Night paddling in Vuosaari

The nights are getting darker now in August and it is my favorite time to go night paddling. Most nights are still warm, so it’s a great combination. This was the first night paddling trip I was guiding this summer.

Starting a night paddling tour

We started out with some daylight left. Tha day had been a bit windy, but it was already much calmer.

On a break

It is impossible to take any good pictures on the water at night. So I mostly took pictures on our break. We made a fire and grilled some sausages. The full moon was just rising.

Moon light at sea

Our break was at an island called Läntinen Neitsytsaari. This is a picture towards the south and the island in the picture is Kalliosaari. The moon is really bright!

Enjoying the full moon

It was just a macigal evening. And still very warm. It was hard to get the group back in the kayaks.

Kayaking in the night

This is our group back on the water. The tour went really well and I think everybody enjoyed the experience. I think I want to guide our next night paddling trip too!

 

Shooting Stars

A few weeks back I headed to spend the night on one of the islands of the Eastern Helsinki archipelago. It was the time of the Perseid meteor shower. If the sky is clear you can see hundreds of shooting stars. So I was hoping for clear skies.

Sunset at Hattusaari

I ended up staying at Hattusaari. It was the first time on the island this summer. In the early season it is full of birds, but now the birds were gone. I took some sunset photos, but was really waiting for it to get dark. The moon was about half, so I decided to sleep for a couple of hours as the moon was setting just after midnight.

A kayak and some shooting stars

As I got out of the tent the sky was almost completely clear and I saw the first shooting star in about 3 seconds.

Shooting stars and the milky way

You could see some light pollution from Helsinki, but it was still dark enough to see the shooting stars and the milky way. You could see shooting stars everywhere. It was just difficult to get them in the pictures every time.

Watching the Perseid meteor shower

It was an awesome night and I will certainly try to get to see this next year again! I lost track at some point, but I think I saw over a hundred shooting stars. At some point I stopped making a wish every time I saw one!

Hattusaari by night

Even without the shooting stars the sky is very impressive on a clear night. I recommend going out to watch the milky way now as the nights are getting darker!

Kayaking in Eastern Helsinki

The weather has been great in May. It is a great time to go out the islands this time of the year. Still quiet and not a lot of people. On some islands there are still a lot of birds nesting, but there are places where you can go without disturbing them too much.

Kayaking in Vuosaari, Helsinki

On Friday we headed out. It was sunny and calm. Felt like summer. ūüôā

Evening sun at Hattusaari

We stopped at Hattusaari, but there were so many birds nesting that we decided to go to Pihlajaluoto. A lot less birds there.

Sunset at Pihlajaluoto, Helsinki

We put our tent up and enjoyed the beautiful evening.

Enjoying the fire at Pihlajaluoto, Helsinki.

The two other kayakers camping on the island made a fire. It is always nice to stare into the flames.

Enjoying the full moon in the Helsinki archipelago

The moon was almost full and very bright!

Sleeping on the shore in the Helsinki archipelago

In the morning we took our sleeping bags out and had a nap on the sea shore. Such a great morning!

If you are here in Helsinki next Saturday, come and join us at our opening event at the new paddling center.

 

Sunrise in Vuosaari

I have been busy getting everything ready for our paddling season at the new paddling center, so I haven’t had time to post anything in the blog. This morning I woke up early and decided to go out with the camera. I went to the Kallahti Peninsula (Kallahdenniemi in Finnish) to take some pictures of the sunrise. It was a beautiful morning.

Two birds at sunrise

 

Sunrise at Kallahti Peninsula

Sunrise in Vuosaari

Vuosaari is a beautiful place

Next week I will try to write something about our new paddling center.

April weekend in Sodankyl√§

I made a short escape to Lapland one more time this spring! I am heading back to Helsinki on Wednesday. At the moment, I am just enjoying Lapland from behind of my laptop, but we managed to sneak out a little bit during the weekend.

On Saturday we headed to Tankavaara to see the local reindeer competion.

We also visited the Gold Prospector Museum. I really recommend visiting it if you are passing by!

On Sunday we drove just 15 minutes from Sodankylä. Our aim was to visit Hirviäkuru, a beautiful gorge in the area.

In deep snow.

We were able to drive close to the starting place, although, the road conditions weren’t the best. We put on our snowshoes and started in the right direction. With my first step I went knee-deep through the snow. And it didn’t get much better later on. While pulling myself out of the snow, my snowshoes loosened and fell off several times.

Snowshoeing at Hirviäkuru

Luckily we didn’t give up and the snow was much harder as we got further up the hill. And it was almost sunny! ūüôā

Descending to Hirviäkuru

We descended down to the gorge. It was pretty steep, but amazingly someone had driven a snowmobile down the same way.

The bottom of Hirviäkuru

The gorge was really beautiful and it is certainly worth a visit, if you are in Sodankylä. You can get really close in the summer, when the forestry roads are all open.

View on the way back from Hirviäkuru

We started really late and only got back to the car around 8 pm. Luckily the days are already so long. Now this is really going to be my last post with winter and snow pictures!

Weekend at Riisitunturi National Park

For me last winter weekend in Lapland this spring we headed to Riisitunturi National Park. It is one of the most popular National Parks in Lapland because of easy access and beautiful nature. There were a lot of people around during the day, but we were the only ones staying overnight in the open hut.

The weather was nice and warm, but cloudy. So not the best conditions for photography.

Skiing in Riisitunturi National Park

There is a crosscountry ski track to the hut. It is just 2 kilometres and it is also easy to reach with snowshoes.

Riisitunturi Open Hut

We skied to the hut, but we also took our snowshoes with us. After a short break we did a short tour with the snowshoes around the park.

Grey day in Riisitunturi National Park

The trees were all covered in snow and it was really beautiful although the sun wasn’t shining.

The lights of Ruka from Riisitunturi National Park

We spent the evening at the hut and you could see the lights of Ruka Ski Resort very clearly. It was still cloudy and very soon after this picture it began to snow.

Skiing in Riisitunturi National Park

The next morning we headed back to our car and the weather was still cloudy and grey. But I certainly recommend the place as an easy option for your first winter adventures. And it is an amazing place for photography. I really want to get back there when the sky is clear and try to capture some Northern Lights.

New Year skiing in Saariselk√§

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 Sodankyl√§ to Saariselk√§ 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 Kiilop√§√§.

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 Luiroj√§rvi 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. ūüôā 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.

 

 

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 Isoj√§rvi 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!

Cross-Country skiing in Sodankyl√§

I spend a lot of time in Lapland during the winter months. Now I’ve been in Sodankyl√§ 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.