Easter Hike on the Baltic Sea

March in Kemi at the far end of the Baltic Sea allows on an early Easter to have a nice walk on the Baltic Sea. Not far from the arctic circle the winter are bitter cold and due to the reduced amount of sea salt the sea always freezes so deep that you can later walk on the ice for kilometers. The city officially opens tracks for hiking and cross-country skiing. So my Easter march was on the Baltic Sea to an island where I could have a cup of coffee. Only go on the ice if you know that it can hold you! It is risky otherwise. During my visit in 2008 so many people came here that I was sure it is ok to go… I was far from alone 🙂

IMG_2962

IMG_2963

IMG_2964

IMG_2965

IMG_2966

IMG_2967

IMG_2968

IMG_2969

IMG_2973

IMG_2974

IMG_2978

IMG_2981

IMG_2982

IMG_2984

IMG_2985

IMG_2988

IMG_2996

Advertisements

Hiking in Knisa Mosse

One time travelling along the Swedish coast northwards, I decided to stay a couple of days on Öland, the long stretched island east of Kalmar. On Öland I found a nice Nature Reserve called Knisa Mosse, which features one of very few wetlands that remained on the island during a wave of draining. So the area remained a wonderful place for birds that live here. If you want to visit Knisa Mosse, be aware that it has a periode of access restrictions to protect the bird life. It was from 1st of April to 15th of August during the year that I came here (2009). This time I was lucky being on my vacation off-season, so I could do the hike. For infos about Knisa Mosse, you can have a look on the links that I put on the emblems on the bottom of this blog post.

What I like here is the varying terrain as you have this for Öland so typical dry land, but also the lake landscape. It makes it to a very interesting place. Only the markings of the trail were partly not so easy and I had to improvise from time to time. But as said, it was in 2009, so I hope it has improved. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth to come here.

IMG_2971_DxOVP

Clipboard01

IMG_2973

IMG_2975

IMG_2976

IMG_2977

IMG_2978

IMG_2981

IMG_2982

IMG_2983

IMG_2984

IMG_2985

IMG_2986

IMG_2989

IMG_2990

IMG_2991

IMG_2993

IMG_2999

IMG_3002

IMG_3004

IMG_3005

IMG_3007

IMG_3008

Please click the emplems for more details on external pages…

visitoland

thumb_km

 

Vilhelmina Kyrkbergsstigen

Coming here originally to have a look at the church of Vilhelmina, I found this small circular hiking trail. With many kilometers to drive in front of me, I took the chance to do this hike. As you might notice, that time I did not take the direct road along the Swedish coast, but took the inland roads following the Swedish-Norwegian border instead.

The Churchhill Trail (Kyrkbergsstigen) starts from the church and leads you along an interpretetive hiking trail through the very beautiful nature on the churchhill of Vilhelmina. There are plenty of signs set up which explain you about the various plants that grow here. But you will also find art and some historic ‘buildings’.

Below you will find some photos in chronological order that I took on the 2,5 km long hike. Enjoy! …

IMG_4057

IMG_4058

IMG_4059

IMG_4060

IMG_4063

IMG_4062

IMG_4065

IMG_4067

IMG_4071

IMG_4073

IMG_4079

IMG_4081

IMG_4083

IMG_4085

IMG_4089

IMG_4099

IMG_4102

IMG_4104

IMG_4105

IMG_4110

IMG_4112

IMG_4114

IMG_4121

 

 

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.

Clipboard01

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…

IMG_8110

Trees here in the tunturi are very sparse.

IMG_8111

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

IMG_8115

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.

IMG_8122

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

IMG_8123

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

IMG_8128

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

IMG_8129

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

IMG_8131

One more here …

IMG_8133

… one more there …

IMG_8138

… a few steps than this …

IMG_8140

… oh we gain altitude…

IMG_8145

… and finally here it is! The summit!

IMG_8151

My contribution 🙂

IMG_8152

I stayed a little to enjoy the nature.

IMG_8158

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…

IMG_8159

… but no rush.

IMG_8160

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

IMG_8162

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

IMG_8171

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

IMG_8172

IMG_8174

IMG_8178

IMG_8180

IMG_8181

IMG_8182

IMG_8183

IMG_8187

IMG_8188

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

IMG_8195

We have to go through this gate.

IMG_8197

IMG_8199

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

IMG_8212

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

emblem

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).

Clipboard01

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.

IMG_1111

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.

IMG_1113

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

IMG_1116

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

IMG_1132

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

IMG_1138

But after a shorter while…

IMG_1144

… we are on top of the hill.

IMG_1153

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.

IMG_1157

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

IMG_1169

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

IMG_1170

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.

IMG_1177

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

IMG_1195

Up there we have been before!

IMG_1200

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

IMG_1205

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!

IMG_1208

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

EtelaKonnevesi_113

gm2

Hiking at Ballstad, Lofot

One of the top 5 hikes, that I did, took place at Ballstad on the Lofot Islands in the North of Norway above the polar circle. The islands are fabulous and become more and more famous around the world. I was lucky to spend a year close to the polar circle in Finnish Oulu, but still from here with its 950 km to Ballstad it is a 1,5 days journey by car due to its remote location.

Over a long stretch the Lofot Islands are a massive chain of mountains within the Arctic Sea and even in summer, I came here in June, the mountain tops were partly covered by snow.

