Snowmobiling – Redux

The weather chaos of yesterday meant that many tour operators had to cancel their trips into the Lyngen Alps. At their meeting point at the Rica Ishavs Hotel at 8.45 a.m., the driver was still trying to convince people that the dogsled tour was cancelled because of the bad snow. But the skies finally cleared and the first light hit the corona of peaks in the Troms region as the Lyngsfjord Adventure bus hit the road – with me on it.

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Camp Tamok is approximately 90 minutes away from Tromsø and the heart of the Lyngsfjord Adventure tour. I met Mike, my snowmobile guide who trained as a helicopter technician in college. With another Italian couple who proclaim to hate TV but love the internet with the little English they speak, we took off into the highlands over fresh, deep snow.

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“The trail will be hard today,” Mike said, “because of the storm yesterday. I woke up at 5 a.m. today to make a trail and I tipped over in my snowmobile. In all my 20 years driving a snowmobile this has never happened.”

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We stopped halfway at a quaint little hut in midst of the mountains and breathed the suffocating smell of firewood cackling in the air. Like caricatures of the stereotypical Italian, the Italian tourists spoke about pasta and spaghetti when Mike told them he was going to Rome in March 2014. At our return, there was reindeer stew (makes me wonder if they just felled one of those that took the tourists for a sleighride) and Lefsa, a traditional Norwegian dessert cake that had me beating myself for not finding these little treasures earlier. The Lavvu (a huge Sami tent that can easily sit up to eighty) was our own holding pen against the chill, filled with smoke from damp wood that didn’t burn clean and crisp.

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Darkness overtook whatever little light there was by about 2 p.m.. Just as people herded reindeer earlier, they were themselves herded into the bus that unerringly took them back to Tromsø, a reminder that for the experience of life up north, this is after all, a tourist-run event.

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