THE STORY OF APUKKA RESORT
We all have a story to tell. A story that begins from the dawn of our time and is altered by all the small encounters and decisions met along the path. A story full of enchanting memories, unique moments and brave individuals. As any story when told, this story will open our soul and heart to the reader. This, our dear friends, is the story of Apukka.
The early days of Lapland
As you might expect in Finnish Lapland, the story of Apukka Resort started from ice. 12 000 years ago the area was covered by glacial ice over 2 000 m thick. As the ice age ended roughly 9000 years ago, the people started to make their way to the surroundings of lake Olkka about 2 000 years after this. The scenery surrounding them in this new world was the creation of the melted ice cover – the previously sharp hilltops were polished by the moving ice and the valleys were carved to a perfection by the powerful flow of glacial waters. And in this terrain, the story started to build its chapters.
Most likely the first people in the surroundings of Apukka were Sámi. Nature would talk and they would listen, living their lives in harmony with the surrounding wilderness. They’d live in small communities as nomads, following the fish and game from the coast to the inland. The rich fishing waters of the area also brought the Finns to the surroundings of lake Olkka around the 14th century. The Sámi and the Finns inhabited the area together in peace, gaining their nutrition from nature and getting around by the means of a reindeer or a horse sleigh. In a place with plentiful water ways, boats have been rowed on the waters of Lake Olkka for thousands of years as a method of getting around.
The time of taverns
As the pages of the story turn forwards, the number of people inhabiting the North grew. In the late 1700s there was a growing need for taverns offering a bed for a tired traveller and so in 1865 began a new chapter of Apukka’s story as it opened its doors as a tavern of the crown.
Already in the 18th century taverns, like the one in Apukka, started to operate underneath the crown, obliged to follow the laws and regulations given. The taverns would serve anyone travelling through the open plains and forests of the far up North and were obliged to offer a warm bed for anyone with sufficient wealth to provide for their upkeep in the tavern. Each tavern would have horses and carriage riders to provide the travellers a safe passage to their next location and the prices of this were to be seen on the walls of the tavern – one might say that this was the very beginning of public transportation in Finland. Together the taverns created a network as they were located roughly every 20 kilometres. In wintertime the tracks in between taverns were marked with pine branches so they wouldn’t disappear in the deep snow.
The tavern of Apukka was always ready to greet travellers and adventurers from all around the world, ensuring that there was always a comfortable bed ready for the venturers of the unknown. The traditional food served was abundant and the glasses would never fall empty. Laughter and joy would fill the tavern as the guests shared the stories from their astonishing adventures.
The tavern of Apukka, well known around the area for its great horses, was open until the 1930s. Many great stories were shared by the big fireplace during those decades of the tavern, many laughters echoed and filled the building with joy – even an airplane was built inside the tavern of Apukka by Johan Lindström in 1926. Johan was the middle son of the family running the tavern of Apukka in those times and as the years passed, several airplanes originated from his hands, some of them rising to the height of 500 meters in the skies. Later on as the gold rush reached Lapland, Johan was piloting people from Rovaniemi to Ivalo, charging a fee of either 1500 markkas or 3,5 grams of gold per traveller. Together with the youngest son of the family, Jukka, they also built a 1-2 passenger sled, designed to be pulled behind a motorcycle such as Harley-Davidson on the snowy roads of Lapland. Today in Apukka, we think of this sled as the ancestor of our Snowtrain.
The wind of change blows over Apukka
As the decades passed the tavern was met by a new chapter, and in 1938 Apukka became a nature research station – taking the premises to a path Apukka followed until 2012. Fishing in the area continued and logging became a big part of the Lappish lifestyle as the years went past. The rivers meeting lake Olkka were used to float logs and a log mill was built on the opposite side of the road from Apukka. And all the time, Apukka stood proudly on the side of lake Olkka.
The new era of Apukka begins
In the year 2017 the opening words of a new chapter were drafted in the story of Apukka as it was bought by brave and innovative local men. As they saw the place for the first time, close to a century had passed since its glorious tavern days when Apukka had been filled with echoing laughter and joy, but the men could see beyond the rough exterior of Apukka. They could see all the possibilities Apukka carried and little by little, their imagination took them further until they had a clear image in their minds – the image of what would soon become Apukka Resort.
As the men were in creation of something new whilst never forgetting to respect the old, a hammer in one hand and notebook for ideas in another they together brought the old tavern of Apukka back to life. One log, one innovation and one adventure at a time they built something authentic, a place that would leave a beautiful, lasting mark in the minds of the travellers seeking adventure and authenticity from the heart of Lapland.
Today, as the owners of Apukka look back on how the story of Apukka began, the memory of the challenge they took on several years ago spreads a wide smile on their faces. Though having backgrounds from completely different fields of work such as construction, information technology and advertising, their paths had entwined with hospitality already before Apukka came into their lives. However, Apukka presented a whole new kind of challenge and an adventure unlike anything they knew to expect. The plan that had started somewhat small from building ice cabins and offering Northern Light excursions had in a heartbeat turned into a full-service resort – a realization that truly struck them when they found themselves baking cinnamon rolls and cooking dinners in the kitchen during the first winter season.
The owners of Apukka say it feels Apukka has led them to an expedition of a lifetime. The countless new skills learnt, the unforgettable encounters witnessed and the transformation journey of Apukka that they’ve composed make them feel both proud and grateful of the path they’ve chosen. For the owners of Apukka, it’s never been just a resort. For them, Apukka Resort is a dream come true, a place where their passion towards the North can be shared with others. A warm-hearted place where each guest is welcomed as a dear friend.
Today, the new chapter in the story of Apukka has just begun and it’s proving to be full of magic and adventures. This, our dear friends, is where the story of Apukka continues from.