The hike went along the coast around the mountain that you can see on the photo below and later up over it back to the car.

IMG_6559

As described before in another blog of a hike onto the Preikestolen, many of the hiking trails in Norway are marked with a red ‘T’. It helps to keep the orientation, as the trail sometimes is hard to see.

IMG_6561

From the parking at the outskirts of Ballstad we follow the coast. The trail slowly climbs a little up the mountain and once we have a good view it keeps that height.

IMG_6574

Lofot Islands are simply a wonder of nature!

IMG_6592

It is easy to follow the trail.

IMG_6622

Far down a boat passed by probably looking for a good catch.

IMG_6647

I love the colors in the North, especially with a blue sky. Later on the front of clouds arrived, but I was prepared.

IMG_6654

What a panorama. Still snow on the mountains… in June.

IMG_6659

Despite being so far north, the water is cristal clear and partly it looks like in the warm South of Europe.

IMG_6666

This is the hiking trail, about 50 meter were like a labyrinth. Had to find the red ‘T’ from time to time…

IMG_6670

… and to climb through holes under the boulders.

IMG_6674

Also when reaching the backside of the mountain, the new views were breathtaking. But somewhere there on the right should have been the trail towards the top of the mountain. I could not find it and started to go up straight on in the hope to catch it again on the top.

IMG_6688

Suddenly the bird was scared and looked at me while making some noises. I took the photo with my tele and left him to get him calm. I guess there was the nest somewhere.

IMG_6694

After a strenous ascent, I reached the top of the mountain and voila, the trail! And a view!

IMG_6701

Taking the trail, brought me on the other side of the mountain, actually back to the side I started.

IMG_6707

Down there is the coast that we started. All the way down ther we walked before.

IMG_6741

Walking down half the mountain, you have this view over Ballstad. It is not very large, but quite large for the Lofot.

IMG_6749

IMG_6753

Before going down I decided to cook some pasta. Have to say it was easy food, but a great place to eat. As usual my big request to always keep nature tidy. Bring all your garbage back from nature and put it to where it belongs!

IMG_6761

I hope you liked the hike and landscape as much as I do. As usual, click on the maps button below to open the location on google maps in a seperate browser window.

gm2

Hiking Preikestolen

For now my posts were limited to Finland and Sweden, with this post I plan the extension to all the nordic countries that I have visited so far. This will then include Denmark, Aland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. During this summer two new members will join: Iceland and Faroe Islands. These are the last ones missing on my list of countries that are officially belonging to the group of Nordic Countries. So lets get started with a beautiful hike onto the famous Preikestolen, a rock high above the Lysefjord. It is quite a while ago that I have been there (2011), but the beauty of the place (and the pain from the hike even though it was short) are still deep in my memories.

A first glimpse I already got while taking the car ferry along the Lysefjord, actually a very convenient way of transportation in Norway as many of the ferry passages not just cut off a long drive, but also allows you to enjoy a beautiful scenery without the hassle of driving yourself. On the photo below you can see high above the Preikestolen. It is the rectangular rock on the right of the norvegian flag. The name origins from its form, as it looks like a preachers pulpit (in norwegian Preikestolen).

IMG_3154

The plan was actually not only to look at it from the water, but to be there on top. So I stayed overnight on a camping at the coast but close to the start of the hike. On the next day after breakfast it was time. After arrival on the parking the sign already explained what was coming. At that time I was not really fit, but gave it a try.

IMG_3262_crop

In Norway most of the hiking trails are marked with a red ‘T’.

IMG_3265

The first meters were pretty comfy as the first parts led through some forest and over quite flat terrain.

IMG_3269

Step by step we gain altitude and views over to the sea open up.

IMG_3277

As you could see on the profile of the hike, the ascends are coming in a kind of waves. Some parts are relatively flat and well prepared while others are leading over very big rocks where you partly need your hands. Below over the wooden trail you can see the V-shaped rocks. The lowest part is the hiking trail, and it goes up straight.

IMG_3283

Nevertheless the nature is incredible. And no wonder that Norway is home to the trolls 🙂

IMG_3286

The hiking trail 🙂 Find you own preferable rocks to climb onto…

IMG_3298

Also the flat parts are sometimes covered with boulders, but they are convenient for marking the direction.

IMG_3300

All the effort it takes to hike up here, is worth it. At some moment the views are opening and a first glimpse of the Lysefjord shows up. Knowing the Preikestolen is just above it, tells us, there is still some meters to go.

IMG_3303

And it includes more steep passages to master… traffic jam in the norwegian nature… 🙂

IMG_3310

Some stretch is flat again, most of the strenous part is now behind us, but we have not yet arrived.

IMG_3314

On the last meters then suddenly the panorama along the Lysefjord tells us, we are there and suddenly…

IMG_3334

…we reach the Preikestolen! Well done!

IMG_3341

I walked on it, but did not go to the edge, which in my opinion is just too dangerous. The is not protection and the surface has a lot of cracks. From the edge it is 600 meters straight down.

IMG_3378

Instead I had a rest on a rock above with a good view.

IMG_3380

IMG_3386

After some time, I left and continued back the same way I came.

IMG_3393

Hope you liked my first post about Norway… more to come!

gm2