Arctic Cocooning Is the Newest Winter Activity in Finland & More Trending News


arctic cacooning

After crawling right into a hammock tethered between two pine bushes, I’m tucked in below a heat, cozy blanket that shields me from the surrounding freezing temps. The solely factor uncovered to the climate is my face, which I shortly disguise below the blanket to maintain heat. I’m given a mild push and start swaying beneath the towering bushes. It’s the good time for an Arctic nap, or in case you’re like me and might’t sleep, an ideal time to chill out and mirror, whereas the solely sounds round are my very own breath and a tender wind whooshing by way of the bushes.

For about half an hour, I lay in winter’s silence, watching the bushes above dance below a blue sky dotted with cotton sweet clouds. As I breathe in, the scent of the campfire a brief distance away fills my nostrils. I’m at HaliPuu, a pine and birch forest in Veitservasa in the Arctic Circle, the place this hammock exercise—referred to as arctic cocooning—is another type of forest bathing.

winter hammock

It’s really not unusual in Finland for fogeys to place their infants outdoors in chilly climate to sleep in sub-zero temps. They say the contemporary air helps enhance sleep. Why not give it a attempt for adults?

This most mild of Arctic adventures is way extra accessible to your common individual. No arduous core ice spikes wanted right here, regardless of the far-north journey to get to HaliPuu, close to the distant Lappish city of Levi. It’s a two-flight sort of vacation spot. After taking the fundamental flight to Finland, guests will wish to get on a second, shorter home flight.

Finnair gives nonstop tickets to Helsinki from Dallas, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. From Helsinki, one other Finnair flight whisks passengers to Kittilä in the Arctic Circle. Upon touchdown, you’ll be able to lease a automobile or prepare a automobile service for a brief 20 minute drive to HaliPuu. There, the arctic cocooning exercise awaits, together with cozy campfire treats and heat drinks.

winter activities

HaliPuu, a 25-acre forest that’s been in the identical household for generations, wasn’t all the time a spot for arctic enjoyable. At first, the purpose was to chop these bushes down, because it started as a forest for harvesting lumber.

In 1948, compelled to flee the battles of WWII, Kaarle Raekallio moved right here as a baby along with his household from Petsamo, Finland—now referred to as Pechenga, Russia—close to the Barents Sea. The household fled the space when Russia invaded and ended up in the forest in Veitservasa. Selling lumber from the forest supplied an revenue for the household, and Kaarle spent his life in these woods, gathering pinecones for seeds and later working as a lumberjack whereas concurrently striving to assist the forest develop wholesome.

winter activities finland
Photo by Amanda Ogle

In 2014, Kaarle and his household determined they wished to protect the forest and maintain the bushes standing as a substitute of chopping them down. It was Easter, and Kaarle and the household had been sitting in the woods, grilling sausages and ingesting espresso, when Kaarle famous that the forest was ripe for felling, however he didn’t wish to reduce it down.

“He was kind of joking, but he said ‘let’s adopt the trees to people of the world as hugging trees,’” says Riitta Raekallio-Wunderink, Kaarle’s daughter. “I immediately felt it was a brilliant idea and started developing the thought further.”

tree hugging

Tree hugging, a component of forest bathing, is understood for its well being advantages, together with diminished stress ranges, boosted immunity, and lowered coronary heart fee and blood stress.

First, HaliPuu got here to life as a spot the place guests may “adopt” a tree, the place they buy a tree from the forest after which go to it to expertise the therapeutic energy of nature and tree hugging. But Riitta wished to do extra, so she got here up with the thought of arctic cocooning. “I had a vision of hammocks hanging between the trees, and it immediately made sense to me,” she says. And as I rock backwards and forwards in my hammock, bundled up like a child as I soak in the great thing about the forest, it is smart to me, too.

Of course, many guests attempt to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights whereas in the Arctic Circle. The glass-domed igloos at Levin Iglut are good for this, as you’ll be able to relaxation from the heat of your mattress whereas staring up at the sky, watching the Lights dance in shades of inexperienced, blue, and purple. Levin Iglut has a restaurant on website for a three- or five-course menu that modifications with the season, however usually options native produce like berries, fish, and lichen. The resort may prepare actions comparable to snowshoeing and reindeer farm visits.

camping coffee

Back at HaliPuu, eyes closed and in an Arctic oasis, I really feel a mild nudge on my shoulder. It’s Riitta, who whispers that I’m welcome to proceed cocooning or make my strategy to the campfire the place her husband, Steffan Wunderink, is whipping up heat drinks and treats. Of course, the abdomen wins and I head to the campfire a brief distance away.

Pots, kettles, and occasional makers heat over the open hearth, and Steffan recommends I attempt his soiled chai latte, made with Lappish chaga syrup, juniper berries, and birch leaves, which add an Arctic twist to an already stellar latte. As I sip my heat drink and roast a selfmade lingonberry marshmallow over the hearth, Steffan tells me he thinks he is perhaps the world’s first campfire barista, a title he’s proud to say as he makes sizzling goodies and passes out lingonberry-chocolate chunk cookies. Sure, there have been folks previous to Steffan who’ve made coffees over a campfire, however what number of of them are harvesting chaga mushrooms from birch bushes to boil down into their very own selfmade syrup for specialty Arctic lattes? Campfire barista, certainly.

arctic cocooning finland
Photo by Amanda Ogle

After warming up, Riitta and Steffan encourage me to go out into the forest and select a tree that speaks to me. Riitta tells me it may be any tree; I simply want to present it a great hug to reap in these tree-hugging advantages. I select a towering pine, wrap my arms round it, and provides it a squeeze. Riitta demonstrates urgent her cheek in opposition to the bark, which I emulate. It feels foolish at first, however quickly sufficient, I really feel at peace in the forest. It’s virtually like hugging a beloved one—a beloved one with a tough, scratchy face.

I gaze round the forest, trying again at my hammock strung between two bushes, the smoky campfire, and rows of bushes standing in the forest, ready for a hammock or a hug. This place was by no means meant to be reduce down. It was meant to convey pleasure and leisure to those that don’t get to see magic like this too usually. It was meant for Arctic cocooning. I say goodbye to my tree and make my means by way of the snow, hoping to return in the future for a bit extra Finnish solace.

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Amanda Ogle is a Contributor for Thrillist.

Arctic Cocooning Is the Newest Winter Activity in Finland

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