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Fog, Frozen Fingers, and to Hell with Kilpisjärvi


Fog, Frozen Fingers, and to Hell with Kilpisjärvi

While still on the aforementioned hill, I considered setting up camp. It was late and the day had been somewhat tiring.

Then fog started rising from the lakes and the river down below me. This surprised me, because this type of fog forms when the air temperature is colder than the water. The river water couldn’t have been warmer than +5C, and that was generous. So the valley must’ve cooled down considerably to near freezing point, which I didn't feel on higher ground.

I was comfortable up on my hilltop. And yet - a foggy sunrise (or in this case foggy midnight sun) is the holy grail of photography conditions. And if I want to become a professional photographer… I packed up and rolled down the hill, gripping the brakes with white knuckles on the steep descent.

Unfortunately the fog only lasted an hour, and while it was very pretty, I couldn’t really find a great location to shoot from. Eventually I pitched my tent among the downy birch trees with numb fingers. If I want to be a professional photographer, I need to buy warmer gloves.

The end of the road.

These power lines wanted to be in every photo, the way power lines often do.

When I reached Kilpisjärvi, the weather got from bad to worse. That was my last stop in Finland before the Norwegian border. As a going away present, I was awarded freezing weather, rain and sleet, and a devastating headwind. They even had ice on the lake - at midsummer! Kilpisjärvi has some of the best views in Finland and I wanted to take photos, but couldn’t feel my fingers up to the elbow and was afraid the wind would blow my tripod over anyway. This was all just unacceptable. It was the first time I wasn’t enjoying myself on this trip.

The highest point in Finland's highways is only 565m, which goes to show how flat Finland really is.

I knew Skibotn in Norway would be considerably warmer. It was only 50km north, but also 500m down to sea level, which meant a different climate. I stocked up on food and said goodbye to Finland.

Or so I thought. It took me more than an hour to cycle the first 5km from Kilpisjärvi. I simply had to give up. There was no sense trying to pedal into the strong headwind. Completely useless. In any case, one of the main reasons I have this much time for my trip is exactly so that I can wait out the bad weather, so why struggle? Norway wasn’t going anywhere.

I camped at the nearest bit of even land that wasn’t pummeled by the excruciating north wind.

There’s nothing quite like the Finnish summer.