The training of wilderness guides or activity instructors as well as center staff provides work for locals all through the entire year. It also helps Finns in sharing their love for nature and the tradition that has been handed over generations.
Keijo Salenius is creator of Basecamp Oulanka and works in conjunction with our small group of experts in winter tours Exodus Travels “Young youngsters in Finland frequently have to travel farther away in order to find jobs. There aren’t any institutions or education opportunities for them in this area. It’s sad because there aren’t many who return to their homes. A few, too, work at nearby ski areas. They are often bored waiting at an area for ski lifts. It’s not a lot of fun. We provide them with a new sort of work as guides in the wilderness. It is a job that is satisfying and completely different. They are trained at an outdoor school in the area and later, they learn more here with us.”
New recruits also learn in sports like fat biking. This new method of transportation in Finland is strictly recreational, yet still in line with the traditional winter sports such like husky sledding cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The minimal disturbance to the peace and tranquility of the snow-covered landscape and you can get a good dose of exercise despite the Arctic temperatures.
“Fat biking allows you to really get into nature,” Keijo says. Keijo. “The stillness can be terrifying and mysterious. There is nothing to hear apart from the blood coursing in your veins. It’s not even the wind. Most people don’t think about this. Most of our guests experience 24 hour anxiety when they arrive. They’re scared of every thing. Then, they relax and feel more like an element of the wild. They are taught to feel secure. There is nothing that could hurt them in this area. There are no snakes, lions or Crocodiles. You’re safe with us.”
Local wisdom that comes from living in the same place and hearing stories from your grandparents over an open flame isn’t something that can be purchased. Particularly, winter really needs some adjustment. It can be cold to -30degC. This is not the best time of the year to go out into the wild without knowing how to do it.
Local guides to the wilderness know the best places to look for tracks of animals and how to stay warm, and what’s the distinction between an igloo, a quinzee or a shelter that is lean and an Igloo. The answer is: you cannot build an Igloo in Finland because the snow isn’t tough enough. It is possible to sleep outdoors in a simple shelter but. A few embers in the front and the dark winter sky over is absolute Arctic magic.
Finns appreciate and respect the natural world, particularly those who live in rural areas that are remote. They have some of the same practices and tales as Sami people. Handicrafts and hunting, for instance, are rooted in the natural world. There is no waste. The flesh, bones and skin of animals are utilized in different ways. In terms of their use If you’re killing an elk reindeer for food since there’s no grocery store or local butcher isn’t it logical to utilize the whole animal instead of throwing away some of it to waste? It is possible to buy authentic crafts made locally at the lodge, or you could try your hand in making your personal shamanic shamanic instrument from reindeer hide.
Keijo Salenius Eco-lodge’s founder, who is in collaboration and with the winter trip specialist Exodus Travels, says: “We strictly consume elk meat that has been hunted and killed during the legal time frame from October through December. The authorities will visit and verify whether this is the only meat that we keep in our freezer. The system implemented to ensure that the health of the elk population and permits Finnish hunting traditions to continue.”
Fat biking for a week part of a smaller guided group is an excellent idea to experience while staying in an lodge. A local guide who guides you lets you take advantage of the pine forests that are covered in snow along with vast, frozen lakes and forests without having to worry about losing your way. You’ll travel on tracks through the snow made by husky sleds and snowmobiles. The gear for cold weather is provided and the participants will be given safety guidelines prior to setting off. It’s a great method to meet new people while exercising and get a taste of life in the Arctic wilderness. Additionally, it’s less harmful to the surroundings in comparison to going downhill.
Fat biking is simple and trails take you through the southeastern part of the Oulanka River to the Russian border that overlooks Lake Paanajarvi. Watch out for elks, reindeer, wolverines, as well as golden Eagles. The majority of days end with a steaming bowl stewed elk meat around the wood stove, before a sauna and naked roll in the snow This is the most effective method of keeping fresh, it seems. There are hot showers and heating in the floor.
Keijo Salenius states: “Animal tracks are also more easily discernible on snow. It helps you know the relationship between various species in a manner that it’s impossible without snow. For example the otter as well as the wolverine are playing a game together. It is known that otters slide across their bellies, however wolverines also have the same effect. It’s impossible to find out this without being able to see footprints of the two animals on the snow. Tracks of lynx are more difficult to find, however golden eagles may be seen flying from the sky. Eagles are the just 20 bird species that endure the winter. The rest either die or migrate south.”
The snow is a sustainable source of energy
“My own mother’s attitude to sustainability is: don’t buy anything and you will be living a sustainable life,” Keijo says. Keijo. “This approach to living is feasible. We eat only local food and we don’t use plastics or tins simply produce. We don’t allow quick cook meals into our kitchens It’s just too rapid, and the modern way of cooking is not good for the health of people or the planet.”
Another area in which the lodge is a leader in sustainability is the clothing. Instead of encouraging guests to purchase their own expensive winter clothing, there’s plenty of warm clothes to borrow upon arrival. It’s a common practice to use clothing again and again. This is particularly beneficial for those who visit with children because, let’s face it how often will they need to dress in extreme Arctic equipment when they arrive back home? They’ll have gotten used to it within six months, and what will you make of it? Environmental concerns
Everything that happens in Oulanka National Park in winter months is based on the snow. If there weren’t tracks to follow, whether from fat bikes, husky sleds, or snowshoeing, walkers could get lost. However, climate changes are making weather more unpredictable. It was once the case that snow would fall in a predictable fashion in October. However, now you could be waiting until November or even into December. As Keijo states, “The funny thing is that people in the area are content that winters are becoming warmer. If you’ve lived through -35 degC temperatures for three weeks, you’ll understand. There’s a huge distinction between -25degC and -35degC which is a significant distinction. The temperature of -25degC isn’t too poor. It’s quite comfortable. When you have the right clothes obviously.”
After the snow has settled in, it’s difficult to know the weather between the days. The snow usually falls until May however, there are times when it is extremely cold periods, with blue skies. The temperature can reach -30°C and the next day at -0. The cold is never dry, however; this can make a huge difference. Endangered animals, such as the Siberian jay is also suffering. These birds are among the few that can survive the extreme temperatures of winter. They are found in ancient boreal forests and keep food in the old trees of spruce. The changing climate has profoundly affected the spruce tree in Finland and a lot of indigenous forests have been removed or replaced with pine by the commission for forestry. If the spruce goes away, also the Siberian jays It’s as easy as that.