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!

To the top of Kebnekaise

You can read about the first part of our trip in my previous post. The day before our scheduled top attempt the weather changed. The whole day was cloudy and light rain.

Hiking in the Kebnekaise area

We didn’t want to do anything too hard the day before the summit attempt, so we just explored the river close to the Mountain station. It was a beautiful place. In the evening we decided to have a nice meal at the station. There was also a meeting with our guides to go through all the gear and the route for the next day.  We were in the group starting at 7.10 in the morning.

 

As the forecast said it was raining in the morning, so I didn’t take the camera out until we reached the glacier and it wasn’t raining anymore. Until then it was just a steep path up the mountain.

The eastern route up to Kebnekaise

My favorite part of the day was the Via Ferrata style climbing up to the Kebnekaise hut close to the top (1880 meters above sea level). It was pretty easy, but enjoyable. Too bad we couldn’t really see too far.

The top of Kebnekaise

From the Via Ferrata part it is an easy hike up to the top. The top of the mountain is covered with snow and pretty narrow. It’s nice to have the ropes for safety. Here we are at the top (2111 meters above sea level) with Henna. With good weather you should be able to see 9 % of the land area of Sweden. Well we didn’t quite see that much. 🙂

Going down the Via Ferrata route at Kebnekaise

After a short lunch break we started our way back down. It was more difficult going down, but we managed just fine. Higher on the mountain it wasn’t actually raining, but as we descended further it started to rain again.

Altogether it took us a bit over 9 hours to go up and down. The start is at 670 meters above sea level, so although it is not a long hike, it is still pretty streneous. And our clothes were soaking wet. But it was a good day!

Hiking in the Kebnekaise area

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything here. I knew I would be busy with work in the summer, but still every summer I am suprised just how busy. It has been a good year, but also very demanding. So I needed a short break. Luckily I was able to escape to Sweden for a week of hiking!

I flew from Helsinki to Kiiruna via Stockholm. I almost got stuck in Stockholm. because my connecting flight was cancelled at first. But the airline company decided to operate the flight, so it was only a couple hours late. While approaching Kiiruna it was raining so hard at the airport, that we had to fly in circles for about 40 minutes before we could land. I am so glad we managed to land eventually. Henna was waiting for me at the airport and as I  got my backpack the sun was already shining.

We drove to Nikkaluokta, where we started our hike. After the long day we hiked for around 6 – 7 kilometers and made camp.

On our way to Kebnekaise

From our first camp you can already see the high mountains with snow. It was a beautiful evening, just a few mosquitos to disturb us.

Waterfall and small pond

There are a lot of people on the trail between Nikkaluokta and Kebnekaise. But it is still a very beautiful route. It is good to stop once in a while and look around. A lot of great waterfalls coming down to the valley.

Camping close to Kebnekaise

Our camp for the second night! A great place. We actually stayed in this same place for the rest of our trip. It is just before the Kebnekaise Mountain station. So if you don’t like camping, you can stay at the station. It’s basically a hotel with showers, saunas and everything. It is a 19 kilometer hike from Nikkaluokta, but if you are feeling lazy you can also fly here with a helicopter.

Day hike close to Kebnekaise

The next day was beautiful and warm. We hiked a bit higher up from our camp to enjoy some of the great views.

On a break

And the warmth of the Swedish summer!

Kebnekaise

We reached the plateau and from here we could see Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden.

On the way down

On the way down the clouds started gathering and it was raining a bit. Of course I wanted to take the shortest route down, which turned out to be pretty steep and skecthy with the wet and moving rocks.

Before the rain

We made it back to camp before it really started to rain. We had booked the guided tour to the top through the Eastern Route, which is shorter but a bit more demanding. I will post about that next week!

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!

Overnight at Oratunturi

I did a one night trip to Oratunturi when I was staying in Sodankylä. It is pretty close to Sodankylä, but still a very nice location, where you have the feeling of being in the middle of nature.

Northern Lights close to Oratunturi

I started the late in the evening and was skiing in the dark. I was planning to just ski straight to the open shelter to sleep, since the forecast was cloudy until early morning. But the sky was quite clear already as I started skiing. There were some Northern Lights, but not very bright ones.

