Thursday 20 September. After a blissful night’s sleep by Ukonjarvi Lake I hit the road. The landscape changed, becoming more rugged and hilly, the road sweeping around lake after lake then rising up to give views of tree covered hills rolling to the horizon.
I stopped off at Inari, or Anár to the indigenous Sámi, to take a look at the Finnish Sámi Parliament building.
There are formal parliaments in Norway and Sweden, and, as Russia does not recognise the Sámi as a minority, an unrecognised one in Russia. Inari is a centre of Sámi culture and has a museum, but as much of the Arktikum museum in Rovaniemi was about Sámi culture, I didn’t bother.
I topped up with fuel, as Norway is more expensive, and hit the road again. It was then I saw my moose, a huge white male, or so I thought. For a couple of seconds I saw an animal the size of a big horse, but obviously not a horse walking through the woods on my right. I nearly jammed on the brakes but it wasn’t safe to stop. Half a mile further on I saw what looked like a brown moose, though it might have been a large reindeer.
I found a place to pull off the road and went all David Attenborough, grabbing my camera and stalking back through the woods. Needless to say, I saw nothing. It was really frustrating. I’ve been googling white moose and reindeer and they’re so rare I doubt it was what I saw, but it did look like a big white moose! So, no tick.
Back on the road, I turned onto the road signed Nordkapp, and the drive changed again. Long straight, undulating stretches of steep climbs and descents, a real roller coaster.
The trend was ever higher until I was in the clouds topping the hills and visibility shut down. Then I arrived at my destination, Kevo Nature Reserve on the border with Norway.
It was raining quite heavily, but I donned my good gear and boots and set out on the trail marked from the car park. The nature on the reserve was very reserved! I didn’t see a bird, let alone a moose or deer. It was stark but lovely, low hills and crystal clear streams.
Colour was given by the mosses and small plants,
and I was struck by this circle,
it looked like the green was fending off the white.
Though I saw nothing rusine, (like, or relating to, a deer of the genus Rusa, zoology, of an antler) I did see plenty of hoof prints.
Really, they are! Or am I becoming obsessed, like Captain Ahab and his white whale, Moby Moose?
Tomorrow, over this horizon, Norway.