Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Karhunkierros II

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Day 3. On our third day we had a cup of coffee and a light breakfast, consisting of some fruit and and crispbread with cheese, before we packed up and headed out again. All the other backpackers had already left by the time we started, it thus seems that the early start practice is very common here.

We wanted to walk 18 km today, pass by some sights and the Visitors centre in the middle of the park, which is very suitable for families who only want to do day trips in the surroundings. Close to the Visitors centre is also a camping ground, where you can rent a cottage as well as a canoe. The Visitors centre itself has a little Café which serves a warm lunch, but we didn't jump in so I can't comment if one is able to buy food or fuel there.

Anyhow, we crossed the rope bridges across the rapids and disappeared into the forest. The sun was shining, and it was a lovely autumn day. We still were able to hear the rapids for a while, but soon the rapids were a silent lake to our right. After about four km we made a first tea break, at a nice scenic spot at the now-again river.

The forest path.

As we continued, I somehow managed to get us off track, I must have missed a sign or a turn to the left. So we continued for a while, bushwhacking our way through the forest, always staying close to the river. As we reached a pasture, we decided to walk to our left into the forest, where the path should be. After not even 300m we reached the path, and continued walking on it, now paying more attention to the markings.

We passed the Visitors centre and headed straight for the Kiutaköngäs rapids, one of the biggest rapids in Finland. They're only about half a kilometer from the Visitor centre, so there where more people around here, as they're a popular daytrip destination. After sitting there for a moment, sucking in the landscape and sounds, we continued, as we were rather hungry. We walked to a nearby fireplace, where we barbecued a few sausage.

Me at the rapids...

... and Martin, taking in the scenery.

Now a lake, this was formerly part of the river.

The path was now excellent, and we made good way. After the fireplace we were pretty much alone, just a few crows were accompanying us, probably hoping that we would collapse under our backpacks so that they can feast on us =) We saw a small herd of reindeers next to the path, and at around 16 o'clock we reached our next destination for the night, the new Ansakämppä - the old one burned down in 2003, because some hikers overheated the stove.

A reindeer, close to the Ansakämppä cottage.

The stairs down to the cottage...

... and the cottage itself.

We were the first ones to arrive, and put our stuff down on one of the two - four person bunks. We fired up the wood stove inside, and hung our cloths up for drying, before laying down for a while and relaxing. Slowly the cottage filled up, and the more people arrived the noisier it got. I already was getting worried that there will be some folks who snore, but Martin calmed me down and showed me the bottle of Whiskey he had with him. So after a nice dinner we went to sit outside on the veranda and started to drink, to make sleeping easier.

It worked, and I slept alright despite the snoring in the cottage, but the headache the next morning... Also there were two girls which got up at 5 o'clock, and instead of having packed up the evening before they were rummaging on to seemingly no end, putting things in noisy plastic bags. I hate these kind of reckless people, pack up what you can the evening before and leave as silent as possible the next morning, if you leave early while others are still asleep.

Day 4.
I was trying to ease my headache, while Martin was still asleep and the other folks were leaving. We were again the last ones to leave, and after an easy breakfast we hit the trail at around 10 o'clock. We planned to walk about 14 km today, so it was nothing exhausting. We took some more photos and then started walking.

The river from down at the beach...

... and from the top of the ridge.

After an hour we already passed the group which left before us, they were already making a real break with fire and cooking. Martin and me just had a cup of tea, before we walked on. While it was a bit cloudy in the morning, the sun came out during the afternoon. We walked to the Jussinkämppä cottage, where we had lunch. By now we were both quite fed up with the instant noodle dishes, but we managed to eat up and continue.

We reached another river, a different one from the one we have been following for the last days. If we would follow this river up, we would end up at the Russian border! On the Russian side there is also a National Park, though I can't tell you its name or how good it is. Its also a bit of an effort to get a Russian visa, and Finland belongs to the EU, so its slightly easier to come here =)

We wanted to sleep this night again in a lean-to shelter, as we didn't want to deal with snoring folks. We reached our destination at 17 o'clock, and were happy to see that no-one was there! We lit a fire and took a quick bat in the river. As dusk was setting, I realized that it will be a cool night - first ice crystals appeared on the wooden stares down to the river, and the air was crisp. As the night was upon us, the sky was lit with beautiful stars, and the sound of the river in front of our shelter, fantastic. We chopped sufficient wood, and put on some extra cloths before we slipped in our sleeping bags and went to sleep.

View from the shelter.

Martin by the fire at night.

To be continued.