Moon rising behind the trees

And the moon was super bright. As I got higher up I didn’t even need my head torch to find my way. But it took me way longer to get to the open shelter, because I needed to stop to take pictures so many times.

Open shelter at Oratunturi

This is where I spent the night. A had two candles and I made a fire. It was really nice to sleep here, but it was much colder than I expected. The forecast was – 8 degrees Celsius, but it was actually – 23 degrees, because of the clear sky.

Sunrise at Oratunturi

It was a bit cold sleeping outside, but the sunrise in the morning made it more than worth it!

Oratunturi open shelter

This is the open shelter coming back from the Oratunturi fjell. I just love it when all the trees are covered with snow.

Enjoying the sunrise

Skiing back as the sun was rising was great. It was just a great trip. I really recommend just doing short adventures like this. And for this Oratunturi is a great destination from Sodankylä.

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.

 

 

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.

October hiking in Nuortti, part 2

If you missed the first part, you can read it here.

We had a good nights sleep at the open hut. Our day started slowly and it was already way after 10 am before we got going. The first day’s hike was only 19 kilometres and the second day was going to be about 23 kilometres. With our pace this meant hiking the last kilometres in the dark again. And also crossing River Nuortti in the dark.

Forest on the Nuortti Hiking Trail

The start of the second day was through a beautiful forest. We didn’t see any other hikers during the weekend, but we did see both Willow Grouses and Capercaillies along the trail.

River Nuortti flowing slowly

Later in the afternoon we also came closer to the river again. There were a lot of beautiful places.

Walking the trail as the sun is getting lower

It was supposed to be cloudy on Sunday, but most of the day the sun was shining. It was pure joy walking on a trail like this.

A break at river Nuortti

There are a lot of fireplaces, open shelters and open huts along the route. This was a beautiful place to enjoy a break. As you can see the sun is getting pretty low again.

Hiking in the dark

Soon we had to take out our head torches again, but the trail was clear and easy to follow. By this time we were really feeling it on our legs. And looking forward to the refreshing crossing of the cold river.

wet hiking boots and pants

When we came to the wading place, we decided to just keep our hiking boots on. It looked a bit sketchy and deep, so we thought it was the best option. The crossing was about 25 metres and it felt really cold. It wasn’t much deeper than the knees, so in the end it wasn’t so bad after all.  After the crossing it was just 500 meters back to our car, where we changed our shoes and clothes.

I really recommend the hiking route. The scenery was beautiful and very versatile. We hiked a total of 42 kilometres in two days. This was a bit too much especially as the days in Finland are relatively short in October. You could easily spend three or four days on the trail and there would still be enough to see and do. Maybe next time we will have more than just a weekend.

October hiking in Nuortti, part 1

Back from the canoe trip in Norway, we had a free weekend in Finland. Staying in Sodankylä, we decided to head to the southern parts of Urho Kekkonen National Park. There is a 40 kilometer circular route called Nuortti Hiking Trail. It follows the River Nuortti almost all the way to the Russian border, where you cross the bridge to the other side of the river. You walk back on the other side and at the end you need to cross the river without a bridge. This was something we were really looking forward to, since the water is starting to get close to freezing here in the north. But it was only at the very end of the trip.

A small frozen pond

The river was still flowing free of ice, but the small lakes and ponds start to be frozen.

We started a bit late on Saturday. By the time we had our lunch break, we were pretty sure we would have to walk the last kilometres in the dark. Already at this point the sun was going behind the hills.

River Nuortti

The trail was very nice. Sometimes it went down to the river and st times it continued higher up on the banks. A bit of snow on the ground, but it didn’t really bother us.

River Nuortti as the sun is goimg down

There are two lookout spots on the trail. We managed to get to the second one during the last rays of daylight. After the stop we need to take out our head torches and hike the last 3,5 kilometres in the dark.

Northern Lights at Saiho open hut

It was cloudy most of the day and the weather forecast promised clouds and rain during the night. As we reached the open hut, the sky started to clear and we could see the stars. The hut is called Saiho and it is just 800 metres from the Russian border. As you can see we also enjoyed some northern lights in the evening.

You can read about the second in the next post.