots of small outbuildings for storage and smoke houses, plus traditional wooden animal traps, and even a gold prospectors hut and sluice.
We popped into a souvenir shop on the way out of town for some memories. Avi got a wooden reindeer keychain, and Zoe bought a mood ring that she is now obsessed with analyzing and showing us how quickly it changes.
This evening we pulled into our awesome campsite around 4pm during the super long twilight and the kids played until it was dark. There is a small shallow lake we are beside that has solid ice they could walk on a bit out to a tiny island they are calling their clubhouse. There is a rocky portion as well where they can pick up large slabs of ice from on the water between boulders, and here is where Avi accidentally slid down boots-into one of the freezing water puddles between the rocks. He screamed!! I had gone over and over about being careful and how frozen toes could lead to frostbite that he was more afraid of frozen feet than anything.
We used it as our opportunity to come in for the night and get some dinner. Rice and veg and meatballs.
They did some schoolwork after that and Zoe, who has been so stress free this trip, recalled her apprehension about moving to a public school back in Spain. It’s trying for us both. I can see such a mood change when it comes up: earlier she was so happy and carefree telling me about her plans to visit all seven continents. She was also happy to help Avi with his work again and wants to teach him all the time. We stayed up a bit watching the dark clear sky out of the skylight for some aurora, but haven’t seen any yet. I will get up in the middle of the night a few times to check again, my sore throat had gotten better a few days but took a turn for the worse this evening. I’m bummed it hurts so bad and we haven’t seen the aurora yet. This seems to be our best opportunity with clear skies and being so very far north. Fingers crossed!