Thursday 22nd June
Today I woke up and was freezing.
“We’re too far north,” I fretted to Morgan.
“I didn’t bring appropriate clothing!”
As we drove yet further north, I fantasised aloud about all the clothes I would have brought with me had I known where we were heading.
“Ski trousers…. my yak wool jumper from Nepal….. woolly hats… scarfs and gloves….”
Morgan sat next to me in a short sleeved t-shirt, wondering what I was whining about. This continued until were distracted from our clothing debates by a herd of reindeer crossing the road in front of us – we really were in Lappland!
Around 4pm we finally did it – we crossed into the Arctic circle!
“It’s fucking freezing, can we head south yet?” I said, just as Morgan turned to me and asked if we could live here forever. We perceive temperature very differently.
We found a beautiful lake to camp next to for the night, tucked inside the arctic circle. It was gonna be a long day, because we were officially in the land of the midnight sun! At this time of year in the arctic the sun lowers almost to the horizon, then immediately starts to rise again, providing perpetual daylight.
We planned to sit out and watch the anti-sunset, so I prepared by dressing in all my useless summer clothes layered on top of each other, throwing in some of Morgan’s clothes for good measure. Feeling a bit like an unwashed scarecrow, I completed the look by rummaging up a pair of semi-clean socks, which I wore on my hands like mittens.
Next order of business was to make a fire!
Morgan went off to gather firewood, and Lex helped by grabbing every stick he picked up and trying to chew it to shreds.
I was instructed to go and collect kindling, so I walked around for 10 minutes, then returned with an empty bag and asked what kindling looked like. Unfortunately, I was not let off from my duties and after a quick lesson I was sent out again with the kindling bag.
Morgan got the fire going as midnight approached, yellow flames cutting through the freezing night. It was magical. And not just because we’ve been re-listening to Stephen Fry reading the Harry Potter books, which injects a little bit of Hogwarts magic into everything.
The sky was cloudy, so we didn’t get the full effect of the sun appearing to bounce off the horizon, but the yellow glints of sunlight over the lake was pretty spectacular. As was the knowledge that this barely-evening atmosphere is as dark as it’s ever going to get here. And that it was now both sunset and sunrise at the same time.
In fact, the moment was perfect, until a large truck pulled into the rest stop and very noisily reversed right through a bunch of trees, ripping their branches off and nearly hitting a parked van on its way to the lake. The truck then started the extremely loud process of filling its tank from the lake, right next to us. This happened exactly at midnight. Talk about a mood killer.
If you want to keep up with our travels as we continue on our 3-month adventure, hit the Follow button to get updated on new posts!