Fjällräven Polar 2017 – day 5: Sleeping under the Northern Lights
Yesterday evening we honestly thought it would be a really gentle night, but nothing is as it seems. When we woke up we found out that it had been -15ᵒC while we were asleep. No wonder our tent sticks were completely frozen.. Breaking down camp went a lot easier today. We fed the dogs, had breakfast, cleaned up after ourselves and packed our sleds within no time!
Multitasking on a sled
And before we knew it we were on our way again! Right before we left I got an extra passenger. Last night’s cameraman wanted to ride with me for a bit to talk about my thoughts and feelings on the adventure. No pressure at all, trying to steer a sled whilst breaking and picking up your anchor without falling on your face.. With a camera in your face! Luckily it went just fine and we within minutes were on our way for another day in the Arctic wilderness.
It all went so smooth and fast and after an hour and a half it was already time for a short break. I don’t know if it was because of the weather that time went by SUPER fast, but I really thought we were on the sled for only twenty minutes or so. The good thing is that break time is never boring when you have a team of 6 dogs to look after. I sat down in the snow with my GoPro when my leader dog decided to come say hi. Isn’t he the cutest?!
It was a beautiful day with bright blue skies, crystal white snow and tons of sunshine. I got really comfortable with my sled and was pretty much cruising through the Arctic. Until we reached the infamous corner, that was. You know, the one from the videos where almost everybody falls? Yeah, that one. Most of us went down face first to take a closer look at the snow and so did I! Luckily no one got hurt and we had a good laugh. You can watch all of it in the video below. Promise not to laugh!
Arriving at camp Sevujärvi
Early afternoon we arrived at our camp for the night: Sevujärvi. Also the last camp of Polar 2017.. The location was perfect! We could put up camp between lots of trees that would provide some more shelter. Steering your sled into the small forest was quite the challenge though. Some of the participants hit trees, some tumbled over and most of us sank into the snow when they tried to get off of their sleds. Snow shoe time! After we parked our sleds and took care of the dogs, I realised how beautiful the camp really was. And the blue skies made it look even prettier! Could it be that tonight would be Northern Lights night?!
Building a snow castle
Today was a special day. Not only would it be our last night out in the wild, it was also going to be the night we would sleep outside instead of in our tents. And you can’t just roll out your sleeping bag and lay down in the snow, so Johan thought us everything we needed to know about building our very own snow castle. He also thought us how to make fire with things we could find around camp and our fire stick!
At the beginning of the expedition I was really intimidated by the idea of sleeping out in the open, but today I felt ready. We put on our snow shoes and started evening the surface for our king size bed for four. While the surface took its time to freeze up we built a little kitchen to go with our bedroom. You have to do something to stay warm, right?
We built a wall around our sleeping spot, boiled water for dinner and breakfast.. We were working like we had been a team for over a year! Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Within just a couple of days we became true survival experts and we could actually LIVE IN THE WILD with bizarre temperatures. It made me proud to realise how far we came, especially the people who had zero outdoor experience before the started this adventure.
The last night at the campfire
After building our home for the night, having dinner and talking to a couple of journalists, it was time for some fun. A trail of candles led us to a DIY campfire on top of a small hill. Fjällräven told us they would take care of coffee and tea if we would take care of the fire. It could be that we have cheated a little bit, but I won’t tell on anyone. We were able to light the fire and it turned out to be a really, really great night with friends, drinks, cake and a super cosy fire.
We drank tea, shared our experiences and finally had the time to sit down and have a chat. Right when I thought that this night was perfect as it was, it became even better. Aurora decided to show up and treat us to a green light show! How amazing to end this super special week with the Northern Lights?!
Sleeping under the Northern Lights
When we finished our coffee and tea and the fire started to go out, we decided to go back to our sleeping bags. You feel kind of vulnerable without a tent around you, so dressing down to your thermos to get into your sleeping bag is a mental challenge. It turned out that if you’re really fast, you don’t have to worry about getting cold. And it was actually really cosy to snuggle up with the four of us!
As soon as we lay down, something really special happened. After we saw five shooting stars raging through the night skies, the Northern Lights came back! And even brighter than before. I don’t think there has ever been a moment in my life that I felt this blessed and happy. I had to fight really hard to stay awake and enjoy every single minute of it. Eventually I lost and fell asleep, in a sleeping bag in the open air, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by people I met 5 days ago, with the Northern Lights raging over my head and shooting stars lighting up the sky. What a time to be alive..