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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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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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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Syöte – On the trace of bears

Hiking in Finland is often a combination of admiring the beauty and keeping an eye on anything that could harm me. In opposite to Germany where you have almost nothing to really worry about when going to the forests, in Finland you have predators roaming the nature. Often talking to people there they say I should not worry as their numbers are really rare and it would be a like a win in a lottery, this time I got a glimpse of what could be the jackpot. On a planned hike around Lake Soiperoinen at the Eastern outskirts of Syöte National Park I found the fresh traces of a bear in the mud of the hiking trail. Being far from any help and alone, I have to say that I was quite afraid. Already having hiked a good kilometer that moment I decided not to risk anything, returned and kept close to the parking at the resting area. Just a few days before after staying at the cottage of a friend, I heard a bear was seen there in the area days before and another friend told me that in Sweden a bear chased a hiker during my trip, but died by rushing against a tree. So it seems that you literaly can get the jackpot. Take care what you do and keep eyes open. They are really hard to see in the dense flora of Finnish nature. To get an idea, I recommend to visit the zoo in Ranua featuring animals of the North. They also have brown bears. Below I linked to the Scandinavian Bear Projekt page where you find some instructions on how to behave in nature to avoid problems.

Photos from Lake Soiperoinen I will post in another blog entry coming soon…

Here a photo from the bear trace. You can clearly see the toes and nails. The size is about an adult hand.

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About Brown Bears on the Large Carnivore Initiative For Europe page…

Scandinavian Bear Project, guidelines on behavior regarding bears in nature…

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Teijo National Park – Hiking the Matildanjärvenkierros

Teijo National Park is very close to Turku and therefore a very good starting point or end point for a trip through Finland if you enter or leave the country via the Turku ferry. The national park offers easy access and a very pretty nature. You can find several hiking options of which I chose the circular hike around Matildanjärvi. In case you saw an older post of Teijo NP, you might notice that the very first meters are leading the same trail, but this time I continue to follow the shoreline of Lake Matilda counter clockwise. If you see the map below you can see the broken line around the lake in the center. In the west of the lake you can see that you will need to walk some kilometer along the road, but there is hardly any traffic and it is speed limited as it is inside the village. But now everything in the right order…

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We start our hike at the main parking area of Matildanjärvi, which is located at the camping ground and the visitor center. In case you need some additional information or you want to have a cup of coffea you should stop at the visitor center. To continue you follow the trail leading around the right side of it down to the lake. From here it is about 5 km to walk. I have to say that in the area of the village I lost the trail and basically returned to the parking directly making me not really sure how long my hike actually was. But looking at the map it comes pretty close to the 5 km.

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The trail along the lake is in a very good condition and easy to follow. What I really like here is the very varying terrain.

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Following the trail at some point we come to a crossing. At this place the former hike that I did here in Teijo NP left the lake for a clockwise hike, but we keep following the shore.

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Already here in Teijo NP on my first day in Finland this summer (2017) I noticed fast that this year seemed different regarding nature. I could not remember that the heather was blooming so intense. My friends told me later that spring had a very slow start delaying nature by some weeks. I could not complain with these nice flowers and it also had a positive effect on moskitos and particular mooseflies of which I only caught three during the entire trip of three weeks. That is normally the rate of mooseflies that land on me in some places within one minute when only looking at some information board.

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Along the lake there are plenty of beautiful spots formed by water.

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It is nice when the views open up to the lake and you can admire the large water surface. You notice maybe that there were some clouds. They became pretty dark and I was not sure if thunder and lightning might start, so a little worried I continued my trip. But it stayed ok until the end.

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Quite at the far end of the lake you will need to cross this bridge.

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After forest, bridges, rocks we also have to crosse a remarkable piece of swamp. I loved the view that I took the photo of as it really looks like the trail would vanish.

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More rocks and some ascent for us, but there is not much difference in altitude along the entire trail.

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Looking backwards we can see the rocky nature along the lake. Also here as in entire Finland (and generally Scandinavia) the nature was strongly changed during the ice age when the enormous masses of glacier ice reformed the nature making the surface of the rocks pretty smooth with long scarves by scratching stones.

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At some part we directly follow the lake. Beatiful views!

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After we have passed the village we need to cross the forest to reach back on the shore. To do so you will need to keep going along the road and then following the dirt road that you drove to the parking. At some point the trail will leave the dirt road to the left into the forest back to the shore.

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Here roughly 500 meters before the parking we pass a bbq and resting place. I had no idea that this hut would become the place for my ‘goodby’ bbq before heading to the ferry. But it became so handy to stop here in Teijo NP on my way to the ferry that I could not resist.

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As always for the Finnish National Parks I recommend warmest the official page of Teijo National Park. You can get there by clicking their emblem below. It will bring you to the main page of Teijo NP. Have a look at their downloadable pdf there, which gives a good summary. Enjoy your stay at Teijo NP!

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Hiking in Teijon National Park

In Teijon National Park I decided to have a visit to the nature house (luontotupa) and from there to hike a little along the shores of Matildanjärvi. On the map below you can see this lake right in the middle. If you look just south of the lake you find the location of the luontotupa, but it is also linked on the bottom of this post. The hike of which I show you pictures here in this blog entry is the circular trail that circles around the word ‘luontotupa’. It is a little more than 2 km long.

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This is the information center of Teijon National Park. We start to hike from here eastwards along the Matildanjärvi.

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There are many nice views of the lake. Autumn weather made it a quiet and relaxing hike.

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There are many of these ups and downs along the trail. I found them sometimes a little tiring (in a positive meaning) and they make the hike interesting.

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I was really amazed to see that there is even infrastructure for those fishing men that want to smoke their catch right here at the lake. There are several smokers along the shore.

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Roosinniemi is a small peninsula about where we have to leave the lake. You will find a bbq place and a laavu there.

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Another ‘down’ along the trail.

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Along the trail I found it remarkable how many different types of mushrooms are growing here in Teijon National Park. They look really nice and forms vary pretty much.

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At some point we have to leave the lake and follow the trail through the forest. Also here it is remarkably nice. There are duckboards for an easier hiking.

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Unfortunately the last part is on a forest path. But if you keep your eyes open…

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… you can see houses made for particular kind of birds, squirrels or bats. You can see it by the different openings. Depending on their shape, they only allow specific animals to enter.

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-> The official page of Teijon National Park

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