09 March 2019

Norge 2019

Vaelsimme hiihtolomalla koirien kanssa Norjassa.

We spend out winter holiday week trekking with our dogs in Norway.  The route we used is only marked in stones for summer time. In winter there was a lot of snow - And wind!

Saturday 2.3.2019
650 km from home to Kilpisjärvi

We arrived to Kilpisjärvi at sunset. It was getting really cold. The dogs were shivering, as I put them to the lines. We just had time for an evening stroll before it got dark. It was huge to see the mountains in the horizon turn dark.

Koirien hoitoa Kilpisjärvellä . 

Then it was just dog care, dog care and dog care: When they live in the trailer, it's dress, walk, give drinks, walk, put to box, feed, walk, put to box - all this times five, and don't forget to to do somewhere in between same things to yourself. But it was easy to do, because we had our car and trailer next to the room we rented. 

Ajomatka Kilpisjärveltä Innsetiin oli uskomattoman kaunis.

Sunday 3.3.2019
230 km from Kilpisjärvi to Innset
12 km from Innset to Gaskashytta

In the morning I woke up before sunrise to repeat my feed-walk -rumba in very good mood. Nothing makes a musher happier than dogs that eat and poo. When the sun rose, the top of the hill Saana  turned red. It was going to be a beautiful day. 

Drive to Norway was full of amazing scenery. The see was open and blue, the mountains were high and white. It made us, once more, think how lucky we are to live within a driving distance from the Scandinavian Mountains.

The road to Innset was small and slow. It took us three and half hours to drive there. It was easy to find the big parking place in the end of the road. There was a fee to pay (about 4 € per day) and also one corner only for dog teams to park. (And bark :))

Innsetissä oli niin kylmä, että oli vaikea vaihtaa vaatteita parkkipaikalla. 

The weather was much colder than we had expected. It was -25 °C and hard wind. When I tried to put on my trekking clothes, I had to  change them one by one, and then rush back in the car to get warm again. Not very tempting to go to the lake, but so we did. Markku skied with Sinni. I had the veterans Miilu and Mora leading my team,  and rookies Alma and Nallo following them.

On the shore there was some tracks, so the heavily loaded sledge moved easily. Little did I know that would be the only time on this trip I could say the same! When we came closer to the cabin, there was more snow, and we moved slowly. But it was not a long way, and we got to the cabin before sunset.

Ensimmäisellä kämpällä, Gaskashyttalla, oltiin auringon laskiessa. 

It was a new thing to all three Miilu's daughters to sit in the stake-out. In between the meals Nallo barked and cried. Maybe partly because it was getting too cold for them to stay in the snow, even with two jackets on.

Lucky for us the clever Norwegians had put some pet-cages near the entrance inside the DNT cabin. It was a relief to put the dogs there to sleep, when the temperature under the starry sky dropped near -30 C.

Monday 4.3.2019
18 km from Gaskas to Vuomahytta

We started making our way over the mountains in good mood. The weather cloudy but ok. We hoped to find some tracks from the day before, when there had been some dog teams traveling the same journey the other way.

Nousu 965 m korkean Jierdnin päälle sujui hyvin. 

The beginning of the ascent was not too bad. There was some snow, but the dogs were full of energy. Gradually the hill got steeper and steeper. At the same time the weather got worse and worse. When we were up in 900 m, we couldn't see anything. It was snowing and the wind was getting harder and harder. When we started to go down, it was already dangerously strong, knocking the dogs down a couple of times. 

- