Making a camp fire:
If you plan trekking, skiing or motor sledging trip into Lapland ('Lappi' in Finnish), the fire is the best friend of you.
In warmer countries, like in Borneo, the nature might surprise you with an occasional rain. You will just get a little bit wet and that is all. But in Lappi - and similar nature zones - you will be wet and *cold* with rain and wind. Off the beaten track, without fire and dry clothes the situation can change dramatically in just two or three minutes and there might be quite long a way to call help.
I will not repeate the mythological history how human beings got the fire from the Greekian Gods; I just give some hints how to get campfire in Lappi and also in other countries in this nature zone (Sweden etc.)
In Lappi, there are two main natural and very helpful resources to putting up a camp fire.
First (image 1) is a skin ('tuohi' in Finnish) of a birch ('koivu' in Finnish). Avoid to strip off a living birch, instead use the fallen and dead skin of a birch instead. The skin of the live birch is inside wet.
Second options is a snag (image 2), which is not so common in other countries outside of Scandinavia. Snag ('kelo' in Finnish) can stand still - like in image 2 - but mostly they are on the ground. Kelos are dead trees, which are basically quite dry and consist tar, and a fire loves to gorge tar.
Tuohis and kelos can be also wet. So, if you are *really* off the beaten track, try to carry some tuohi and minor chopped branches of kelo always with you. For one good fire, you need maybe tuohi similar to area of palm of the hand and one 10 centimeter piece of minor branch from kelo, which can be sliced later. The weight of the overall is just some hundred grams but it is really worth of it. Tuohi or kelo materials are not branded yet and you can not find them from the shops of northern Finland. Just pick them up when wandering (see the images for recognizing).
And remember to buy some fire bricks ('sytytyspala' in Finnish) before trekking.
We had made resrevations for Kilpisjärven Matkailuhotelli for the night 10-11.4, but before that we decided to visit Halti mountain (1328m) already on Saturday the 10th, because of great weather.
The picture is from Puolitesoaivvi just before Kilpisjärvi, everything was all white, just snow everywhere...
The total amount of kilometers that week for me was 1500km, the longest day was 360km (10th of April). If you plan to visit Lapland by snowmobile, make sure you have enough gas, suitable clothes, permissions and some kind of phone (the GSM-net is quite weak in the 'outback'). Watch out for reindeer!
The scenery is awesome, Kilpisjärvi region is very rough, but its worth the effort. In the 'arm' of Finland you really feel that you're a very tiny man, the nature, scenery and especailly the silence is huge!
The last picture is taken on top of the mountain, that is my friend Juha on the highest spot in Finland. In the background Norwegian mountains.
Please let me know, if have anything to ask or comment. More pictures on my website www.geocities.com/jhsiren partly in English.
PS. We also visitied the borderstone of three nations, Finland, Sweden and Norway on the same trip.
PPS. And about Ivalo, there is a watercross race on the Ivalo-river, with snowmobiles, every July. Worth visiting!
This is actually a story about our trip to the highest point in Finland, the Halti mountain in spring 1999 with snowmobiles. The trip took place 5 - 12.4 and we were 11 persons.
We rented two cabins in Hetta, Enontekiö for the week. We made a few daytrips to the Norwegian border, Levi ski resort, Muonio etc. to get us warm for the highlight, the trip to Kilpisjärvi and Halti.
This picture is from the Norwegian border in Kivilompolo, snowmobiling in Norway is much more restricted than in for ex. Finland and Sweden.
In the morning of the 10th of April we started from Hetta, first via Galdotieva, where we ate breakfast and which is the last place to get petrol before Kilpisjärvi, towards the 'Arm of Finland'. We had to take extra gas in bottles with us, just in case... The trail followed the Norwegian border to Kilpisjärvi.
We run into flocks of reindeer in many places, so you have to be very careful when riding, the speedlimit, by the way, is 60km/h on trail and 80km/h on ice.
The distance from Hetta to Kilpisjärvi is about 240km and is full of beatiful scenery.
We are crossing a river in the picture.