Having left Swedish Lapland last autumn to take up a new position at Hanwag in Munich, it seemed timely opportunity to go back for a brief visit to mark the start of a new year. The far north not only held the attraction of a winter wonderland escape but also the opportunity to visit my boyfriend and Wilderness Guide Johannes.
It was time to swap my mascara for a head torch and long johns.
So, I packed my bag and set off for the freezing Scandinavian winter just as one year drew to a close and another was beginning. Of course, I also packed a new pair of Hanwag boots – Torne Lady GTX, to protect my feet from the cold and wet, and keep them cosy and dry. With temperatures way below freezing this was a serious matter. We women do have to make sure that we have the right footwear. Because I’m afraid it really is a fact, that we tend to feel the cold a little bit more than the male of the species.
By the time the plane landed at Arvidsjaur airport, the hustle and bustle of Munich was already well behind me. My plan was to immerse myself fully in the winter landscape over the next few days, recharge my batteries and start the year 2018 in the best possible way. So, as soon as I arrived I joined Johannes’ New Year’s group on a guided snowshoeing hike.
After a dark start to the day with fire lighting and fresh coffee, a frosty wind was soon blowing in my face as I strapped on my snowshoes. There is nothing quite like the smell of snow.
Our route for the day started out at the Wildact Huskyfarm in Storberg. We set off at a leisurely pace and after only a few hundred metres, had already left the typically Swedish red houses behind us. I was soon picturing Pippi Longstocking jumping for joy and doing summersaults. This enormous adventure playground would be just her thing.
As our happy little group stomped through Lapland’s wilderness, I could feel the drudgery of day-to-day life and all those unfinished to-do lists melting away. Wearing his Fjäll Extreme GTX, Johannes guided us through Lapland’s taiga, across frozen lakes and swamps, and through snow-covered forests. We spotted deer tracks and learnt about the snow hare and its own version of snowshoes that it would be using just like us. During rest breaks, hot tea warmed us from the inside and our somewhat frozen chocolate bars gave us a little sugar boost.Now and again, my thoughts drifted back to last summer, when I was forever picking golden cloudberries and busily gathering the last of the boletus mushrooms before a blanket of white would cover the landscape. This meter-high layer of snow freezes everything around, putting it into a gentle sleep.Back in our warm little Swedish house, it was time to peel the proverbial onion; with layer after layer of clothing to take off and hang up to air or dry. And that included our boots. I removed the thermal footbed from the Torne Lady GTX and left the boot and insole to dry separately at room temperature. The inner boots of the Fjäll Extreme GTX were also removed and left to dry slowly, away from the heater.
My top tip: Don’t dry your leather footwear too fast or near a heat source, because this makes the leather brittle and prone to cracking.
Thank you, Lapland, for making my start to 2018 so relaxing and unforgettable. I’m now looking forward to all the adventures that lie in store for the year with Hanwag, and also to coming back again as soon as I can.