We didn't have much time. KP works as a teacher so February half term was our only option. We had promised to one another to go on a quick expedition after a glass of wine too many in December. I get a feeling about whether a trip is going to happen and I got it with this one so it happened. It's a gut feeling - is it worth it? Am I fully committed? I get this feeling because I'm the type of person who can't help but go full steam ahead on an idea that I fall in love with.
So we made a cheers and a pinky promise to start our plans to go back to the Arctic and sure enough, the next day I had made the calls, planned the best dates and got our basic route figured out. It was on.
We didn't have much time nor money to spend so our budget was tight.
I decided our best option was to head to the Finnsmarkvidda plateau which is high above the Arctic circle in very northern Norway. I know this area well. In 2014 myself and two others had crossed the plateau from North to South in Arctic winter. I'd met Liv at the end of that expedition. I would then go on to teaming up with her in early 2017 for our Norwegian-Russian border ski but she fell ill and so I was left to go alone.
This time KP and I would ski the shorter, and admittedly more trodden West to East route of the plateau (Alta to Karasjok). It wouldn't take more than 5 days but it would most definitely give us the Arctic fix that we both so much wanted and needed.
Polar expeditions are notorious big money snappers and of course we weren't going near any of the poles which is where the real costs come in but you can still get a real Arctic experience once above the Arctic circle.
I will write more about the trip soon but below are just some of the ways we saved money.
I must stress that this is for those with extensive winter and Arctic experience! If you do not have the correct experience, please please please seek a guided trip!
Flights to Alta are cheap if you get the right time and are prepared to have long waiting times... We went for the cheapest, admittedly our wait for the connection was over 12 hours but we planned it to be during the night.
Most would choose to go to a hotel, not us. We had all our tent gear and it's nothing new to me to sleep on airport floors. (Oslo is a fantastic airport to sleep in btw. Copenhagen, not so much!!)
BRING FOOD WITH YOU
Firepot by Outdoor Food supplied our meals - if you haven't tried them yet, where have you been?!
We all know that Norway is super expensive for us Brits. KP and I decided to take food for every single day. No need to buy ANY food before or after the trip... It adds up!
At the end of the ski, we needed to get back to Alta in the cheapest way possible so we did the risky business of hitchhiking. We waited a few hours for a car to go past, worrying we'd miss our flight but after a few drove past without stopping, a young man stopped and gave us a lift half way. We soon found our second lift who took us all the way to Alta.
WE COULD HAVE GONE CHEAPER BUT WE COULDN'T RESIST...
Our little treat to ourselves as at the end of the trip was staying at the Engholm Husky Lodge in Karasjok. It's an incredible price for what you get and the most beautiful, place you will ever stay. It is all handmade by the owner, Sven Engholm and when I say all, I mean all of it. Simply incredible and not to be missed!