Lofoten Islands in February

Winter storm over snow covered beach, Unstad, Lofoten islands, Norway

Photo: Unstad beach in winter, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  January 2010

Over Christmas I bought myself just a single present, and at least one thing to look forward to in the new year:  Flights to Lofoten!

On the evening of Feb 12, I’ll land in Bodø.  I chose to fly on a Tuesday for a couple reasons.  First, because the flight was pretty cheap.  And more importantly for me, sleep.  Or more specifically, the ferry to the islands leaves Bodø at 01:30 early Wednesday morning.  And this ferry travels via the island of Væerøy instead of direct to Moskenes, which means that I’ll have to possibility of about 5 hours of somewhat comfortable sleep before arriving on the islands; the padded seats of the ferry being much more comfortable than the floor of the waiting room in Bodø.   And since I’ll have been up since about 02:00 Tuesday morning for the 3.5 hour drive to the airport from Wales, 5 hours of sleep will be much enjoyed!  And then I’m on the islands shortly before sunrise and ready for the day instead of walking around like some zombie in some sleep deprivation coma.

I haven’t booked my return ticket yet as I actually don’t know where I’ll go when I leave.  The default would be back to the UK for a few weeks before heading back to California, but I’m not sure if they’ll let me back in or not.  The other possibility would be just go directly home to California after Lofoten.  Or a third option, but more difficult option, stay in Europe a bit longer.  It’s really been on my mind to make a ski tour of the northern Kungsleden, but this will probably be a bit difficult for me logistically so might have to wait a few more years.

I’m also going to be a little more ambitious on this trip and bring my winter climbing gear (ice tools, boots/crampons, etc) and maybe try and get up a few easy mountains (solo), or if I’m lazy, just do a bit of roadside ice climbing (no lack of this in Lofoten) on days with crappy weather.  Should at least be better than sitting around the car and reading to pass the time away.  And if by some amazing chance there is a forecast for calm weather for a day or two, I might even try and camp on Reinebringen for a night.

In the past year I’ve spend 2 months north of the Arctic Circle, but for the most part, the Northern Lights eluded me.  Mostly this was down to bad luck in my timing as on numerous occasions I missed fantastic displays by only a day or two.  Or the only time I did witness a good showing, I was on a damn boat!  So fingers crossed for a little more luck this year…

Winter sunrise on frozen lake Urvatnet, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Urvatnet winter sunrise, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  February 2012

ice on Nedre Heimdalsvatnet, Eggum, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Ice covers Nedre Heimdalsvatnet, Eggum, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  February 2012

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