After lunch I take Hels out onto the lake to show her how to draw water, then Erkki arrives with a chainsaw and chops up some logs for the wood store… looks like we will need to chop them further with the axe later as they are too wide for the stove in the cabin and some will need chopping further for kindling. Erkki then gives us a lift home and we cook a nice chili before retiring to bed, looking forward to our first day off.
Saturday 11th – Temp -28! Wow a lovely cold day and as soon as it is light and after a good breakfast we set off with all our warm kit on for a hike up the river trail as we have been told there is a hill,Otsamo, about 9km away that is a great view point. The first bit is through the village to the river then along a trail that has been marked by a skidoo. After about 3km of following this undulating trail along the river and through the forest we cross the river on a suspension footbridge. Where the river is narrow it hasn’t frozen over and as it cuts through the ice steam rises off the water in the frigid air.
Once on the other side the trail is not so well maintained and the recent snows mean we are walking through about 5 inches of soft snow, occasionally our feet break through the crust and we sink deeper making it hard going. As the day wears on we start thinking that we might not get to the hill and back in daylight and with such low temperatures it’s stupid to attempt it. So after consulting the map we decide to take a trail a little further ahead back to the river then back to Inari. Well, once we leave the Otsamo trail the snow gets so much deeper and we were soon up to our knees and sometimes mid thigh ploughing through the snow, fortunately there are blue marker posts at regular intervals so we hope not to get lost.
Shortly, having consulted our map and GPS we know we are coming to the river crossing… ahhh, it’s not a bridge but a 500 meter wide expanse of frozen ice with about a foot of snow on top. We remember reading in a guide book that the river crossings should be open mid Feb for ski traffic… but we decide to press on. Daz has a moment of panic as he hears a hollow boom, but Hels eggs him on (she follows behind the heavyweight at a safe distance!) and with his heart in his mouth he leads the way across the frozen expanse safely to the other side!
It’s now getting colder and we are both feeling the exertion of the day so decide to walk the last 3 km back to Inari along the road that is a few hundred metres away through the forest. We eventually make it back to the village looking like Shackleton and his gang, ice hanging off facial hair and eyelashes! Back in the apartment we see it has dropped to minus 31and Daz’s nose has just turned white, fortunately no frostnip has set in!
But we have had an amazing walk and seen some beautiful scenery and hopefully next time we will make it to the top of the hill as we will be able to set out earlier and the daylight hours will be increasing