I’d been promising Enni a camping trip for months. As usual, things had conspired against me delivering on my promise; too hot weather, too cold weather, flu, school… There always seemed to be a reason. Then, out of the blue, in mid October the weather turned all Indian summer on us. Coinciding as it did with the Autumn holidays, I couldn’t put it off any longer.
It's been fifteen months since my last backpacking trip, or, indeed, a single night spent outdoors. Plenty of time has been spent outdoors, though most if it was in the saddle or tethered to an ageing and increasingly blind dog. And certainly, it has been an incredibly active year – I can't think of a moment when it would have been possible to sneak off for a night, and on the few occasions where I had hatched a plan, a cold or other illness would magically appear to put an end to it.
So, what has happened?
With the arctic winter fully behind us under the assault of an alarmingly tropical spring, I see a break in the calendar and hatch a cunning plan for a weekend overnighter and the chance to revisit an area I've not been to for over ten years: Korouoma Nature Reserve – a canyon cutting a diagonal slice through Lapland about 100km from my home in Rovaniemi.
It's time for change at Backpacking North! This year's spring cleaning clears out the entire fleet of Alpacka Packrafts and a few other special packrafty items. Now's your chance to get a floating bargain and take your adventures to new places.
Rovaniemi, located on the Arctic Circle, is very much the beating heart of Lapland. As the capital city of the region it forms a central hub from which the rest of Lapland and the larger Barents region can be easily accessed.
With the third busiest airport in Finland, the second-to-last Northern stop on the train network, and its location on the E8 highway, Rovaniemi is easy to reach from other destinations, and is a frequent stopping-off point for people travelling further North.
But positioned as it is at the point where the Lapland Fells begins to rise from the surrounding plains, there are plenty of outdoor activities to explore and relish in Rovaniemi — so many in fact that a comprehensive guide would be impossible in the space of a blog post. What follows, therefore, is a “best of” list of activities and places to visit if you happen to find yourself in town for a short visit or the long haul.