On the second day we drank some more coffee and started painting.
Second day at the office
It was a little damp after the downpour in the morning, as we woke up in the tent (which we had set up at the yard of the accommodation they had booked for us). We packed everything up and we’d hang them to dry later.
We drove to the Nature Center for (yet another) morning coffee and ran into this salesman who kept talking and talking about nothing in particular but he was fun to listen to. He called us naught-walkers – he found it odd that people go into the fells for fun.
Satu, an employee of the Center corrected him. We weren’t there for leisure but to work.
The Pyhäkero Wilderness Hut is about an hour drive from the Nature Center. You go through a locked gate onto a forest road which wasn’t really suited for our station wagon. Another 1,5 kilometers worth of hiking from the parking lot and we were there. If you don’t take the boat ride across Ounasjärvi Lake, this is one of the trails you’ll be taking. Without the luxury of driving your car all the way the parking lot, of course.
We were really looking forward to the upcoming job.
It’s raining, now what?
We had just started and it was raining furiously. We didn’t sit on our hands, however and painted everything that wasn’t at the risk of getting rained on. The paint was Uula, which meant it was basically water in consistency. But it was very easy to paint with as soon as you came to terms with not using it like regular paint. Risto and Sauli, our field officers, built us a nice piece of scaffolding around the building. They’d also provided us with snacks, food and you guessed it, coffee. We had our own outdoor meals as well.
During the course of the day we also had plenty of chances to explore the surrounding environment and on our first day on location a flock of Siberian Jays kept us company. And by that I mean they nearly tried to steal our sandwiches. The Jays are really pretty and very, very comfortable with people.
We were pretty efficient with our painting so we didn’t do much during the evening. The rain kept on going so we entertained the idea of actually sleeping indoors but that was before we realized we could just set it up on the patio. Which we did. The yard was muddy and basically a swamp, so that wasn’t going to happen.
As we turned in, we still saw a few Siberian Jays, soaked from the rain, just staring us from the trees. We got to talking how coming here was a great idea. Volunteer stuff really makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. The National Park becomes your own and after spending a week or two working there, you feel a deeper connection with the locals and appreciate the area a whole lot more.
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.