April weekend in Sodankylä

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! 🙂

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!

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A winter day in Valkmusa National Park

Valkmusa National Park is less than two hours from Helsinki by car. One of the borders of the park is Kymijoki, the most popular whitewater kayaking river in Southern Finland. I’ve been kayaking there for years and we also run our whitewater courses there. But for some reason I’ve never visited this place before.

Well that changed on a beautiful winter Saturday. After getting lost once we managed to find the parking place with the entrance to the park. There were just a few parking places and they were full of snow. Of course we got our car stuck. We got some help from other visitors of the park, but decided to reverse the car to a place, where we could turn around and not get stuck. That turned out to be a couple of kilometers away. So we walked a bit more, but luckily the days are getting longer so we managed the whole trip in daylight!

Valkmusa National Park

 

We started along the path, which was also a cross-country skiing track. We didn’t bring skis, but we had our snowshoes with us. Soon we decided to put the snowshoes on and climbed up the hill. The view was really nice and the weather just perfect!

Snowshoeing in Valkmusa National Park

There was still more than enough of snow to enjoy snowshoeing. A lot of beautiful places to see a bit outside of the normal paths.

A small jump with snowshoes.

With enough of soft snow, it is nice to jump down from small rocks. You just need to watch, that you don’t hit yourself in the face with a camera as almost happened here.

Snowshoeing in Valkmusa National Park

Most of the land area of the park is swamp. It is only accessible in the winter time. There were people skiing and I think that would be the best way to explore the flat swamp area. Especially now when the snow is getting hard enough to carry your weight.  I also think I need to come here in the summer. I’ll be several weekends at Kymijoki anyway, so it is not a long detour!

Winter evening in Porvoo

On the way back we made a short stop at Porvoo. It is a very popular place for people to visit in the summer. But it is also beautiful in the winter!

 

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.