Hiking in Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia & Herzegovina

From Slovenia we continued our roadtrip south to Bosnia & Herzegovina. Our plan was to stay at Hotel Mladost close to Sutjeska National Park in the south part of the country. We only stayed for two nights, so we had just one full day to explore the place.

Hiking in Sutjeska National Park

The nature was really beautiful, but getting to the starting place of our hike was a bit of a challenge. Wereceived good instructions and a map from the Hotel reception. It was only a 20 kilometer drive to the starting place. The guy at the reception said that once we turn from the main road, the road turns into a dirt road. I asked, if it was still ok to drive with a normal car. He said it was. Well it took us about 2 hours to drive the 20 kilometers. Unfortunately we didn’t get any really good pictures of the road, because we had to concentrate on not breaking our car. But we managed still!

Enjoying the beautiful nature in Sutjeska National Park

We stopped at a few lookout places on the way and the scenery was amazing. And it was very quiet, no other people around.

On the way to Trnovačko Lake

There were several options from out starting place. We decided to walk to Trnovačko Lake, which was about a two hour hike from where we left our car. It was a well-marked route and the weather was great again.

Trnovačko Lake in Montenegro

The Trnovačko Lake is actually in Montenegro. The path continues from here to the top of Maglić, the highest mountain in Bosnia & Herzegovina. It would have taken us atleast 5 hours to the top and back, so we didn’t even consider going up. It was still worth just visiting the lake.

Autumn colors in Sutjeska National Park

We took the same route back to our car after a short break at the lake. The autumn colors were beautiful on the way. And the sun was shining!

Evening light in Sutjeska National Park

This were we started and ended our hike. We were happy to be back while there was still daylight left as we wanted to drive down before dark. It was a bit faster driving down, but it still took us a lot of time.

There is a lot of potential in Bosnia & Herzegovina for all kinds of outdoor activities. The nature is really beautiful, but the roads are not so good and the whole infrastructure needs some development. But if you are ready for some adventure, I can recommend it already now.

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A short hike close to Bovec, Slovenia

We only stayed in Bovec for two days, so our time was limited. As we wanted to go whitewater kayaking on both days, there wasn’t much time for anything else. Our original plan was to also do a Via Ferrata route on Mangart, a mountain right at the border of Slovenia and Italy. There was too much snow at the higher altitudes so we changed the plan.

On the second day we did a shorter section of kayaking and had just enough time for a short hike.

Hiking in Lepena, Slovenia

The owner of the apartment we stayed at recommended to go to Lepena. It was a short drive along the Soča valley. The first part of the hike was a wide path through the forest. The trail was going up all the time and we needed to stop several times to catch our breath. It was mostly inside the forest, so you couldn’t see much. But when you could, the scenery was really nice.

Krn Lake in Slovenia

It took us about two hours to get to the Krn Lake. Very peaceful and quiet. There is also a mountain hut on the way here, but in October it was already closed. Because we started late in the afternoon, we didn’t have much time to enjoy the scenery. We had to head back, so we wouldn’t need to hike back down in the dark.

Hiking in Triglav National Park

The weather was great and up at the lake there were numerous paths going in different directions. Too bad we didn’t have more time. We managed to get to the car right as it started to be too dark to see without a torch. That’s why I don’t have too many pictures from the hike.
Here is a video a made two years ago doing a Via Ferrata route in the same area. I think we need to go back some day and have more time in the area.

The next post will be about our time in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Whitewater kayaking on the Soča river

After our trip to Lapland I was home just for a few days. I had just enough time to pack everything in the van and head towards the south. I took the ferry to Stockholm and my first stop was in Nürnberg, Germany. There I attended the Paddle Expo, a paddlesport trade show. All the major paddlesport brands where present there, but there wasn’t really many new or innovative products.

After the expo I picked up Henna from the Munich airport. Our first stop was Slovenia and the town of Bovec. We had plans of doing some whitewater kayaking on the Soča river and doing a Via Ferrata close to a mountain called Mangart.

When we got closer to Bovec, we noticed that there was already a lot of snow on the mountains. Talking to the locals it turned out that there was snow and ice everywhere above 1800 metres. So our plans changed and we went kayaking on the river for two days instead.

On a break on the Soča river

The water level was very low and we only paddled on the easy sections. But the the river is really beautiful and it was just great to be there.

On the beautiful Soča river

It is so nice to kayak on the Soča again after a few years. The water is so clear and it is great to see the trout swimming in the river. The water was a bit cool, but we were very lucky with the weather.

Scenery on the Soča river

It was peaceful on the river. Not a lot of kayakers, rafts or fishermen on the river. I have never been there in the summer, but I can imagine it is very busy. Now in October we just saw a few fishermen fly-fishing.

Emptying the kayak on the Soča river

Our second day of kayaking started with a swim for Henna. It was mostly my fault since I made her take a more difficult line with the water pushing against a big boulder. Luckily it was only a short swim and the sun was shining! 🙂

We brought our own kayaks from Finland and I did the shuttles with my bike. It is okay since the road is close to the river, but does take a lot of time. And you need to bike uphill! If you want to go kayaking on the river, but don’t want to bring you own gear, you can rent everything from the Prijon Sport Center. If you don’t have a lot of experience or you don’t know the river, I would also recommend taking a course with them or hiring a private guide.

The beautiful Soča valley

It was nice to be back in the Soča valley. There is a lot of other activities available and a lot of good options for accomodation. I would be happy to give my recommendations, if you plan to go there!

