Shades of Green, Aurora Hunting in Finland

Aurora Hunt Finland 2013 13It is that time of year again. Or better said, it is that time of 11 years again. This winter marks the solar maximum, at which solar activity is at the highest point in its 11-year cycle. The astrophysics behind this phenomenum is very interesting, but the effects of solar activity here on Earth are much more interesting. At Solar Max the display of Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis around the Arctic Circles is at its most spectacular. This magical aerial show is on many people’s bucket list, so last year I organized a special Aurora hunting trip for my social media followers, better known as #AuroraTweetup. Continue reading

Winterhike blog – Skarvan og Roltdalen 2013

Intense Arctic Expedition III

Norway Skarvan Roltdalen 2013 09This was the third Intense Arctic Expedition that we organized since 2011. The ‘intense’ concept means that participants have a very short, but intense arctic experience. Three nights of hiking and camping in the snow of a challenging wilderness is enough to have a lifelong impact. It is also intense because it brings you from inside your comfort zone to ‘outside your comfort zone’ – there where the magic happens – in just a few hours. Our favorite location is the rugged Skarvan and Roltdalen National Park in Central Norway. It is close to the Trondheim-Vaernes Airport, which offers several daily direct flights from Amsterdam, by KLM. It is also the northernmost destination you can fly directly from Amsterdam. Perfect for this short experience!
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Winterhike blog – Pyhä-Luosto Lapland 2013

Winterhike Luosto Finland 2013 33The annual Arctic winterhike took us to the Pyhä-Luosto National Park in Lapland, an area that we started exploring back in 2009. This park is one of the southernmost Arctic tundra plains. Southernmost is relative, it is still located 100 kilometers North of the Arctic Circle. To reach it we fly from Amsterdam via Helsinki to Rovaniemi. There we take the skibus to the Luosto ski resort, on the foot of the ‘Tunturi’, the treeless hills that form the National Park. We spend the first night in a very comfortable and typical Lappish cabin, which is part of the the Luostotunturi Hotel.
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Greenland 2012 blog – Ice

The title really describes the essence of Greenland: Ice. We know it was a big mistake to call Greenland green. Even Iceland is greener than Greenland. If you like green you go to Ireland. But if you like white, this is your destination. 82% percent of the vast landmass of Greenland is permanently covered by a thick icesheet. Glaciologists don’t refer to this ice as a glacier, but rather call it an icesheet. Officially this refers to an ice covered area larger than 50,000 km2. There are only two icesheets on the planet: one in Antarctica and one here in Greenland. Continue reading

Greenland 2012 blog – Traveling to Greenland

THe flight from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq is carried out by the only wide-body aircraft in the Air Greenland fleet, the Airbus A330 OY-GRN. The flight takes about 5 hours.In the summer of 2012 a colleague and I were asked to organize a tour to Greenland for a children’s TV show. They wanted to see global warming in the Arctic in action and visit the top locations where climate change is most visible. We had organized a similar tour in 2010, so no problem. We had six days for the entire trip, in which five episodes of the show had to be filmed, each with a different theme: language, icebergs, life of the Inuit, the inland icesheet, and sea level rise. So we proposed an itinerary to the world capital of Icebergs: Ilulissat, followed by a real Arctic expedition to the inland icesheet at Kangerlussuaq. I will divide this blog in similar parts. Continue reading

Winterhike blog – Kilpisjärvi 2011

“Don’t go in the mountains!”

Extreme koude onder het Noorderlicht op 69˚N

Winterhike2011_0321SFins/Noors Lapland 10 t/m 15 febuari 2011 – Dit was de meest noordelijke en koudste tocht van tot nog toe. Via Oslo reisden we naar de Noorse havenstad Tromsø, vanwaar we met de bus naar het Finse Kilpisjärvi gingen. Vanuit deze kleine nederzetting trokken we een van de grootste Arctische hoogvlakten van Lapland op, richting Noorwegen. Op zo’n 500 meter hoogte sliepen we in tenten en bivakzakken onder het Noorderlicht. Het is in februari langer donker dan licht, maar we hebben de zon zeker wel gezien. ‘s Nachts daalden de temperaturen tot rond -35C. Een echte uitdaging! Continue reading

Winterhike blog – Fins Lapland 2010

Noorderlicht, iglo’s en een kouderecord op 68.5˚N

De meest noordelijke tocht van tot nog toe. Een lange vliegtocht via Helsinki naar de noordelijkste luchthaven van Finland in Ivalo en daarna nog een half uurtje per auto naar het Wilderness Hotel in Nellim, op 10 kilometer van de Russische grens. Voor het eerst op ski’s, voor het eerst met de bedoeling in een zelfgebouwde iglo te slapen. Dus daar stonden we voor een donker hotel, met rugzak op wankele cross-country ski’s en de gezamenlijke spullen in de pulka. Continue reading

Winterhike blog – Hardangervidda 2009

The real heroes of Telemark

NOR2009_005Noorwegen, 12 t/m 16 maart 2009 – Na enkele jaren op rij te zijn weggeblazen uit de Schotse Cairngorms werd het tijd voor een nieuwe uitdagende bestemming. De mariniers gaan er al jaren heen, dus moesten wij het ook kunnen: in de voetsporen van de ‘Real heroes of Telemark’ die in 1942 de voorraden zwaar water bij de Vemork centrale in Centraal Noorwegen opbliezen. Op 12 maart vlogen we naar een dichtbewolkt Sandefjord en kwamen van een vroege lente in een heftige winter terecht. Gelukkig werd het een prachtig lang winterweekend langs de rand van de Hardangervidda. Kijk snel! Continue reading