31 Jul Finland, cycling Lapland
In the morning we wake to the sound of raindrops hitting our tarp, or so it sounds. As our eyes gain focus we realize that it is not raindrops hitting our tarp, but rather hundreds, if not thousands of mosquitoes, biting flies, and other insects bouncing off the bottom of our tarp. We also take notice of all the mosquitoes sitting on our net just waiting for breakfast, breakfast being us as we leave the protection of our mosquito net. Before low crawling out from under the
net, we slip over our heads our trusted “Miggie” net (a very fine head netting we picked up in Scotland), put long sleeves and gloves on, then we spray a bit of 40% DEET repellant on our exposed legs. Despite doing all this we still get bit through our clothing, but it is nowhere near as bad as not having anything on at all.
While enjoying our morning coffee and biscuits (aka cookies) under the protection of our mosquito net, we have a mother reindeer and her calf, as well as another reindeer walk near our camp. Once the mother noticed us she was keen on keeping her young one away, so they moved along smartly while the other one really did not seem to mind us and just went about its business. After breakfast it was back to our normal routine of packing up and hitting the road.
The road seemed fairly light on traffic and what traffic there was kept a safe distance while passing. The roads are long with an occasional bend or two, but otherwise just long and straight. The scenery is about the same as yesterday with lots of trees, lakes, and rivers, but overall the cycling is very pleasant. A Finnish couple told us yesterday that the further north we get in Lapland, the prettier it gets.
Shortly after hitting the road we pull into a parking area to throw away our trash when we notice another bike tourist having breakfast. We roll over to him and say good morning and he responds in Polish. Come to find out our new friend speaks about as much English as we do Polish, but we discover through hand gestures and pointing at maps that he too is heading to Nordkapp. The three of us pose for photos and off we ride. Throughout the day our Polish friend would pass us by as we took breaks and we would pass him as he took breaks.
The weather up here in the Arctic Circle is some of the best weather we have had in a long time. We are actually wearing short sleeves and sweating our butts off. As we cycle along, the hours just pass until we realize it is time to start searching for a spot to camp. Not long after starting our search, we pass this very long dirt road that just seems to go nowhere, so we continue a few more minutes until we discover there is a huge lake off to our right. We stop and decide to go down the long dirt road and see if it went to the lake. The road is about 1km and dead-ended at the lake and it appears to be used for launching small boats. We also notice a small fire circle just inside the woods, so we park our bikes and take a look around. The area with the fire ring was nice, but we found an even better spot a little deeper in the woods, up on a small hill, that overlooked the lake and gave us a great view of the sun.
With the weather being so nice we opt to just set up our tarp and mosquito net again. We also figure that since there is no one around and not even a house in sight, we take full advantage of the lake and take a bath. So down to the lake’s edge we go, get undressed and wade out into the chilly, but not to cold water and wash off the dirt. The cool water and bath was so refreshing! We rinse out some of our riding clothes and hang them up to dry.
We finally get around to having dinner and realize it is nearly 23:00 and we can still see the sun. This is when it hits us that we may actually see the midnight sun from here, so we get our camera gear ready and wait. Midnight hits and there it is, the midnight sun just above the horizon. We snap a few photos and stare at it. It is rather amazing watching the sun dip, but never disappear. 01:00 rolls around the sun begins its ascend and by 02:00 we finally pull our Buffs over our eyes and call it a day!