Into the wilderness – a team's day out
Snowshoe hiking is a relaxing way to enjoy the winter landscapes at Levi and experience the perfect natural peace.

Into the wilderness – a team's day out

It's time to step back and head for new horizons.

It's a grey February day. The previous long frosty spell has cut off most of my enthusiasm for heading for the groomed slopes and ski trails of Levi. I'd like to get out, but where to?

We have already planned the day in advance. The busy start to the year has taken a lot out of the team. Today is our team's day, we'll go out and spend some time together. The details of what we are going to do have been outsourced to a local who knows the Levi surroundings really well.

In the morning, the thermometer reads minus ten Celsius below zero. A trip outside reveals a chilly wind. At the same time I get a phone call and plans are cleared at once. Some quick messages to coordinate the departure.

Soon the group is together and we head north from Levi. The familiar corners are left behind and after a while the car is parked on the side of the road, surrounded by high snow banks.

– We start to approach the actual destination. With a distance of just under two kilometres in each direction, it is highly unlikely that we will see any people, our knowledgeable local guide explains.

We are skiing quietly in the snow. Our weight is borne without a problem by the icy "jänkä", a a common swamp type in Northern Finland sparsely covered by trees and thick snow. All we leave behind are the ski tracks spotted with our poles, quickly hidden by the wind.

We stop to look into the distance. A black dot spotted on a winter covered spruce tree. Is it a bird? One of us digs out the binoculars. Yes, we have a sure contact.

We head towards it in silence. Avoid a direct gaze, the guide familiar with the traditions and customs of the area instructs the rest of us. We stop as the bird takes flight and flies almost straight on. Curving gorgeously past, it continues on to the other side of the jänkä. Stops to watch us.

We stand wide-eyed. A magnificent wood grouse. It's as if he's just appeared to us. A real honour.

After more than half an hour of skiing, I realise for the first time – nature has worked its magic. It's just this moment, a meditative march on the snow. Each in our own thoughts, observing the wintry landscape. Gone are the cares of everyday life and the busyness of the workplace. Time stands still.

Here we are, at the destination. According to the story, the site of the first church in Kittilä. A pilgrimage site known to few since the 17th century.

We marvel at the place, sense the time and the atmosphere. Real memories of the visit will probably only emerge over time.

nokipannu kahvi tulistelu nuotio

On the way back, we stop next to a reeled stump. We light a fire and share hot drinks and chocolate. We enjoy the smell of tar. This shared outing and shared experience, binds us together.

On arriving at the car, we round the banks of a small river. Suddenly, a flock of birds takes flight. At a quick count, nearly ten black grouses. We head towards the river. Five more, rising into the sky almost at our feet.

We look at each other. A sign of something significant? We are left to wonder at all we have experienced.

The next working day, I get a message.

"What a great experience! I got to relax in good company and experienced some really surprising things."

What a great feeling. The trip served its purpose perfectly. We clearly got more than we bargained for. Levi surprised us completely again.

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