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As it happened at the end of summer 2022, we sold our motorbikes and turned to an auction website in search of snowmobiles. What caught our eye, though, was a plot of land on the banks of the Äkäsjoki River, hosting an admittedly dilapidated log cabin.

Excited, we started to dig deeper into what the surrounding area had to offer. A mere hundred meters to state hunting lands! Four kilometers to the Muonio River for salmon fishing! A 40-meter walk to our own beach for grayling fishing! Thirty minutes to Ylläs, an hour to Pallas, and 25 km to Äkäslompolo. Sixteen kilometers to the train station by car train, and the airport just 70km away! Such opportunities don’t come around every day, and this one was at the end of the road, no less! After a couple of days of pondering, we joined the auction and soon found ourselves the owners of a “cabin”. We paused, stunned, wondering how this had happened.

 

The meaning of “Dismantled” for the unyielding Optimist

Both of us had a strong feeling that this was meant for us. We had long dreamed of a hideaway in the Lapland wilderness. The peeking river view from the top of the hill in the auction picture had made an impression, despite the handful of pictures not providing a very precise image of the place. Nor of the cabin, for that matter.

Being eternal optimists, we figured that a log cabin could always be repaired. We packed our overnight gear from Tahko and hit the road to check out what we had actually bought.

Once we arrived on-site, it was immediately clear that yes, the cabin was indeed “in need of demolition”. To our delight, we discovered a spring right beneath the cabin. What didn’t exactly bring a smile to our faces, though, was the fact that the cabin, which had been standing empty for 20 years, had practically collapsed into the spring. Nature had claimed its dominion and gnawed the cabin’s foundations into splinters. The obstinate cabin leaned askew, half immersed in the cheerfully flowing mountain stream.

The picture reveals the original cabin, teetering on the edge of demolition, and an accompanying shed.

Time Had Stood Still 20 Years Ago

Inside, it seemed as though someone had simply vanished, leaving their life behind with the thought of returning someday. How intriguing it would be to uncover its story. Coffee cups sat on the table next to an open newspaper from 2003, and dishes were left unwashed. It was as if time had stood still. As a result of the spring beneath the cabin, the floor had partially rotted away, though it wasn’t quite bad enough for a boot to fall through. It was clear that there would be no sleeping there that night. Mice had been partying.

“Well then,” said the Norwegian, scrunching up his face as he walked around the cabin. The host concluded, “this might be a bigger project than I had planned.”

 

Planning the New Cabin

But no matter. The plot was gorgeous. After downing a bottle of wine to soften the shock, the host by the salmon river began planning how to erect a new cabin. A call was made to an old friend, Seppo, who makes hand-carved log cabins for a living. Seppo lives in Pyhäjärvi, which isn’t an absurd distance from Kolari. If the old cabin wasn’t salvageable, then the idea was to create a dream cabin of our own. The old cabin could serve as a woodshed.

In no time at all, there was a plan for a new cabin. The healthy logs from the old one would be taken and turned into a storage shed. Renting it out would offset some costs.

Some time was spent with permissions, but half a year later, in May 2023, we were there examining the plot and direction of the cabin. Meanwhile, Seppo had already felled a few spruces, opening up a magnificent slope view of the Äkäsjoki. The location was even more beautiful than first remembered.

Over the winter, trees had been surveyed, felled, and carved into logs. From these, the dream hideaway was beginning to take shape. It would be ready by the fall. The cabin will be rented out and available for booking from October 2023 onwards.

 

A Personal Spring – An All-Year-Round Ice Hole!

The personal spring was an incredible surprise that we hadn’t known about. It provides a refreshing, cold stream of drinking water from the mountains and an ice hole! As enthusiastic ice swimmers, we had dreamed of an all-year-round ice hole. The water flowing from the spring nicely positions the ice hole next to the cabin, making it easily accessible straight from the sauna. The drinking water is taken from higher up the spring, and the excess water is directed downwards so that the ice hole maintains a constant flow of water.

Now, you can secure the Äkäsjoki Hideaway for your use starting from the beginning of October at half the price! Check out our reservation calendar here and make your booking, or drop us an email at: jani@wanhakoulu.fi!

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