Author: Hanno Meier
Pictures: Hanno Meier

Action in the Arctic Circle

Three days of adventure in Finland: Never in her wildest dreams did Anna, a detective chief inspector, think she’d win the prize draw for the trip. Yet, the husky trail, canoe trip and horse riding excursion became more than just reality – they turned into unforgettable moments. 

“My gaze wandered across the advertisement in the bottom right, and the words ‘Nordic experience’ caught my eye. Then I looked at the lake landscape in the background and read the word ‘Finland’. I’d never seen it before, but I really wanted to go there in real life. I didn’t know Scandinavia at all, but I’d heard a lot of good things about the landscapes. I was a little excited and telling myself to stay calm. There wasn’t much chance of winning, and anyway, winning isn’t exactly my forte – except for the €5 ‘jackpot’ I won in the lottery last week. But nothing ventured, nothing gained!”  

Anna, a 28-year-old detective chief inspector, certainly wasn’t expecting it – but she won three days of action and adventure in Lapland together with her friend Judith. Anna and Judith had imagined the start of their trip somewhat differently. They had three adventure-packed days ahead of them, 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle – including a husky trail, a visit to a reindeer farm, a canoe trip, horse riding in the midnight sun and white water rafting – and all without luggage? Maybe it got stuck right at the beginning at the Düsseldorf Airport, or when changing planes in Helsinki, or perhaps during the layover at Ivalo, the northernmost point in their journey. To this day, it remains a mystery that only detective intuition could solve. Anna, a detective chief inspector from Mettmann, and her 25-year-old friend Judith from Wuppertal, who had just passed her state law exams, took the mishap in good humor. Luggage is “just a burden” anyway, they said, and Lapland doesn’t just unveil its pure forests, nature and allure to those who are visiting Scandinavia for the first time.

“As soon as they realize they’re allowed out, we won’t be able to control them,” warned Marco, with a mischievous, full-belly laugh. Nothing amuses the Finnish husky guide more than the looks from astonished visitors when his dogs are released. The run-off area around the dog kennels is maybe 60 by 70 meters. Odaöna, Nemesis and Daisy race one lap after another at full speed, occasionally bounding joyfully towards the visitors, only to immediately continue their rampage. Marco tends to over 70 huskies here in Torassieppi. “Of course” he knows each one by name.  

The dogs have safety ropes, like those used for alpine climbing, stretched across their hips and loins. Huskies are born to run – and, at the time, the only thing holding them back were Marco, Anna, and Judith. Using a normal dog leash on these lively four-legged creatures would be like using silk thread as a water skiing rope. It takes half an hour for the tension on the guide ropes to ease. “We’re just now starting their winter training,” said Marco, almost apologetically. “The huskies don’t have that much stamina yet.” “Not a problem for us,” Judith’s facial expression seemed to reply. 

The trek through Lapland’s sparse forests took half a day, and was – quite literally – beastly fun. Blueberry bushes brushed against their calves, while rocks overgrown with lichen formed an otherworldly landscape. A small lake immediately revived the huskies’ spirits. Suddenly, a white reindeer crossed the path. Anna remarked that it was “the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen” – even after the later visit to the reindeer farm.  

On this first day, which is still far from over, their packed lunch tasted incredible. The weather app reported sunrise at 2:36 am and sunset at 12 minutes past midnight. At that time of year in Lapland, it never truly gets dark – so we had to take advantage of the day outside as long as our feet will carry us. “Sports, animals, and pristine nature – count me in. I love adventure and trying out new things. Couch potato? No way!” as wrote Anna in her application. All this combined? That’s still to come. Read more in the next part. 

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