Peace and quiet in Finnish Lapland

After a very intensive season at the paddling centre it is great to get somewhere where it is really quiet. The northern part of Lake Inari was just that.

Evening at Suolistaipale Open Hut

This picture is from our second night at the Suolistaipale Open Hut. The picture is a long exposure with a 10-stop ND-filter.

Blue moment at Lake Inari

A blue moment just before the dark. This was a great camping place at Kyynelvuono, one of the fjorfs on the northside of Lake Inari.

Sunrise at Lake Inari

The most beautiful sunset of the trip was close the to the Pisteri Open Hut, where we stayed for one night.

Sunset at Lake Nitsijärvi

A sunset at Lake Nitsijärvi, our last camp!

Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland

On the last two nghts we were also able to see some Northern Lights. This was a great place to camp. There was a small pond just by the lake and we pitched our tents in between.

Our group at Lake Inari

A group picture with Henna, my father and me.

We are travelling in Europe with Henna now, so the next post will be from our trip here. We are currently in Montenegro and have been to Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina earlier.

Kayak trip to Lake Inari

On the last week of September we did a trip to Lake Inari. It is he fourth biggest Lake in Finland and it is truly a wilderness area. Our trip started at a lake called Nitsijärvi, which is connected to Inarijärvi, Lake Inari. We did a a round trip and finished at the same place.

Kayaking on Lake Inari

I was paddling a double kayak with Henna and my father had a single kayak on the trip. There is a lot of space in the Boreal Design Esperanto, but still it was a struggle to fit all the stuff inside the kayak. You need a lot of clothing this time of the year! And a lot of food too!

Fire place at Suolistaipale open hut

We stayed in tents for 3 nights and in open huts for the other three nights. This picture is from Suolistaipele Open Hut. There is fire wood in the huts and they are well taken care of. This time of the year it is nice to dry the tents at some point during the trip.

Rain at Lake Inari

During the 7 days on the trip it was raining a lot. I think it was raining at some point every day. The good thing is, that it can be really beautiful eventhough it is raining!

Kayaking on a calm lake Inari

And it wasn’t raining all the time. The longest day was only about 30 kilometres of kayaking. Of course the days are also pretty short at the moment, so that limits the time to kayak. The point of the trip wasn’t about collecting kilometres. It is just nice to be able to take it easy sometimes.

Dark clouds at Lake Inari

Despite the unstable weather it was a great trip. Really relaxing and so quiet. I will post some more pictures from the trip next week!

Some more kayaking

September has been really great this year! Warm weather and very light winds. I like the feeling on the sea in September. The light is different and you have a sense of the upcoming winter, but on the warm days it still feels almost like summer.

Kayaking in the night in Helsinki

We did our last night paddling tour last weekend. It was full moon, but the sky was covered with clouds. The moon was bright even through the clouds.

Group of kayakers at night in Eastern Helsinki

This is our group getting back on the water after our break. My father Martti was guiding the tour with me. It was really calm and warm at night. We were really lucky with the weather for this tour.

Kayaking on a sunny day in Eastern Helsinki

I got to bed pretty late, but I needed to wake up early in the morning again the next day. I had made plans to go kayaking with Jens. He is visiting Finland from Denmark and is the president of a local kayaking club there. We went out for a couple of hours.

Kayaking in Finland

The weather was pretty much perfect, light wind from northeast. We paddled between Villinki and Itä-Villinki, where there is a small passage between the two islands. The water level was pretty low, because of the high pressure and northerly winds. But we managed to get through without getting out of our kayaks.

Kayaks in Hattusaari, Eastern Helsinki

We had a small break at Hattusaari and just walked around the island. There were no other people on the island although it was a beautiful Saturday.

September has gone really quickly and it’s less than a week before I head to Lapland and Lake Inari. I am really excited about the trip.

Kayaking with my father

Our kayaking season in Vuosaari is almost over as we close in the end of September. I am planning to leave a bit early and do a kayak trip to Lake Inari on the last week of September. My father is coming along, so I suggested we do a short one night tour as practice. So we headed towards Eestiluoto and Kutuhället.

Coffee before kayaking

I was ready well before my father, so I had time to enjoy a cup of coffee before leaving. The weather was perfect.

On a break at Tammaluoto

We got going and paddled in a very relaxed pace. We had a short stop at Tammaluoto since my father had never been on the island. It is a small island without any facilities, but a beautiful place. It is a bit further out on the sea, but the wind was very light.

Kayaking in Eastern Helsinki

I was also trying to take some promo pictures along the way and my father was modelling. I really liked this shot, so I might use at our homepage at some point.

Kayaks at sunset

We made a short stop at Eestiluoto, but came to camp at Kutuhället. The evening was really nice and was still warm. No other people on the island and not a lot of people out on the sea at all.

A kayak under the stars

As the sun set, the sky cleared. The moon is almost full though so there was a lot of light. It was still a great night!

Prijon Seayak at Kuiva Hevonen

The next day we took our time before leaving. We stopped at an island called Kuiva Hevonen. The western part of the island has no cottages, so it a nice place to have a break. The weather was still perfect and actually the wind turned, so we had following seas during our whole trip.

My father is turning 70 this year, but still going strong. He is still guiding some tours, but this was his first personal kayak trip of the summer. Luckily we will get to do our trip to Lake Inari in a few weeks, so he gets out a bit more.