Björkliden (SW) - Malangen (NO) - Kiruna (SW) (March, 2012)
Day 1: Friday, February 24. Temperature evening: -20 degrees (approximately)
We arrived in Kiruna at 4:30 pm and were given our rental car. An Opel Insignia this time. The drive to Björkliden Fjällby took about 1,5 hours. The cabin is very basic, bunk beds, tiny room with kitchenette. The weather looks good for a northern lights chase, there are not too many clouds.
In the end we didn’t leave the parking lot. There was a little bit of northern light that was visible from the bungalows.
Day 2: Saturday, February 25. Daytime temperature: -7 degrees; About the same in the evening, lots of wind!
This morning we first went shopping in the supermarket in Abisko. To our astonishment, it was very well stocked too! Soon we had all our groceries for the entire weekend. Then we went searching for places with good views along the E10. In the direction of Riksgränsen we found (near the resort) a large parking lot with 2 houses, they seemed uninhabited. However, the place is very windy. We saved the location in the TomTom sio that we could find it again in the dark. At Abisko Turiststation there is a snowmobile route, there we did a hike of 6.9 km. In some places the trail was a bit strenuous because of the snow, but most of the trail was easy to do.
Day 3: Sunday, February 26. Daytime temperature: -4 degrees; evening: -15-20 degrees (no windl)
Because the weather was not so great in Björkliden we drove 110 km to Kiruna and the ice hotel. Clear blue skies. At the ice cream hotel we admired the sculptures, they had really done their best this year. Then back to Kiruna to Camp Ripan and for darkness to arrive. We had a nice dinner in the restaurant. At about 7 p.m. we went outside again. At the ice hotel there was a lot of smoke from wood stoves, the small band of northern lights was barely visible. At Camp Ripan there was a lot of light pollution. We decided to drive back to Björkliden and see if we could stop along the way. Fortunately we succeeded, we found good dark spots and we were able to enjoy the northern light displays for a while. We have seen beautiful northern lights in a few different places. Back in the cabin, we could see some northern lights, so we made a number of snapshots which included the cabin.
Day 4: Monday, February 27. Temperature during the day: -8
Slept in this morning, it was pretty late last night. At the end of the morning we drove to Abisko. We did the same walk as Saturday. We took a different trail across the lake, at one point we dropped to our knees in the snow. After about 2 hours we found our car again, and we went back to the cabin.
In the evening we drove to Kiruna, but it was cloudy everywhere. So went to bed early. Last night in Kappas in Björkliden.
Day 5: Tuesday, February 28. Temperature during the day and in the evening: around 0 degrees
This morning at around 9:30 am we left from Kappas in Björkliden. At the border with Norway. We had driven maybe 50 kilometers in. After about 45 minutes wait a snowplow arrived on the closed road. A while later the whole bunch of cars and trucks arrived. Somewhat later again we were allowed to follow the snowplow. This was approximately 30 kilometers, with a speed of 40 km per hour. In Malangen the weather was far from improving. A lot of wet snow, and therefore a lot of slush on the roads.
At around 3 p.m. we arrived at Malangen Brygger. We have house 33. It is very beautiful inside.
Day 6: Wednesday, February 29. Temperature during the day: around freezing
We drove around the peninsula. We have found a number of places where we could safely park and get out of the car at night.
The route was very beautiful, pines in pristine snow meadows, mountains in the background, spectacular skies, beautiful!
When we went for a walk in from the hours, we found a trail that gives access to a small lake. Very idyllic. By the time we got back it was snowing again. Unfortunately….
At 8 o’clock we got in the car and drove to Vikran. We saw a bit of northern light between the clouds.
Day 7: Thursday, March 1. Temperature during the day: 3 degrees with rain.
It didn’t look like it would be dry, so off to Tromsø. It is an hour and a half drive from Malangen to Tromsø.
We visited Polaria. Main attraction for us are the aquariums and the seal show. Rain in the evening.
Day 8: Friday, March 2. Still bad weather.
Stayed in the house in the morning, did some shopping in Storsteiner in the afternoon. Continue to Nordkjosbotn to explore the first part of the route.
In the evening just went out when the clouds broke up. A little bit of northern lights, but not a lot.
Day 9: Saturday, March 3. Temperature in the night: -15 degrees
Departure from Malangen, and indeed … clear weather. We have taken the route via Kilpisjärvi and Karesuando. Is longer, but quieter. We arrived in Camp Ripan at 4 pm. Total travel time 6 hours and 15 minutes (including a few short stops). In Ripan our room was not ready yet, we were sent away for half an hour. Once back, not ready yet, now an upgrade to a 4-person room (cabin 30). Skies look clear, but no internet here, so impossible to see the forecast.
In the evening we travelled on the E10 towards Björkliden. There was northern light, but it was not strong.
After we were back we saw a green lines outside. At 12:00 we went outside again at the hotel. The lights on the ski track were off, so no more light pollution. Again made a lot of pictures.
Day 10: Sunday, March 4. Daytime temperature: -15 and -6 degrees
Today to Kebnekaise for the same walk as a few years ago. It was beautiful! We have seen 3 moose, one large with a juvenile. Very nice. On the way back we searched for northern lights in the area of Esrange and Jukkasjärvi. Nothing found.
Day 11: Monday, March 5
It is over again, we are going home again.