Thu 14 Jan 2010
Day 3 features us exploring inland, into the Finnmarksvidda. So let’s see about the etymology of this word: “Finn” is Finn, to reflect the locals; “Mark” is Mark, as in the Experience; and “Svidda” is the land of snow, ice, and a whole everloving metric ton of reindeer and not much else – except for that one guy with his airplane.
No, I didn’t get a photo of the airplane – I was about five kilometers away by the time the logistical awesomeness of the guy with the airplane dawned on me. Let’s think here; we’re about three hundred kilometers from anything approximating civilization – and here’s a guy with a little airplane (a Cessna 152 or the like) parked in front of his house. From where does he take off? And where does he land? Well, there’s a really flat and straight section of highway 93 running past his house… and a car comes by once every 45 minutes, if that…
now that’s badass!
We start not too far away from familiar Nordkjosbotn, and then head southeast into Finland and Sweden for a bit, before crossing back into Norway. The sky remains overcast for most of Day 3, and thus the scenery is correspondingly bleak. This is about as “middle of nowhere” as it gets.
Then, a mad dash back to the coastline, where the weather is supposed to improve, a crossing of the Tana river – the unofficial boundary between “the hinterlands” and “the even-more-hinter lands” – up to Vadsø, a brief excursion into a snowbank, and hey, the northern lights, just to say we did.
Surprisingly, there are some places where one can walk down to the water’s edge without stepping in eight feet of snow. Note the clear sky, and remember it well. We will not see it again for quite some time.
There was a very nice active phase right overhead, but I had no time to look; I was busy standing in the middle of a dark road wearing an American-made orange reflective vest… waving my arms, flagging down a cute Norwegian girl in an Audi A6, for whom it was apparently second nature to pull a dumbass tourist in a subcompact out of the snow. 255 horsepower and survival gear is par for the 70-degrees-latitude course.