Day 8 - Snowshoe hiking and It's good bye Yllas
Trip Start Mar 09, 2008
7Trip End Mar 16, 2008
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The forest has shaped Finnish lifestyle and the Finns hold the forest in high esteem due to its environmental values. The forest provide a place for shelter and tranquillity for the Finns. We saw various animal tracks as we gingerly plough through the snow and snow covered branches. How do animals survive the harsh winter in Lapland?
Now a bit more of the boring educational stuff. The Fell Lapland is situated in the temperate zone of the Arctic, on the Arctic Circle, on the side of the world where life is considered to be difficult due to the cold climate
Finland's coldest ever recorded temperature -51.5 degrees celcius (-60.7 degrees Farenheit) and this was measured in the village of Pokka in the Municipality of Kittila (where our plane landed a week ago) on the 28th January 1999. This very cold period lasted for 2 weeks! During this period the temperature in Lapland did not get warmer than -40 degrees celcius! How does people survived? They did and that's because their houses were kept warm. They did not get frostbite because they know how to dress appropriately and of course, avoid being out unnecessarily
There is no polar bears in Lapland. The largest mammals are the brown bears. These bears went into hibernation during autumn and emerging in early spring to hunt for food just as snow begins to thaw and water seeps through their dens. When the bears awake they are usually very, very hungry. They will eat anything even tree roots. Stay away.
We saw tracks made by the hares, the only mammal besides the ermine to get a white coat for the winter. The smaller tracks were made by the squirrels who like other winter animals, also has a thick winter coat. Although we did not see the tracks made by the wolverine, we were told by our guide, Matti, that the wolverine is a creature who knows how to hide in the snow and hunt for hare and the reindeer.
The majority of birds only nest in Lapland and migrate south to warmer climates, some even as far as Africa. Some birds have learnt to survive through the winter. One of these are the tits and they rely on food provided by people
We did not see any reindeer tracks during our snowshoe hike. We saw these around our log cabin a few days ago.
We proceeded to the farm, Konijankan Kotielainpiha after the hike. Admission is 5 euro per person. We saw the reindeers but I could not locate Rudolf, the rednosed reindeer. He must be with Santa and his elves. We loved the pigs and the brown piglets were adorable. They have thick coat of coarse hair. They loved their bellies stroked. As we stroked their bellies, they simply flopped onto their sides and closed their eyes. An adult pig can weigh more than 200kg.
The cows have thick coat of long brown hairs and are very friendly. They enjoyed slices of bread and their warm breath warmed your fingers as their long, moist tongue stretched to pick the bread
There is a cafe where one can purchase your hot beverages and enjoy it by the crackling log fire, a few feet from the cafe. One can barbeque sausages at the fire. Benches were lined with reindeer hides.
Finally, after a brief stop at the souvenir shop and the supermarket, it was time to leave Yllas. Would we visit Lapland again? Most definitely, yes. The appeal of Lapland is based on nature and landscapes. The most significant experience for me is plenty of snow, the tranquility, tidiness, abundance of winter activities, uniqueness and safety. Crime rate is low. The negative issues are costly services and restaurants services. By far, the majority of foreign wintertime tourists come from the United Kingdom and the numbers are growing yearly. A few have invested in properties in the Fell Lapland resorts. I would recommend a visit to the Lapland.