Petroglyphs in Alta, Norway.
After our expedition to Svalbard, which divided our Scandinavian expedition, we were able to self drive Lapland for about two weeks. We did plan some quality time in a national parks like Finland's Lemonjoki and Sweden's Abisco National Park and Norway's Alta Petroglyphs National Park. We had some good birding luck and saw some nice mammals as well. Near Alta, Norway we were able to see at least 10 individuals of the few remaining wild and native populations of Mountain Caribou (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) including two major bulls. We saw thousands of the domesticated varieties throughout Lapland and Salmi country. We encountered a common Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) near Hornoya. European Red Squirrels were extremely common throughout the drive. While in Lemonjoki National Park in Finland, we had a decent viewing of a European Beaver (Castor fiber) and the Eurasian River Otter. We did get glimpse along the road of European Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) although all but one or two were road-kill. But there is little doubt that one of our most phenomenal afternoons of the entire three month expedition was our voyage amongst the Sperm Whales off the coast of Tromso, Norway. We spent three full hours viewing literally dozens of dozing sperm whales. As viewing restrictions are FAR more relaxed in Norway (which still hunts whales sadly) than in the states, we were able to get very close indeed. In fact there were several instances I felt we were truly disturbing the whales, although the close proximity allowed for spectacular photographs.
While this expedition was basically designed as a "filler" to complete our summer, it ended up allowing us a very detailed glimpse of the wonderful scenery, culture and nature of one of the few wilderness regions left anywhere in Europe. We very much enjoyed our road trip to Lapland!
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Here are some images that will give you a glimpse of what we experienced: