Thursday, February 08, 2007

I want to see the bright lights tonight

Two activities were booked today, the morning one being a snowshoe hike up Mount Puimonen from whence we could look over the region surrounding the Ice Hotel. We were offered the chance to abseil down from the point for (a mere) 14m. I volunteered to be the first down, which was a major undertaking for a vertigo-sufferer like myself. Our guide, Pia was very patient and I found myself leaning out over the cliff edge and walking backwards down its face. Once everyone was done, we alternately walked and slid on our backs on the snow trails leading back to the main road.

We walked into Jukkasjärvi again to look at the old church there. Built in 1608, it's the oldest wooden chapel in Lapland. When the sun returns the Ice Hotel to the River Torne over summer, it's a popular choice for weddings.

We napped through the afternoon, and then assembled with 35 others for the evening's

snowmobile excursion to view the Aurora Borealis away from the town's light pollution. Setting off into the night on a chain of snowmobiles, we came to a stop somewhere north west of the hotel.

There was a faint glimmer of aurora activity stretching east to west, which grew in intensity and then we were able to watch multiple bands of coloured lights to the north and reaching across our heads. I was only able to catch hints if this on my camera (above) as I couldn't set aperture times but Chris got some excellent shots of green curtains writhing in the chilly night sky.

After that we continued on to some cabins where our guides prepared us a meal of salmon sandwiches, moose soup, cake and the obligatory warm lingonberry juice.

Luckily the return journey was shorter than the outward leg, as riding a snowmobile at night is rather boring without decent visibility. Even taking turns at the throttle, the nocturnal snowmobile journey just didn't hold a candle to the previous day's dog-sledding.

No comments:

Post a Comment