When we got out of the car, there was a frost of -29 degrees Celsius. Even so we weren’t frozen – except for the icicles on our faces caused by our condensing breath.
Up in the fells the temperature has risen by over ten degrees. We are stunned by the enchantingly beautiful scenery – a full moon illuminates our surroundings and highlights the silhouettes of the fells and their contrasting shadows.
You can turn off your headlamps, it’s almost as bright as daylight.
The Polar night is the season of the year when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon beyond the Arctic (and Antarctic) circles.
At Ylläs, the Arctic night begins in mid December and lasts for 20 days. Once the sun has set beyond the horizon, only a glow is visible even at its brightest point, and daylight is mostly a form of twilight.
Local people are used to the dark and know that the Arctic night isn’t totally pitch black, but is made up of different shades of light that only appear at this time.
At their best, the incredibly beautiful visual displays in the Arctic night are visible when there are no clouds – during the day the sun lights the sky in pastel shades, while at night the Northern Lights, stars and moonlight together create a fairytale-like ambience.
The Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park begins at Ylläs and continues northward to Enontekiö. Its distinguishing feature are the fells that rise above the coniferous Arctic forests and form an unbroken chain of treeless summits stretching out to the North.
During the Polar night, the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park also offers excellent opportunities to study Arctic nature. The extensive range of park trails are well marked for use with skis, mountain bikes and snow shoes.
Rental cabins located around in the park provide secure overnight accommodation in the wilderness.
Being so far north, temperatures in the Arctic night can drop very low indeed. During a high-pressure phase, the normal night temperature is around -30° C.
According to an old Finnish saying, weather is just a matter of dressing properly. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. Enjoy the Arctic night by dressing appropriately to face the Polar climate. Layered clothing, warm footwear, gloves and headwear, as well as staying dry are all keys to enjoying the extreme cold.
Keep warm by staying on the move, but avoid excessive sweating and keep your clothes dry.
In the National Park, it is essential to follow the marked trails, as getting lost will greatly increase the risk of frostbite.
Be sure to tell someone what your planned route will be and when you intend to return. Check that you have some means of confirming and reporting your location at all times.
In case of emergency, call 112. This is the common emergency telephone number. If you have already installed the free 112 app on your phone, this will help emergency services to locate and reach you as quickly as possible. Download the 112 app from Apple Store or Play Store.
If you’re staying in Äkäslompolo, it’s worth visiting the Yllästunturi Visitor Centre to get more information about exploring the park, staying overnight in cabins, and park regulations.