Day 24: Into The Cosmic Mountains

Stunning sunrises are easily-available things, really, but how often do we choose to stand and drink in that life-affirming sight? Not often enough, I suspect. I know I don’t – I’m usually either still asleep (summer) or doing something supposedly more important (winter).

Sunrise in Lapland

But this morning I’m up and ready and the world is mine alone in which to do as I please. And to watch the arrival of a new day, from my outstanding vantage point on the edge of a frozen lake in deepest Lapland – it’s about as close to a religious experience as this atheist is ever going to get.

Why do we, as a species, find beauty in some things and not in others? What evolutionary advantage could there be to the appreciation of such a sight – and why aren’t other species doing it? Why exactly have we become pre-programmed to revere and awe these operatic natural displays?

The mountains beckon, and I soon hit them from the east; just as an incoming warm front hits them from the west. Clouds boil close above me and appear to move at supersonic speeds; the temperature screams upward. By lunchtime I’m sweating and considering diving into a lake just as soon as I can find one that’s not frozen over.

And by late afternoon, the mercury has soared to a totally tropical 3°C – yes, that’s right, a positive number! It’s insane – this is the farthest north I’ve ever been, up in the mountains a few kilometres shy of the Arctic Circle, and it’s mid-winter – yet the temperature is thirty-six degrees warmer than it was a fortnight ago. Nowhere else have I experienced such unstable lurchings of climate as here in Scandinavia.

I leave the battery in my camera rather than keeping it in my clothes – and my lens has never had so much fun. This assortment is a poor substitute for the actual journey through these otherworldly valleys and waterways, but I hope that you get the gist nonetheless.

Ethereal frozen lake
Snow road into the mountains
Treelined sky
Lapland lakes
Boiling clouds
Stupendous sunset

Schwalbe bicycle tyres, Extrawheel single-wheel trailers

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3 Responses to “Day 24: Into The Cosmic Mountains”

  1. Liz

    Wow – the photos just get more stunning.

    Reply
  2. Tom Evans

    Beautiful Photos; amazing trip so far!

    Reply
  3. Steve Mitchell

    “Why do we, as a species, find beauty in some things and not in others? What evolutionary advantage could there be to the appreciation of such a sight — and why aren’t other species doing it? Why exactly have we become pre-programmed to revere and awe these operatic natural displays?”

    Birds celebrate the birth of a new day, we are not alone.
    As to why my only thoughts are that we are diurnal creatures & most of the top predators nocturnal.
    Waking & finding bits of you haven’t been eaten in the night is truly something worth celebrating ;o)
    Thanks for sharing this chapter of your life.
    It’s been thoroughly enjoyable.

    Reply

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