Inari, Lapland, Finland.
Summer smiled at us, as we drove onto the parking lot. It was nearly 15 degrees Celsius, the best T-shirt- and shorts-weather you can possible get this high north. And that was what we were wearing. Underneath a sweater off course. We couldn’t be more impatient for our day at the lake of Inarijärvi.
“No problem, you can rent a kayak for the afternoon!” The man behind the counter said. “Here, I’m going to give you this map first and draw you some possible routes on it. Best to follow the riverbanks though, it is very easy to get lost! The lake counts more than 3000 islands! Before you know it you don’t know anymore which are the banks of an island and which are the real riverbanks.” He told us with a very serious stare in his eyes. I recognised it as the ‘please-don’t be-an-ignorant-tourist’-stare. Unfortunately a heavily used technique.
After being briefed on all safety aspects, we headed outside to gather the equipment. “Here you can take this one, I will help you carry it to the river bank”. He said before he helped Koen dragging the boat, while I wobbled behind with the safety jackets. “You do have rain jackets with you?” The guy concluded before we set off. “It will rain shortly.” While looking a bit suspicious at the blue sky, we set of on the labyrinth lake.
We could have guessed what followed. A dark blue cloud started rolling from the islands on the horizon. Bringing along as much water as the lake already held. We were soaked within minutes. But there was something magical about the whole setting. Kayaking between a thousand waterways in rain so thick it cleared away half your sight. The drumming sound of water hitting water, releasing the smell of the trees even more. I lifted my head and allowed nature to fall on me. Soaking it all in.
The clouds cleared away after an hour and we enjoyed the remaining hours in the sun. A blessed summer day.
I’m not going to quack about being prepared for all weather again. By now you should know the drill. Bring the right gear and you can enjoy the lake of Inarijärvi in all types of weather. If you are planning on testing the water, please follow the advise from the tourist information centres and rental services. They are not lying when they warn you about getting lost. It does happen easier as you think.
Find more information here: https://www.inarisaariselka.fi/en/inari/