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Clare
Clare

Day 7: Saariselkä

We had a bit of drama when we woke up this morning to a strange beeping noise in our apartment. We quickly realised it was coming from the kitchen smoke alarm, which was emitting a high-pitched noise every 30 seconds or so. It sounded like the battery needed changing, but unfortunately the alarm was mounted about 2.5m up the wall and there was nothing we could do to reach it. After breakfast, we walked round to the offices of the rental company to see whether we could get someone to come and change the battery for us. The offices were empty but Tim rang the number on the door and the owner promised to come and sort it out. Phew! It actually turned out to be useful because we owed €10 each for our bedding, which we needed to pay before the end of the week, so when the guy came round in the afternoon to sort the battery we were able to pay him for that as well :)

We went back to the apartment to pick up our snowshoes and set out towards the entrance to the Urho Kekkonen national park, on the edge of Saariselkä. As ever, getting ourselves strapped into the snowshoes was a bit of a challenge, but it was slightly easier than yesterday and so soon we were ready to go.

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We started by retracing some of our steps from earlier in the week, along the Aurora trail.

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I don't think we'll be seeing any aurora today, though; it's been another very cloudy day. We haven't had much luck with clear skies on this trip!

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After a while we turned off the Aurora trail onto a smaller trail which was specifically for snowshoeing.

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There were two options; a short 3 km loop or a longer 6.8 km one. We decided to go with the shorter loop today.

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There was lots of snow everywhere, though the path was quite well compacted. We saw a handful of people who were managing to walk on it without snowshoes.

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The national park is beautiful but it's not very flat, so although we were only doing a short walk it did involve a lot of up and downhill.

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It looks like it might be quite rocky here underneath all the snow; we could see rocks poking out of it at times.

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The path took us downhill from Saariselkä to the bottom of a little valley with a frozen stream, then up the opposite side. So in the picture below we were looking across towards a bench on the opposite side of the valley, where we'd been a few minutes earlier.

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The uphill was tiring...

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...but the downhill was actually worse.

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Even with snowshoes and two poles, I was not terribly impressed by the idea of climbing down this particularly steep slope!

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But I got there in the end, and that was the steepest part of the walk over and done with :) 

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After that the walk was a bit more gentle.

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When we got to the end of the snowshoe trail, we decided to re-do the aurora walking trail as well (which was only another 2km or so).

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That was fun and as we got towards the end of it, we realised we had a view of the summit of Kaunispää, the hill which we'd snowshoed to the top of yesterday.

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It looked really high from here :o I think if we'd have seen it from this angle and realised what we were looking at the other day, we might not have set out to climb it! But it was actually a really lovely walk yesterday :) 

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Despite the rather steep slopes, we enjoyed today's snowshoeing adventure too, so on the way home from the national park we stopped in at the equipment rental place and extended our rental for another day. Tomorrow we're going to come back and attempt to snowshoe the longer loop :) 




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