Hiking in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park

This blog post I will bring you to the far north of Finland into the heart of Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. “Tunturi” is the finnish name for treeless rocky and highly eroded mountains within the wide open region of Northern Finland. I stopped here in the park after crossing Norway from Finlands northeastern arm to its northwestern arm. In case you are not too familiar with Finland, have a look at the shape of Finland on a map … you will immediately see what I mean. Time in Finland is one hour ahead of the central european time. Changing the timezone twice within less than 200 km of driving was so very exciting for my navigation system in the car making it mess the estimated arrival times for the next couple of days 🙂 But back to our destination. The national park consists of the two parts Pallastunturi and Yllästunturi. I focussed on Pallastunturi and parked my car at the visitor center. From there different hiking paths circle the surrounding mountain tops. You will get a good overview if you check the well made webpages of Metsähallitus about Pallas- Yllästunturi. Basically everything you need to know about the area you can find there. As usual in my blog posts the emblem of the park at the end will link you to the same location.

Below is a map of the hike, click it to be directed to the original. It will open in a seperate window. The hike starts from the Nature Center (Luontokeskus) towards southeast and then keeps to the far east. From there we head north to hike over the summit of the Palkaskero. While returning back westwards we pass a strange wooden structure. It is a reindeer fence. From the ‘locked hut’ we simply follow the path south to reach the parking again.

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Choosing photos for the blog I ended up with much more that I could not resist to pack into the post than normal. Please leave me a comment if it is too much for you…

But lets get started… after the very first meters that go quite straight southeast, this little trail left uphill. I have to confess that the very first meters here were not always very good to see. Maybe I did not take attention and missed a turn, but due to the good weather and sight, I just continued in the hope to be back on the trail quite soon. It paid out…

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Trees here in the tunturi are very sparse.

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But we have the small plants and their colors are fascinating, especially in autumn times.

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As further we get uphill as more stones show up here. Everything looks very kind, but we are about 170 km north of the polar circle.

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This is the look down to where we came from. Here in the surroundings Finland is pretty flat, giving spectacular views…

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…at some point also to the area behind the mountain that we currently circle. In the background more tunturis.

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It is time to continue along the poles that mark the trail. It is time to approach the summit.

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But the views keep stopping me by forcing me to take photos.

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One more here …

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… one more there …

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… a few steps than this …

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… oh we gain altitude…

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… and finally here it is! The summit!

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My contribution 🙂

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I stayed a little to enjoy the nature.

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Then it was time to plan the return. The parking is hidden behind the stone in the foreground. But you can see the reindeer fences in the valley (the yellow area above the trail marker). Ok, so lets go there…

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… but no rush.

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The trail goes a little criss-cross and partly quite steep. It happens that sometimes you can use your hands for support.

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Still a very well prepared trail if you remember how remote we are here.

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Some more photos while we are slowly walking down the mountain.

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And there it is, the reindeer round-up. It is used for the annual reindeer counting and sorting.

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We have to go through this gate.

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And after a very beautiful hike we approach the visitor center again where also find the parking.

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Hope you enjoyed the day with me in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park.

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Iceroad to Hailuoto

In winter Finland can be cold for a long time with temperature around minus 40 degrees celsius, often dry due to the weather shielding of the Norwegian mountains. Having the chance to live there for a year also included the winter periode. Luckily I got around these extremes, but having minus 20 for a longer time with storms and temperatures not exceeding the zero for many months made not only the lakes being covered by a massive ice layer, also the sea got frozen. At some places the road administration than checks the conditions and if the ice holds cars they open ice roads for the public. One of them is not far from Oulu connecting the island Hailuoto. At the moment a colleague there told me about this road, I immediately put it on the plan for the weekend to come. Have to say it was a very interesting experience. As said, it is an official road with signs and being cleaned from newly fallen snow. Obviously it is slippery especially without spikes, that most of Finnish cars use. Anyhow I managed to get through the cold periode without any problems.

Have a look at the 7km long iceroad to Hailuoto… don’t crash 🙂

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Lössi to Manamansalo

Finland, as the country of lakes, in many places requires to short cut long road drives by establishing ferry connections. Like in Sweden and Norway also here short ferry connections are free to use as it is officially a part of the contries road system. These short ferries are called Lössi and partly are cable driven.

My last Lössi tour was in summer 2017 to short cut the access to the hiking area on the peninsulae Manamansalo in the large Oulujärvi. But I have been on several like the connection to the island Hailuoto just south of Oulu or in the lakelands in the central south. In Sweden this is a very convenient way of travelling around Stockholm on its east through the skerries.

For your trip through Finland you can look up any connection on Ferry.fi.

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Southern Konnevesi National Park

Up to my last visit to Finland in 2017 I always thought that the Southern Konnevesi National Park particularly focusses on the lake areas and therefore there was no hikning option, but I learned the truth. So it was time to stop here and to do some hiking. My choice fell on the Kalajan Kierros, the Kalaja Round that is shown on the map in red. This circular tour leads up on top of a rocky hill from where there are beautiful views over the surrounding landscape. Please click on the map to reach the original map in pdf format on the pages of outdoors.fi (the official pages of the Finnish National Parks).

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As you see the first part of the hike is to walked back at the end, and once we reach the ‘kierros’ we reach also the border of the National Park, which is indicated by a sign.

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In the area you will feel quite remote. I am always glad not to be completely on my own as long as those people before or after me are quiet. Here also some people were hiking, but went the clockwise direction as proposed on the map. I went the wrong way round, but it was no problem. Steep parts are on both sides as you will see later.

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At some point we reach the lake. Here everything is well maintained and you will find a bbq place.

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I continued along the lake … and also took some photos look to where I came from.

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At some point it gets quite steep, but the ropes help to get uphill.

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But after a shorter while…

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… we are on top of the hill.

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Also the rocks of these massive hills were affected by the huge ice masses during the ice age, this is the reason for the very flattend surface.

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Nowadays it helps to walk over it, so the hiking trail leads along here.

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From time to time there is a chance to look over the beautiful scenery of Finlands forests and lakes.

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And also down to the lake at which we arrived when reaching the bbq place. But on the photo you see a place (tree gap in the right center) that we reach soon. It is time now to step down from the hill.

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Now standing in the gap we can take the photos in opposite direction.

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Up there we have been before!

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It is time now to follow the trail along the lake to the bbq place again.

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There on the left of the photo you can see it. Soon we turn right and follow the same path back that we came here. Hoped you enjoyed!

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Please click the symbols for the respective webpages… Thanks to Metsähallitus for maintaining the infrastructure!

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Meteor Crater Söderfjärden

Ever wondered what that almost circular area of fields could be which is located just south of finnish Vaasa? Well, this is an impact crater of a huge meteor that crashed here 520 Million years ago. Looking at this enormous size, you can imagine what an explosion took place back then. Not long ago this area was ocean cause during the ice ages the ground was compressed and lowered so that after the glaciers melted the region was below zero altitude. Nowadays this area has the highest land rising on earth with almost a centimeter per year. In 1920 a bay that was located here, was dried and fields set up. For more about the landrising visit the Kvarken Archipelago closeby, it will become a landbridge to Sweden in a geologically not far future.

In the crater a model of the solar system was set up. It is interesting to see as it gives you a good feeling of the scale of our system.

Below you can see a small exhibition house about the crater, unfortunately it was closed during my visit. But you can climb the watch tower.

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Serlachius Museum Gösta

In the west of Mänttä you can find the second part of the interesting Serlachius museums. Serlachius Museum Gösta combines an art museum and a mansion that is accessible through the entrance hall of the art museum. I came quite late and had to rush a little especially through the mansion as the staff was kind to let me walk through despite official closing announcement, but I had a good time there to explore the different rooms on three floors. But back to the art museum first.

The art museum is located in a huge desinger building and has its roots in the collection of Serlachius, the former founder and owner of the paper factory in town (see Serlachius Museum Gustav for his history). According to their website the museum won several awards for the architecture and the collection. You will find a permanent exhibition and some changing exhibition, which during my visit featured the subject of how Europe and the world deals with refugees.

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From this part of the exhibition you can continue down some huge stairs into a huge hall that houses some general paintings.

As mentioned do not forget to have a look at the mansion. Inside there is more art, but also the furntiture and information about its past.

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Keep an eye open for some stairs leading down into the painted cellar room, or should I say drinking room 🙂

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In the ground and upper floor you can see art sorted by subject, for example forest and winter.

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If you come here on a nice summer day, then you can enjoy also the park around the museum.

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I hope you liked this short tour through the Serlachius Museum Gösta. Have a look on their website that you can access by clicking on their banner below and of course make a visit there personally!

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Isojärvi National Park – Extended Heretty Nature Trail

I had been to Isojärvi National Park in a previous trip, but this time added it to my plans as it was on the route and I had good memories about it. The last time I hiked the Heretty Nature Trail, but this time I decided to extend it by a larger round bringing me further away and back via Kuorejärvi.

The map shows the normal Heretty Nature Trail marked in red, but this time I continued the large loop all the way to the information board marked with the ‘i’ in the top right corner. From there I returned along Kuorejärvi back to the parking. All in all the hike was about 7 km leading me through a very diverse landscape.

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At the parking inbetween several buildings we find the information hut from Metsä. The building complex was a loggers camp in the past.

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Excellent information for the visitors! Plan some time to have a look at the interesting information about the nature and history of this place.

IMG_0627At some point it is time to start the hike. A lot of remains from the ice age are still visible along the hike. Those big rocks were deposite here by the huge glaciers pushing the ice over the landscape.

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We follow the Heretty Nature Trail and after about 1.1 km we head to the right.

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There are no mountains here, but the trail is far from flat.

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After about 2.8 km we get a view on Hevosjärvi, the lake in the far north east of our hiking route.

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Despite Heretty being a loggers place in the past, the nature looks really unspoiled and it is really beautiful.

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This is the information board that is marked on the map. On my hike I was considering to make an even larger loop and turned right here for some hundred meters, but found the trail in a not optimal condition. So I returned and followed the trail as described in this blogpost.

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From the information desk it is not very far and we reach the next bigger lake… Kuorejärvi. With the weather I could enjoy the view, even took a rest here.

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As you see it is larger than a pond.

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Through dense forest…

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…and along thick moss covered stones I continued my circular hike.

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At some point we will need to take a bridge over a small bay of Kurkijärvi, the Kannuslahti. For a bbq place you need to turn right immediately after. For me it is one of the most beautiful bbq places I have been to.

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It is located on a tiny peninsulae in lake Kurkijärvi. As usual wood is provided and there is a dry toilet. Thanks for this! Just you need to cut it in pieces as it is only made storable there and not already in usable bits. But that is easy as all tools are provided.

The view from the fire place is great.

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From the fire place it is an easy walk back to the parking. I hope you liked joining me through Isojärvi National Park!

Thanks to everyone that helps to make the place so enjoyable!

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