An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland – Part 2

This is part 2 of a travel narrative describing our wilderness adventure with Aurora Retreat in Swedish Lapland. Don’t worry—if you missed part one, you can read it here.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - A Cruising Couple

 

It was the second day of our arctic adventure. We had slept soundly that first night in the wilderness; our small sleeping cabins proved surprisingly warm and insulating (once we realized we should probably close the vent at our feet). We awoke to silence, allowing the natural rays of the sun to substitute for the buzzing of an alarm. And when we were ready to brave the crisp morning air, we made a run for the main cabin. Leif already had a fire blazing in the hearth and a breakfast on the table consisting of oatmeal with lingonberries (a small red berry and staple in Scandinavian cuisine), bread and cheese, and coffee and tea. We watched the birds flitting around in the snow while we sipped on our warm beverages, soaking in the slow transition to the day.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Wilderness Cabins at Aurora Retreat

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Siberien Jay

 

Eventually, with lunches packed and winter clothes piled on, we set off for another day of cross-country skiing under a bright blue sky. It was the kind of winter day that I love—cool air and glittering snow, the sun shining overhead, and just the slightest hint of a breeze.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Sun Through the Trees in Swedish Lapland

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Cross Country Snow Skiing

 

Our day’s journey took us along the frozen river that ran in front of our cabin. At first it was almost difficult to tell where the land ended and the water began; the fresh powder snow covered the entire landscape. But when we came across the river rapids, the vast white scene opened up to reveal the vivid blue water hiding beneath the ice. The contrast between the running water and frozen terrain was surprisingly striking. One after another we stopped in our tracks to admire the view.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - River

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Cross Country Skiing next to the River

 

We then continued onward down the riverbank until Leif pointed out three shadows ahead. A look through the binoculars revealed the shadows to actually be reindeer; like us they were soaking up the sunshine on a lovely day. The reindeer, perhaps sensing our presence, slowly awoke and stretched their legs before slowly meandering to the other side of the forest. We had visited these animals on a Sammi reindeer farm a few days before, but it was quite another experience  to see them in the wild.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Wild Reindeer

 

Though it hadn’t been that long since breakfast, we worked up an appetite for lunch quickly. Sitting on reindeer skins and perched in the sun, we savored sandwiches and soup. Leif used the snow to boil water for traditional Swedish coffee, which we enjoyed in true Leif fashion – with a piece of cake.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Cross Country Skiing in Swedish Lapland

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Leif Makes a Fire

 

“This is life,” said Leif, his back resting upon a tree, his eyes lightly shut.

There was no arguing that.

 

Day 3

 

Having spent our first two days cross-country skiing, we decided to pursue something a bit different for our third and final full day in the wilderness: ice fishing.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - A Cruising Couple Ice Fishing

 

After snowshoeing to a portion of the river we had yet to explore, we huddled around Leif so he could instruct us on using the hand drill to break through the ice, (while he also alluded to a certain 45-kilo salmon that lurked beneath it). We drilled a few more holes and then sat down to wait, our pocket-sized fishing poles in hand, hoping a salmon lunch might be in our near future. I lasted about thirty minutes, my impatient nature showing its true form. Dan and I decided to trade in our fishing poles for traditional Swedish snowshoes, aka oversized wooden tennis rackets.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Drilling an Ice Hole

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Pocket Sized Ice Fishing Pole

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Traditional Wooden Snow Skis

 

By afternoon the 45-kilo Salmon still swam free and all fishing hooks remained empty. Leif suggested we get our adrenaline pumping with some sledding, to which five adults couldn’t have more readily agreed. We piled on the snowmobile and sleigh to make our way up into the mountain, taking the time to enjoy the bird’s eye view of the surrounding forest along the way. It took a bit of practice to get our sledding technique perfected, but soon we were racing and twirling down the hill, our laughter echoing into the calm surroundings.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Swedish Lapland

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Swedish Lapland

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Sledding in Swedish Lapland

The night before Leif had awoken us around midnight to a spectacular Aurora show, the entire night sky illuminated by a green haze. We quite confidently decided there was no way to top the previous nights Northern Lights, so for our final evening at the cabin we opted to bask in the warmth of the cabin while playing a few card games and sipping on the last of our wine. At the end of the night we decided to top off the experience with one last sauna, making sure to alternate our time in the sweaty room with plenty of full-body, swimsuit-clad snow rolls (video footage coming soon!)

