Lapland - Summer Hike 2012 - Sunseekers

The bus from Kittilä airport to Kilpisjärvi lurches gently from side to side. Along the clean wide road lined by the pointed pines and birch there is only the occasional side road and no power lines. Somehow the air has a clarity you don't experience very often except in these remote virgin landscapes.

I open my Sunseeker app just to see how much daylight we have at this point in our journey - interested more to see how long the days will be when we reach the top of Norway sometime later today or tomorrow morning. The map shows the sun rise at 1:37 and sets at 1:17. So we have 20 minutes of night and probably the sun just bounces off the horizon.

It was more than good fortune that our choice to fly north was today and not immediately after Stuart arrived. He had bought a great pair of boots for hiking from his local shop in Belgium, but the soft sole and low ankle meant that we had to find him something better for the seriously rough terrain we will be traversing in the coming days.

The good news was that our local shop - open on Sunday in summer - had just the right size of the same boot I had bought a month earlier - Haglöf Grym High. - a amazingly beautifully constructed synthetic boot fitted with a heat mouldable foot sole so you really don't need to wear them like a conventional boot.

Sakari tells me that he has already had some serious moments when the laces on one boot have got caught in the metal lace loops of the boot on the other foot and nearly sent him tumbling. On the street is one thing - but high up on a precipice doesn't really bear thinking about.

In Kilpisjärvi we met up with Sakari who was already booked into the local hotel and had spent the day hiking. After a meal at a local restaurant we headed back to the hotel for sauna and swim. I skipped the dip in the icy water chopping about in the bay and felt somehow happy to keep my kidneys for another day.

Tomorrow we head out earlyish - north to the Arctic ocean in Norway with a view to hitting our first campsite somewhere along the shores of Somasjärvi back on the Finnish side again.

We are intent on getting some interesting shots along the way. Norway promises some snow topped peaks if not snow itself and the mountains are bound to be spectacular. Sakari has a wonderful digital camera - a vintage model over 75 years old and held together with string and cello tape. It promises to yield some surprising results.