INT. APARTMENT, SOMEWHERE NEAR THE ARCTIC CIRCLE - DAY
A MAN stares out the a window, his face cast in white light.
A DOG pads into the room and rears up, resting it's paws on
the window ledge.
What you looking for?
Very funny. I'm trying to find an
angle for a blog post. Something to
make it interesting.
Maybe you should write one of those lists.
You know -- The Ten Best Backpacking
Dogs. That always brings in the punters.
Nah. Too easy. Not my style.
Make it dramatic then. Like a
A western? For a trip report in
A familiar, three-note, plaintive harmonica tune sounds from
Did you just play the Harmonica
Theme from "Once Upon a Time in the
Since when can dogs play harmonica?
You should hear my Armenian duduk.
The three-note tune echoes out again.
EXT. ROAD IN LAPLAND - DAY
A Volvo drives north along a wintry road in a scene not
unlike the opening credits from "The Shining".
SERIES OF SHOTS
- The road becomes icier
- It starts snowing
- A peculiar light transforms the landscape, turning it from
grey to eerily golden.
EXT. KIILOPÄÄ TRAILHEAD - DAY
The Volvo pulls in to a snow-covered parking area. A strange
mist hangs in the air. The weak sun seems to be trying to
warm it away, but the entire landscape is like the interior
of a freezer: cold, frosty, steaming. It's beautiful, in a
harsh and entirely unforgiving way.
The man grabs a pair of lightweight trail runners from the
boot of the Volvo. He turns them over, looking at the mesh
uppers, and shakes his head. No. Ils ne pas couper la
Moments later he's tying the laces of a pair of leather
boots. He straps on a 9.5 Kg Gossamer Gear Mariposa backpack,
and heads off along a trail, his feet crunching in the snow,
hand shielding his eyes against the bright white light as he
walks toward the sun.
The man -- let's call him a HIKER now, because that's what he
is -- vanishes into the snow white mist.
EXT. FELL TOP - DAY
All around is white. A blistering, scathingly cold wind,
attempts to shred skin from the Hiker's face.
Glimpses of hills appear and disappear through the mist.
Short trees, encrusted with snow and ice crystals, stand
alone, stoically resolute on the barren hilltop.
The Hiker stops to take it all in.
Are you sure you know where you're
The Hiker jumps, and spins around, looking for the source of
From the mist, a figure emerges. A man. He wears a long black
He's completely bald, the only thing on his head is a pair of
thick, 1970s (George Smiley, or Uncle Junior for
younger readers) glasses. Finnish readers will recognize him
immediately as Finland's former president, URHO KEKKONEN.
I am the spirit of Urho Kekkonen
Aren't you cold? Shouldn't you be
wearing a hat or something?
Spirits don't freeze. It's all the
vodka. I asked you a question.
Of course I know where I'm going.
I've got a map, a compass, and a
A Dakota 20.
The battery life sucks.
Everyone's a critic. I get two days
out of it if I turn on economy
mode. What are you doing here?
You've wandered off the trail.
No, I'm taking a short cut.
But you're missing something
special. Come on, this way.
Kekkonen walks off. The Hiker reluctantly follows.
URHO KEKKONEN (CONT'D)
He points dramatically behind the hiker.
The Hiker turns around to see what the Spirit of the Park is
It's a strange, beautiful sight: a snowbow -- a rainbow made
of suspended ice crystals -- hangs in the air over a tree,
glowing a spectral white.
The Hiker stares at it in awe.
He looks around for Kekkonen, but the old man has vanished.
The wind blows.
URHO KEKKONEN (O.S.)
I'll be watching you...
EXT. WILDERNESS HUT - DAY
The Hiker splashes across a stream, and up the steps of an
old wooden log cabin -- one of the many wilderness huts scattered
throughout the park.
He looks at the fresh footprints in the snow on the steps.
Strange... like slippers. He knows he's not alone.
INT. WILDERNESS HUT - DAY
The Hiker enters the warm hut to find a couple in their 50s
eating their dinner: potatoes and meatballs. We'll call them
TUOMAS and ELLA -- not their real names, but the Hiker has a
They exchange pleasantries as the Hiker sets his pack down.
How long have you been out?
Nine days. We've been over to
The Hiker eyes their large, external frame packs.
We've been taking it slow. We're
too old these days to do long
What about you?
Just three days. I wanted to do the
big loop but the snow is making
it harder going.
