2011 Mar 12 | Lapland 2: outdoors, reindeer

Without the wind, it actually wasn't too bad outside (this is in Celcius).

Nice breakfast.

Nice lounge area.

The rooms were really warm. We ended up kicking off the covers in the middle of the night.

They get like, what, one month a year when they can do this? And even then it looks pretty cold.

We had a ton of fun activities scheduled.

Some games.

The outdoor tipi in front.

You could sign up for snowmobiling, but since it was around $100 and I had done it as a kid, I didn't do it here, although a lot of people said it was their favorite part of the trip.

Spark, the native kick sled.

Ana on one.


It was much easier to do it on the road.

Coming back.

Getting ready for cross-country skiing.

Putting them on.

Some snowmobilers coming back.

Taking a lift.

Off with some sleds to go down the hill.

And we're off!


Pretty sun through the trees.

We didn't go too far.

Our little group.

A big tipi out back.

With a fire and benches inside.

And some snowshoes.

The hotel from the river.

Time to try ice fishing.

Trying to drill a hole.

Scooping out the ice.

A snowmobiler coming by.

Me demonstrating to everyone how to use the auger efficiently.

Guys hanging onto the back of the snowmobile.

Playing rugby.

Getting a face full of snow.

And then falling down, haha.

More rugby.

Going for a catch.

More drilling holes.

And more rugby.

Going long for a pass.

And another hole.

Throwing the ball.

Uh oh, he lost his boot kicking the ball.

Scooping out more ice.

He made a chair for himself.


Off to sled down the hill.

Time for a snowball fight.

Although you had to use the snow by the holes to get it to stick together.

That's better.

Right in the back.

Hitting him when he's down.

Another from behind.

This dog lived to chase the snowmobile.

Sledding down the hill.

All tired.

Some more fishing. We never did catch anything, though.

More sledding.

The dog getting a ride on the snowmobile, haha.

More people came out to fish.

Everyone taking a break.

Oh, that's mean, snow down the back of his coat.

Revenge: snow in the face.

The snowmobilers on their way back.

The new people making some holes.

And some more.

The dog loved to catch snowballs.

He'd jump in the air and grab them.

Or run after them if they were thrown far.

More people skiing.

Heading off.

Around the corner.

The tracks on the left are with snow shoes, the ones on the right are without. The snow shoes were pretty small ones, but I sunk about twice as much without them.

Stew for lunch in the tipi.

The aftermath of having fun in the snow.

Getting some stew.

The boots they gave us were super warm.

Our ride to the reindeer farm.

We took sleds behind snowmobiles.

And we're off.

Don't wanna fall off or you'll get run over.

It wasn't too far, though.

Just out around this bend.

Up the hill.

Here come the rest.

Some of the people.

Everybody listening to the rancher.

One of the reindeer.

The rancher had a bunch of lichen we could use to feed the reindeer.

A lot of reindeer.

This one seems nice.

Me feeding it.

Everybody loved feeding them.

And they seemed to like it, too.

A lot stayed away.

But some came closer to eat.

They just couldn't get enough.

A lot more.

Our group.

This one had huge horns.

And he really liked the lichen.

Another one.

This guy was really greedy; he kept sticking his head into the rancher's sack rather than waiting.

Another shot of one herd.

The rancher talking about reindeer.

More feeding.

The dog was tied onto the woman and pulling her.

Time for practice roping a reindeer. I went first since I mentioned I had done a bit in the past.

That's right, baby, got it on the first try!

Not too bad.

Everyone else giving it a shot.

They were a bit different, though.

For one, they were made out of plastic.

And they had a ring that the rope looped through.

So you actually made a bunch of loops and threw the whole thing.

Like this.

More practice.

Getting the loops ready.

Now time for a challenge: the rancher grabbed a horn and ran to provide a moving target.

And he got away from everyone.

Me with a rope.

Time for riding behind the reindeer on a sled.

Again, I was the first one to give it a try.

It was actually pretty easy.

The next person's turn.

If you wanted him to go faster, you whipped him with the rope a bit.

Although that didn't seem to do much.

Coming back in.

Someone else gives it a try.

The best way to make him run fast was to scream like a terrified girl.

The first reindeer got tired after about five people.

Time for the second one.

Coming back in.

Around the corner.

This guy knew where to stop because he had done it so many times.

Another person.

And coming back in.

Uh oh, time for a bigger male rider.

Which was a little harder for the reindeer.

You can make it!

And one last rider.

Good job, reindeer.

Into the tipi for fika.

We got to sample four times of reindeer meat: tongue, heart, and two flank pieces.

The rancher explaining the reindeer business to us.

We had coffee or tea in these mugs.

The rancher serving everyone.

We also got some cookies.

Our guide: "OK, time to walk back." My thinking, "Haha, when will the snowmobiles get here... wait, I don't see them. Oh man, he's serious."

Thankfully it wasn't too far of a walk.

And it was pretty out, anyway.

The last bend.

What happens when the person driving the snowmobile accelerates without warning; poor Felipe.

Watching Super Troopers during a break in the activities.

I like the bottle opener on the keychain.

We actually saw a bit of the northern lights on the bus ride, which excited everyone. The next night we didn't see anything because it was cloudy, but this night they put on a show. Everybody ran out to the parking lot to watch them.

Someone's car got put to good use as a tripod.

My great point-and-click can't compete with DSLRs for something like this, but it was still really fun to watch. They moved slower than I thought they would, though. They were mostly green, although I saw a few ribbons of red on a few.

Some brigher sections.

And another one.

The outdoor sauna.

Which you had to keep putting wood into.

We hit ourselves with branches in the sauna to improve circulation.

Watching the northern lights from the hot tub. The hotel was in the way of most of them, but we could occasionally see some to the side of it.

The northern lights would come and go, and when they came back this time, I went out into the middle of the river to watch them to get away from the light a bit more.

They were really pretty.

Although they moved slower than I had expected.

A bit of red on the bottom.

The motel.

Me in front of them.

Another picture with me.

Some other hotel guests out on the river taking pictures.

One of the best birthday presents were the handwarmers from Monica; they let me stay out and watch the aurora for a longer time comfortably.

I've seen these in the liquor stores, so I figured I might as well give them a shot. A bit too strong, though.

Aw, how nice, Sihan and Caroline got birthday cakes for me and another guy who had a birthday on the 12th. :)

And more games.

This guy wasn't drunk, he was just really tired.

I picked up some matchsticks to use for betting on poker.

Sihan seemed more interested in making figures out of the matchsticks than playing, though, haha.

They put the beer along the window to keep it cold, but it made the room freezing.

OK, almost time for bed.

But first Felipe and I ran out to make our snow cube for snow sculptures at 2am. You filled it a bit, then jumped in and pounded the snow down.

The big shovel-thingy we used to fill the cube.

And done!