New Year skiing in Saariselkä

We decided to go skiing for 4 days around New Year’s. It’s still very dark and the days are short, but we were sure it would be all right to ski in the dark. So we drove from Sodankylä to Saariselkä and Urho Kekkonen National Park. There are open huts and you can also reserve a spot for a small charge. We didn’t know, if it was a popular time to be out there and we wanted to sleep inside. So we reserved the sleeping places in advance and picked up the key from Kiilopää.

Skiing in to the unknown, Urho Kekkonen National Park

On the first day we skied for 14 kilometres to Suomunruoktu hut. We were the only ones there so we could have stayed at the open hut too.
Skiing in Urho Kekkonen Nationalpark

The next day we started climbing up towards Tuiskukuru hut, where we had lunch. This pictures is close to Vintilä fjell. It was beautiful up there with the trees covered in snow.

Skiing in the dark in Urho Kekkonen National Park

Shortly after our lunch break it was already time to get the head torches out. We followed an old snowmobile track, which was still visible. It wasn’t too difficult to find our way in the dark. But it was a long day to Luirojärvi hut, about 23 kilometres. The open sauna for anyone to use was waiting for us thre and it was already warm as we arrived. A great way to relax and wash yourself after a long day of skiing.

Skiing in Saariselkä

The weather was cloudy all the time, so we didn’t see any Northern Lights. But otherwise it was really nice, around -10 degrees Celsius.

Blue moment in Finnish Lapland in January

I like the light at this time of the year a lot. It is a special feeling being outside!

Skiing after dark in January

The short days meant skiing in the dark every day. Going down hill is a bit more interesting especially, if it is a steeper and longer hill. A few times we just had to ski into the deep snow to stop our speed.

Snow covered trees

We spent the third night back at Suomunruoktu hut. So 23 kilometres also on the third skiing day.

 

A glimpse of the sun close to Niilanpää hut

On the last day it was just 14 kilometres back to the car. As you can see it was almost sunny. 🙂 This was the first time during the trip, when the sky was not completely covered.
We saw some other people along the way, but it wasn’t crowded at all. About 75 kilometres of skiing in 4 days. The second day felt pretty tough, but the same route back on the third day felt much easier. Just more skiing, so the muscles get used to working again. It was a great trip and a great way to spend New Year’s.

 

 

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Northern Lights in Helsinki

Tonight the sky is clear in Helsinki and you can see the Northern Lights.  This doesn’t happen too often here in the south of Finland. To see them you need to get out of the city, because there is too much light pollution. I found this spot close to Sipoonkorpi National Park. Here are a few pictures.

Northern Lights in Helsinki

Northern Lights above Sipoonkorpi National Park

Northern Lights in Southern Finland

The Northern Lights in Helsinki

It was pretty cold, about -25 degrees Celsius. So I didn’t stay out too long, but it was really nice to see the Northern LIghts here in the south. On Sunday I am heading back to Lapland and hope to have the opportunity to take some more photos of them.

 

The Old Town Bay

The nature is always close in Helsinki. November was great for taking photos. Not a lot of light, but really beautiful sunsets. It was very warm, so no snow in these pictures yet. But now we also have snow here in Helsinki.

These photos are from the Old Town bay area in Helsinki. This was the place, where the city of Helsinki was originally founded in 1550. There is a nature trail going to to a few birdwatch towers. This is a very popular place for birdwatching. It is also a good spot just to enjoy the nature close to the city.

Path to Lammassaari

This is the path leading to Lammassaari (Lamb Island). There is a birdwatch tower there and some small private cabins. Also a few houses you can rent our for private parties and celebrations.

Sunset in Lammassaari

The sunset was amazing. This picture is from a dock in Lammassaari. You can see the lights of the city, but you are still far away.

View from the birdtower

The view from the other birdwatch tower. You can see the lights of Herttoniemi in the horizon. The path leads to a small shed made for watching the birds.

Old town waterfall in Helsinki

This is the waterfall of the Old Town Rapids. Not a lot of water flowing, because it didn’t rain too much at this time. Now it’s starting to look like winter also here in Helsinki.

I just got back from Iceland and I have tons of great pictures from the trip. And I still need to write atleast one post about hiking in Gran Canaria. So a lot of things to write about, but I just need to find the time.

Hiking on Boxing Day

After two days of eating and taking it easy, it was time to get out and do something active. During Christmas there was still no snow anywhere to be seen in the south of Finland.

Luckily Isojärvi National Park was close to where we spent Christmas. We started from the south of the National Park from Heretty and walked to Kalalahti, where we grilled some sausages on the open fire. We took a different route back and it was altogether about 15 kilometres of hiking. Of course we started late and we had to walk the last kilometres in the dark. For some reason we didn’t even bring head torches, but we were saved by the good flashlight of my cell phone.

Crossing the bridge at Isojärvi National Park

There is a bridge to cross to other side of the narrow lake in the beginning of the lake.

Rock in the lake

The weather was really beautiful, but quite cold and windy.

Small creek in Isojärvi National Park

The forest was actually very dry, but there were some beautiful small creeks.

Sun shine on Boxing Day

It was sunny, but at this time of the year even in the middle of the day the sun is really low.

Small lake in Isojärvi National Park

There are a lot of lakes and ponds along the trail.

Isojärvi National Park

No snow on the ground, but you can see that the ground is frozen. The temperature was already below freezing.

Hiking in Isokärvi National Park

The sun is already very low and we aren’t even at the halfway point.

Hiking trail in Isojärvi National Park

The trail was easy to follow even in the dark. Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of time to take pictures after dark, since we were trying to get back to the car as quickly as possible. We got lost just once, but not for a long time. And after 5 hours of hiking, it was nice to eat some more Christmas food again!

To the beach of Guigui

Happy New Year to all my readers! I will post something about my Christmas and New Year trips later, but now it is about my favorite beach in Gran Canaria. Actually it was the only beach I visited, but I really liked it.

On the way to Guigui beach

The beach is on the westside of the island and there are no roads there. So you either need a boat or you have to hike. The hike is only 4 kilometres, but you have to climb over a ridge which is about 530 above sea level. So it is a pretty hard walk. You start in the small village of Tasartico.

Getting to the beach of Guigui

It took me about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to the beach. In the end you walk between Giant Reeds. The path is easy to find all the way.

Guigui beach

It was certainly worth all the effort. There were just a few other people there and it was nice and warm.

After a swim in Guigui beach

I went for a refreshing swim straight away. The water was just perfect even in December. Refreshing but still warm enough to stay there for a while.

Beautiful Guigui beach

I had a good time at the beach and walking back felt much easier. It takes some time to get to the start of the hike in Tasartico and the hike is pretty hard, but in my opinion it is well worth it! Remember to bring enough water and something to eat.

I will write about the other hiking trips I did in Gran Canaria later with some more recommendations.