Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Day Tripping

Already a few weekends ago I went with the significant other for a day trip to the forests close to Tampere. We took a bus to the forest, and then walked for about three hours till it started raining and we took a bus back home. We saw plenty of squirrels in the forest, and the ridges and eskers made for a nice walk. I even made us a cup of cacao with the Bush Buddy, and the lady was mighty impressed =) Enjoy some photos of our day out together.

Walking w/ Minna

Walking w/ Minna

Walking w/ Minna

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Walking w/ Minna

I was able to convince her to go for an over-nighter with me, and so we will walk a part of the Pirkan Taival trail next week. It needs to be perfect - its her first backpacking trip - so I need to ensure

a) great scenery
b) easy walking
c) sufficient and good food
d) beautiful spot for the night

and of course good equipment and so on. I probably will give her my Haglöfs Tight Pro with some food and water, while I will carry everything else. I won a Sir Joseph Double Attack sleeping bag in a blogging contest in March, so we will be using that, coupled together, for sleeping, together with a Evazote and my TAR ProLite 4. Cooking will be with the BBU, and I was thinking of getting some Real Turmat food for the trip, cuz its fast and easy. If you got any tips on how to make the trip a excellent first experience, feel free to share them with me!

Gear Talk/ Test: LMF Firesteel and Platypus Water Bottle

Already a while back I got my Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel and my Platypus 1l Water Bottle, both from Ultralight Outdoor Gear which showed once again what superior customer service is: Friday ordered, Tuesday delivered.

I got the Mini version of the LMF Firesteel, as it was the lightest one available - weighing in at 12 gr. I tried it out already, and it sparks nicely, though I still need to work on my skills with it. I found the shaver useless, and will probably take it off, as its a lot easier to use a knife to strike a spark. Its orange colour also is genius, as it is now easy to spot in case it should drop in the grass - plus it matches the colour of the TT 1100 stuff sack =)

FireStarter

I also got myself two 1l Platypus water bottles, which weight in at 23 gr. a piece, which is significant less than my Nalgene Top Loop bottle. I got those because they're easy to roll up when empty, and then they don't take up much space. The Platypus has proven itself already in daily life, performing very well on day trips as well in the city or on picnics with the girlfriend. A very useful item, and the material is sturdy - it withstood fishhooks which I carried next to it, without a problem.

Platypus

If you're looking to lighten your load while being able to light a fire in a downpour, these two items are a highly recommended!

Karhunkierros III

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Day 5. Martin got up between six and seven, because he felt to cold to try to continue sleeping. He got the fire started while I still was in my sleeping bag. As the sun rose over the horizon I got out of the sleeping bag, and enjoyed the landscape: It was cold that night, frost covered the trees, reeds and ground that morning, and vapour was rising from the river. It was looking like it will be a beautiful day! We guess it was about -10°C that night, as even I in my Mammut down sleeping bag was quickly cold and needed to put on a baselayer, my FjällRäven jacket, and had the silk inlet in there, thick socks on my feet.

After a breakfast and hot coffee and cooking tea for the trip we felt warm enough on the inside, and continued our trip. We planned to walk around 8 to 10 km today, till the old Mill at the river, Myllykoski cottage.

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Me putting on gloves after a cold night, next to the river.

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Finland is at its best in the autumn, the colours, like the yellow tree, are magnificent.

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The fir trees in their icy dress from the night.

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Me walking over the duckboards in one of the many swamps.

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Martin on a rope bridge.

We made good speed that morning, even if the trail wasn't easy - next to the river, over icy roots and boulders, traversing and climbing over them at times, hoping not to fall into the cold river. We took it with humour, and soon reached the "Pieni Karhumkierros", the "Small Bear Round" which is a loop and has many of the most impressive sights on a short 12 km round. Its easy accessible from a camping ground, and we met many day trippers.

Before noon we reached the Siilasmaja hut, where we had lunch. Because it was windy we had lunch inside the hut, enjoying the view on the small pond and the waterfall at the other end. Some day trippers were hacking up the last wood, and every now and then peeking inside the hut.

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The view from the Siilasmaja hut.

We continued after washing the dishes, and reached at 13 o'clock the Myllykoski hut, where we planned to stay for the night. Looking inside, we were surprised to find no stove. It was something we were looking forward to this night, after having been a bit cold the last night. As it was still early, we decided to continue walking another 8 km to the Poronmatijoki hut.

A few kilometers after the old Mill the Oulanka National Park's border was reached, and we continued to walk to regular forest, and also through some less beautiful area where they had logged down all the trees. But this is Finland, and the Forest is one of the countries main natural resources. It didn't take to long and we reached a Nature Protection area, and at around 16 o'clock we stood in front of the hut.

The hut was splendid! Actually it were two cabins, both being able to host four to five backpackers, a very nice kitchen hut and a fireplace in the middle of it all. We lighted up the stove, put our wet cloths up to dry and had a dinner, after which we feel easily asleep.

Day 6.
I woke up early, at six, to light the stove again up, after which I crept back into my sleeping bag for a while. Around seven both of us got up, and after a quick breakfast we were on the trail again - we wanted to get the 14.20 bus to Oulu and the train at 17.30 to Tampere, which would have meant we would have been back home at 22 o'clock, ready for a few beers, pizza and Sauna!

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The trail was easy and we were quick, and we had our first short water break after 6 km at a lake, which was shrouded in mist.

While the first six km were easy, the following km were more arduous. Four hills wanted to be crossed, and it was a bit rainy and the mist didn't allow us to see far. We now made about 1,5 km per hour, nearly a quart of what we made on the flat.

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Me, walking up the hill.

We managed to traverse all the hills in time, and jumped into a Taxi which brought us to Kuusamo. The last 2 km and 500 m altitude were hard, but we pretty much jogged them up and down, in the hope of having "Sauna, beer, pizza" in the evening. We were exhausted as we sat down in the Taxi, but happy. We finished the Karhunkierros' 80 km in about five days, and enjoyed its splendid nature in autumn. Even though its Finland's most popular National Park, we didn't meet to many fellow hikers, and enjoyed the silence and tranquility of nature. Autumn is in my opinion the best time to go, as the colours of nature are fantastic.

If I would walk it again, I might go in winter and take a tent as well, maybe even a packcraft or rent a canoe to see it from a different angle. Its a beautiful NP, with a very good infrastructure and beautiful sights. If you want to see Finland in a week, this is certainly a good choice!