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Depending on the arrival time, during dinner, we have our welcome briefing where we discuss the week ahead and get an introduction to Basecamp and the local area. There is also the opportunity to swim in the spring water lake and to use the sauna and enjoy the long, light summer night.
We start our adventure by learning wilderness skills that will come in use in the wilds of Oulanka National Park including making a fire, how to orienteer and basic first aid skills. After lunch we have an introduction to paddling. In this introduction our goal is to learn the basic skills for kayaking and/or canoeing. The introduction takes place near the shore in shallow waters. Once we have learned the basics we will paddle towards the Juuma village. We will have free time to use the kayaks/canoes after the trip.
Today our task is to travel from one checkpoint on the lake to another following a map taking a picture at each location as proof. Once we have found all the checkpoints we will show the pictures to our guide to receive a prize. Canoeing is a great way to take in Finland’s picturesque scenery and it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the shoreline as you may spot some of the incredible wildlife of the area. The afternoon is free to further explore or swim in spring waters of lake Juuma.
The Little Bear Trail starts from our doorstep. It is an 11-km-long trail leading to the southernmost part of the national park. This scenic route is perfect for a day trip and offers a possibility to see the grand natural features of the Oulanka National Park: roaring rapids, sheer cliffs and dense forests. The wildlife along the trails is unique and versatile partially for the reason that there are northern and southern slopes to grow on.
We start our day with a short hike to Jyrävä waterfall along the famous Little Bear Trail. In calm waters, we practise safety procedures and our guide will give us a brief introduction including the instructions needed for the tour. On this route we get to experience the tranquillity of this remote part of Northern Europe, all the way down to the Russian border zone. Along the scenic route we will encounter some gentler rapids and swift running waters while we will have the chance to explore the beautiful landscape of Oulanka National Park. Cameras can be stored into a dry bag and brought with you. In the afternoon we transfer back to Basecamp in time to enjoy a delicious farewell dinner and a final chance to relax in the sauna and hot tub.
This morning our adventure in the Finnish wilderness comes to an end and those on the group flights return to Kuusamo for the flight back to London.