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!

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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.

Sunsets in Gran Canaria

I had a great week in Gran Canaria just before Christmas. I was planning hiking routes for our new hiking program there. So a lot of walking, but I also had some time to take some shots. It would have been great to be out on the mountains every evening to take photos, but driving back to the hotel in the dark was very unpleasent. The roads are narrow and there are hundreds of turns.
Pico de las Nieves as the sun is going down

One evening I drove to Pico de las Nieves after my day of hiking. It is the highest place in Gran Canaria. And a great place for sunset photos.

Pico de las Nieves at sunset

Here is another shot from the same evening. You can see the top of Teide, the highest mountain in Tenerife, in the background.

Dog at Pico de las Nieves

It wasn’t easy to take the shots, because this dog was in the way all the time! 🙂 It was pretty friendly, but got a bit frustrated because I didn’t want to play as I was trying to take photos.

Maspalomas dunes

My hotel was at Maspalomas in the south. I have heard of the Maspalomas dunes and thought it would be a good place to take some pictures in the evening. It was just getting dark as I got there. There were a lot of sketchy looking guys walking around the area, so I didn’t feel I wanted to stay too long. I just quickly took this shot and then walked back to the main street.

Lookout point on the road to Fataga

One evening I was driving back to Maspalomas a bit later after my hike. I stopped at a lookout spot on the road coming down from Fataga. It is alway nice to watch the sun going in to the sea.

So even if you don’t enjoy hiking, Gran Canaria is a great place take pictures. Just rent a car and drive around in the mountains. There were a lot of other places for sunset photos, but I just didn’t have enough time to go to all of them!

Cross-Country skiing in Sodankylä

I spend a lot of time in Lapland during the winter months. Now I’ve been in Sodankylä for 3 weeks. I have been mostly working and updating the Natura Viva homepage and getting all the kayaking programs organized for next summer. Although I haven’t had time to be outside too much, it is still nice to be here in the north, where there is plenty of snow.

Cross-country skiing

Tha days are very short this time of the year. That’s also a reason why I haven’t been out too much. It’s just a couple hours of daylight each day. Now I have managed to go out to cross-country skiing a couple of times. Just 14 kilometres each time , but it is enough at the moment. My muscles are sore enough!

The start of the ski track in Sodankylä

This is where the ski track starts. – 6 degress Celsius is the perfect temperature for skiing. Especially when it is not windy at all. The sky is complete clear and it is just past 11 am. Not a lot of light!

Ski track through the pine forest

The track is very well maintained and it is very peacuful and quiet here.

Sunshine in Lapland in December

Even as the sun is shining, it is not really a lot of light. But the colors are just spectacular!

Reindeer on the ski track

There are a lot of reindeer around the area. And you can get pretty close to them.

December at River Jeesiö

The route goes close to River Jeesiö at some point. This was a great place to take small break and just enjoy the scenery.

All the pictures were taken between 11 am and 1 pm. And by the time I walked back home from the ski track, it was already starting to get dark. I still enjoy this time of the year a lot.