When it came time to load our gear on the snowmobile the following morning, I was surprisingly torn to leave. We had gotten one last ski in that morning, but still I wasn’t ready to depart from our cozy sleeping nooks and remote location. Indoor plumbing? Yes, I was ready for that. A hot shower? Yea, I was probably going to need about an hour in one of those. But if it wasn’t for the bathroom necessities, I could have happily stayed for at least another week in this arctic bliss.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Wilderness Retreat

 

Prior to our forced digital detox, I don’t think we were aware of just how addicted we were becoming to ‘checking in’. We detest when we see other people on their iPhones while at dinner, and we try not to get sucked into technology when we should be taking in our surroundings. But still, the first thing I do in the morning is check email and our social media networks. And then I do it all again, at least twenty times throughout the day. We use the excuse that we have to be plugged in all the time as we’re building a business out of our blog and freelance work. But really, how honest are we being with ourselves? How much time do we waste everyday trying to stay ‘connected’? When we returned from our wilderness adventure, we had over 100 ‘important’ emails to organize and respond to. But it was fine. Nothing exploded; no one anxiously wondered why we hadn’t responded to their message within two minutes of receiving it. Everything was a-okay.

 

An Arctic Adventure in Swedish Lapland - Sunset in Swedish Lapland

‘Digital detoxes’ are getting more and more popular as people realize the power of ‘disconnecting to reconnect’. And in our opinion, that’s a very good thing.

Our wilderness adventure with Aurora Retreat was one of the most unique, memorable trips we’ve taken. If you’re looking for inspiring scenery, active adventures or cultural experiences in the arctic of Swedish Lapland, you really can’t go wrong. Aurora Retreat will provide everything you need, including equipment, food, and wilderness guide. Their  trips are also fully customizable—just get in touch with Michael and Maya to start brainstorming what your ideal excursion looks like. The family operated, eco-friendly business will do all the rest. Personally we couldn’t have imagined anything better than our Northern Lights Wilderness Adventure, but there are also various options for a summer or autumn in Lapland, too.

While I might have been a tad bittersweet to leave the forest, the adventure wasn’t over just yet. We were returning to the Aurora Guesthouse, and the next day we would be trying our hand at mushing a dog sled. As always, more stories on the blog to come soon!

 

This trip wouldn’t have been possible without Aurora Retreat kindly hosting us. As always, all thoughts and opinions remain our own.

 

What do you do to disconnect? Ready to sign up for a wilderness adventure yet? 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll LOVE:

The Streets of Stockholm: A Photo Essay

A Moose Safari via Icelandic Horse

A Wilderness Adventure in Swedish Lapland – Part 1

The Northern Lights: Everything You Need to Know About Seeing the Aurora

 

 

 

Meet: Casey Siemasko


Casey Siemasko is a blogger, content marketer, and co-founder of A Cruising Couple. She has been living and traveling outside of the US full-time since 2011. She finds her life inspiration in exploring the world and seeks to find the magic in the most ordinary of places.

18 Comments

    • Thanks Bram!! It wasn’t too shabby, that’s for sure :)

      Reply
  1. I just found your blog today and am already in love!! Your pictures are gorgeous and I love all your Arctic Adventure posts. Hope to read more about this area in the future!!
    VanBerry recently posted…Photo of the Week: The North CapeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Thanks so much! Hope you keep coming back for more posts ;)

      Reply
  2. What an amazing experience. I would like to try ice fishing someday. Looks like you had beautiful weather as well for an outdoor trip!
    Angela Travels recently posted…Travel Blogging CourseMy Profile

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    • The weather was incredible! Couldn’t have been better :)

      Reply
  3. One day you are on the beach, the other day you go skiing in the snow. I can’t catch up with you. You are way too adventurous!! :) Looks like you had a great time. How many days did you stay there?
    Agness recently posted…What the Heck is Jeepney?My Profile

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  4. Such a great place for a digital detox! It seems really strange reading this and looking at the photos of snow and ice, when Spring is coming in Europe and even England is sunny! Those little cabins look so cute!
    Charlie recently posted…Why Learning a Foreign Language Makes You AwesomeMy Profile

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    • Haha yea we keep forgetting that Easter is this week and May is just around the corner!! It feels like we’ve traveled back to Christmas :)

      Reply
  5. Ahh now that is my idea of a vacation! But living on the beach, I guess the grass is always greener- I’m always missing snow! And you got snow shoes AND reindeer. Let’s switch places for a little bit :)
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted…Tips For Traveling India by Train SoloMy Profile

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    • It’s true.. haha we are already missing the beach so much! We always want what we can’t have :)

      Reply
    • Haha yea I think he might have been telling quite the fish tale ;)

      Reply
  6. I love the digital detox. When I’m on the road, I try to keep my digital work to before breakfast and after dinner, just to check in. Looks like a great time!
    Corinne recently posted…Emerald Waterways European River CruisesMy Profile

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    • It was honestly really tough for us to unplug for so long, but we are so glad we did. We are always surprised at how long we end up staring at our various devises. It was very nice to leave all of that behind even for a couple of days :-)

      Reply
  7. Really beautiful pics such a great place for Trip..:)

    Reply

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