Yes, there's 20 centimetres on
Yeah, I might have to skip that
this time and go via Tuiskukuru to
Hooh. That's a long day.
30 km. It should be okay if I start
The Hiker looks around at their things in the cabin. Big
hiking boots drying above the stove. A tupperware box with a
slab of butter. Another tupperware box with two pewter shot
How much are you carrying, just out
I started with 27 kg. It's okay for
9 days. We're staying in huts so we
don't have to carry a tent, which
would add another 4 kg.
The Hiker nods, but doesn't say anything. Remember, he thinks
to himself, it's just backpacking. Each to his own.
As the night draws in, the Hiker decides to enjoy their company
and stay in the hut for the night. He unnecessarily tries to
justify the decision to himself:
Why not? The huts are here. They're
not even carrying a tent. I could
have saved another kilogram or two
if I'd left my 'Mid, bivy, winter
pad and all that additional
insulation behind. Stupid of me,
The Hiker lies back, and pulls his quilt over him. The
FIREPLACE CRACKLES in the corner, throwing flickering amber
light across his face.
EXT. WILDERNESS - DAY
SEQUENCE OF SHOTS
-- The Hiker walks quickly through the forest.
-- He crosses a bridge over a stream.
-- Then stops to photograph an iced-up stream.
-- He climbs up a ridge to the top of another fell.
-- He stops to take a drink.
You're missing all the good bits!
The Hiker turns toward the voice.
Oh, you're back.
Look over there, there's a good
The hiker looks over Kekkonen's shoulder, and sees two almost
identical hilltops, capped in snow, one behind the other.
Cool. That must be Terävä- and Suku
Good! Well done!
They kind of look like --
I was going to say mounds of icing
sugar, but sure, whatever.
How much further is it to
What am I? Your GPS? Figure it out
for yourself. You're doing fine.
Kekkonen walks back into the dwarf birch scrub, causing snow
to fall from the branches as he disappears into the woods.
EXT. FELL SLOPE - DAY
The Hiker looks down across a valley. The trail disappears
into a small area of marshland that he'll need to traverse.
A movement catches his eye on the other side of the valley.
He takes out his camera, and zooms in to the hill opposite.
He can't believe his eyes...
It appears to be a tall man -- maybe a cowboy or a gunslinger
-- riding a jet black steed. The man wears a poncho, his head
covered by a flat hat. If he didn't know any better, he'd
have said it was a young Clint Eastwood.
But that would be ridiculous.
EXT. TUISKUKURU WILDERNESS HUT - DAY
The Hiker fills his plastic bottle with crisp, cold, fresh
water from an arctic stream. He takes a gulp, smiling as the
freezing liquid trickles down his throat.
He walks up to the steps of another hut, sits on them,
and takes off his pack for a short break.
He pulls out a protein bar and munches away, admiring the
clear bright day.
EXT. TUISKUKURU GORGE - DAY
The Hiker walks along a high ridge that follows a river in
the valley below. The path winds through the pine forest,
dappled light falling in columns through the branches. The
sparse vegetation of the forest floor allows him to see deep
into the woods.
The frozen silence is suddenly broken by a THRASHING --
A large bird -- a metso -- bursts out from a hedge nearby,
flapping away, annoyed.
Then two snow grouse break cover and swoop upwards.
The Hiker looks around to see what disturbed them.
From the forest, heavy footsteps, and a jangling of spurs.
A HORSE WHINNIES.
From between the trees, the jet black steed emerges, the MAN
WITH NO NAME riding on it's back.
The Man with no Name looks down at the Hiker and nods a
greeting as they slowly pass by.
The Hiker returns the greeting, nodding back. They exchange
no words. The horse and rider disappear into trees.
A three-note harmonica refrain echoes through the forest.
The Hiker isn't even surprised anymore at Kekkonen's sudden
I think so...
This is truly a magical place.
EXT. KOTAKÄNGAS RAPIDS - DAY
The hiker stops on a bridge to photograph the rapids flowing
underneath. The tracks of a fox cross the bridge -- the only
other traveller to have passed this way in days.
EXT. AITOJOKI RIVERBANK - DAY
The Hiker walks along the banks of a slow moving river. The
path takes him right to the edge of the flowing water. He
looks down and sees the river is deep -- at least two meters
of clear, cold water.
Behind him, reindeer run through the forest, their BELLS
SOUNDING A DULL METALLIC RING.
EXT. LANKOJÄRVI - DAY
The sun sets over a frozen lake. In the distance, alpenglow
lights a tree-topped fell.
The hiker ponders the best route across a stream. Some of
the rocks are coated in ice. He decides the best route is the
direct one, and splashes across, knee deep.
Om the other side he check his boots. Wet, of course, but not
It'll have to do.
EXT. LANKOJÄRVI WILDERNESS HUT - NIGHT
The Hiker arrives at another hut, his breath suspended in the
air. It's cold. The lake is frozen.
He weighs up his options: hut, or DuoMid.
With wet boots? No contest.
INT. LANKOJÄRVI WILDERNESS HUT - NIGHT
The Hiker and Urho Kekkonen sit by the stove, sipping from
kuksa's filled with Jameson's. The hikers boots hang from a
hook above the fire, dripping.
It was a good day?
Aye, it was. Kippis!
They knock kuksa's and take another sip.
Yep. But I'm saving the best 'till
EXT. FOREST / RIVERSIDE - DAY
The Hiker walks with great speed along a slowly rising trail
that edges its way towards bald felltops in the distance.
EXT. RAUTALAMPI LAKE DAY HUT - DAY
The Hiker stands at the mouth of the lake, the day hut behind
him, admiring the view. The small lake is surrounded on all
sides by barren, snow-covered fells. It's magnificent, more
so for the Hiker as he knows he will soon be on top of them.
EXT. RAUTUTUNTURI - DAY
The Hiker climbs toward a large cairn on top of the fell.
Around him, in all directions, stunning views of the park
He tramps through the deepening snow, stopping to affix a set
of microspikes to his boots.
At the cairn, he takes his camera out and surveys the
landscape. Words cannot describe the cold beauty of it all.
But photographs do a pretty good job.
As he scopes out the scenery, he stops, incredulous at the
sight he sees in his viewfinder...
There, not too far away, TWO GROWN MEN wrestle naked in the
The Hiker blinks, finding hard to believe what he's seeing.
The two men are locked in a battle grip, fierce grimaces
distorting their faces.
The Hiker listens as their voices rise on the wind.
You have grown too strong... But I
will cut you down to size!
He seems to be gaining the upper hand.
FIRST MAN (CONT'D)
Your beloved ultralight...
(pause for dramatic
The First Man throws a powerful punch into the Second Man's
face. As it makes contact, time slows down, and the skin and
flesh of the second man's face visibly ripple in slow motion.
The Second Man falls to the ground.
Is he down and out?
He turns, lifts his head up to the first man.
SECOND MAN (CONT'D)
Ultralight will live forever!!!
He bursts upward, leaping at the First Man with all the
strength he can muster. He SLAMS into the First Man knocking
him flying, again, in heroic slow motion.
As they wrestle aimlessly in the snow, Urho Kekkonen wanders
up to the Hiker.
What's that all about?
Don't ask me.
Maybe they should go for a hike
together. That always made me feel
The Hiker and Kekkonen wander off as the two naked men
continue their squabbling.
EXT. RAUTUPAA FELL TOP - DAY
The Hiker walks over the barren fell tops, striking out a
path all his own.
Around him, the open landscape undulates off, seemingly
forever. White-capped hills, cris-crossed with animal trails
- arctic fox, arctic hare, reindeer -- all heading nowhere...
somewhere... who knows?
The Hiker climbs up to one of the summits. He surveys the
widescreen, technicolor vista that has opened up before him.
A herd of reindeer rummage around under the snow, in search
of berries and lichen, sustenance for the months ahead.
Beyond them the valley dips and swirls. Trees emerge, spires
of green/black, snug along the course or a river. A ravine. A
mire. Further still, another bold, bald hill; hulking, squat,
resolute. Nature on an epic scale.
It is like the West.
As if on cue, the Man with no Name spurs his jet black steed
along the spine of the hill. A spray of fine snow particles
thrown into the air behind.
The Man with no Name looks over at the Hiker, and for a
moment they are connected. Two men, travelling alone; in the
world, of the world, and yet separate from it.
A fiction? Perhaps. But all the real for it.
INT./EXT. CAR/WINTER ROAD - DAY
The Hiker drives the Volvo south along the icy road. As he
turns away from the park, a lone figure stands by the side of
the road. Bald. Herringbone jacket. George Smiley glasses.
The figure waves slowly at the Hiker as the car passes by.
The three-note harmonica melody sounds a final time.
Until next time, Urho Kekkonen.