So I’ll tell you what we did and didn’t do on out first day as volunteers.
I’m not sure if it’s clear enough but we were swinging paint brushes around in the North in late August/Early September. But on the first day we didn’t swing anything around.
On Monday morning we woke up next to the Pallas hut and waddled on to the Nature Center. Meeting us there was Ritu, our volunteer coordinator who was direct, sweet and full of ideas – my kind of woman! She made sure we felt comfortable sleeping in the tent. Two other couples were also present and another person joined us later on.
We started off with coffee and we had some, even though we had just made our own not 30 minutes ago.
Little did we know our gastric ulcers would develop further during these two weeks. Northern people love their coffee.
Sipping from our cups, we watched a short documentary of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, which was nice but ancient. They told us an upgrade is on its way so sadly you probably won’t see the same master piece. The landscape in the videos and photos looked gorgeous and I couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed.
After the video Ritu gave us some contracts to sign and vests to wear and coffee. Yes, more coffee. So in short, we got a bag full of goodies. And coffee.
They gave us a tour around the Pallas Hotel (more on that later) and had some delicious salmon soup.
After the soup we were divided into three groups: one for Ylläs, one for Pallas and one (us) for Hetta. I was so excited! I had fallen in love with the Pyhäkero area on our last visit.
We drove to Hetta from the East side, which was also called the Fell Road. The landscape was beautiful but we decided to drive on since it would take us ages to reach Hetta if I had given Heikki the option to stop every time we saw something pretty. Once we got there, our local contact Risto told us it was too late in the day to start anything so we could just relax. It was only half past one in the afternoon but as it turned out later on, the road to our destination was as small dirt road which took a while to go through.
So we set up our tent on the yard of the residence they had provided us. We visited the Nature Center and accidentally volunteered as help for bird house building in the Väärtipäivät Event. Thanks a lot, Satu! 🙂
We visited the local supermarket, packed our tube backpacks again and again and wrote down blog stuff (and tried to ask people to get a cup of coffee with us). We were getting a little nervous about what the volunteer work actually entailed.
Honestly, at first I thought we’d be more of a nuisance but we figured it would at least boost the image, both ours and theirs.
I’ll tell you how the week went on a little later but I think the first day showed us that we were treated right.
In August through September of 2016 we were volunteering at Pallas-Ylläs National Park. We applied a new coat of paint to several huts and other buildings, first in Hetta’s Pyhäkero and later around the vicinity of Pallaskota. Everything involving this particular experience can be found under the tag National Park Volunteers. That and The earlier adventure aka our first Lapland hike can be found here.