Day 3: Hiking the trails of the Vikings

The weather forecast for the day was not very exciting. Since visit to Kiruna would be incomplete without hiking in Abisko, we decided to head towards this famous national park. Abisko is the particularly famous for Aurora hunting and often tops the list of best places in the world to see the Northern lights. The lake Torneträsk in Abisko, which remains frozen throughout the winter, is famed to provide a cloud free microclimate to the area.

Our agenda clearly didn’t include Northern lights but to explore the amazing hiking trails.  The famous Kings Trail that extends all the way across northern Sweden starts in this National park. The place is breathtaking with lakes, mountains and waterfalls, all frozen at the moment. Laura had hiked the region in September and was apparently even more beautiful with the fall colors. Making a mental note to do more of this hike sometime in the future we returned to Kiruna.

Walking on the river Torneträsk lake:

The frozen waterfall:

Church in Kiruna:

Sky cleared up by the time we reached town and had a wonderful view of sunset from the Ski Hill in the town. You get to see more vibrant colors in the Arctic region and a sunset is as beautiful as the Northern lights themselves. After exploring the tiny little town, we had this idea of going on a Northern lights exploration since it was my last night in Kiruna. The weather and Aurora forecast apps predicted clear skies and hence more probability to see them around towns more south to Kiruna. We drove towards the south searching for the magic lights. Within half an hour of drive outside the town the Northern lights started to appear.  We did a bit of experimentation with Aurora photography and managed to take our photos with the Northern lights as the backdrop. Having taken a couple of pictures and feeling totally satisfied with the Aurora sightings we headed back for dinner. At this time I had no clue that the best part was yet to come.

Northern Lights somewhere south of Kiruna:

I was forced to leave my dinner halfway and gaze out into the sky when Aurora suddenly decided to manifest herself in her full majesty as emerald green waves all over the sky. As my friend pointed out, maybe the nature was trying to impress me since I wasn’t excited enough initially about this amazing phenomenon. I was truly impressed and amazed. Till that point I hadn’t believed that you will be able to see them as amazing as in the pictures out there. This time they were even visible to the sensors of my smartphone.

Aurora all over the sky:

My friend’s cabin:

More sightings :

The day concluded with a student party in one of the four clubs in the town. It was interesting to meet some Indian students who had come up to pursue a Masters in Space Science. Apparently they also had a Keralite in their batch and then came the famous tagline: Mallus are everywhere. The youth hostel where I was staying for the night had a sauna which was relaxing after the day out in the cold.

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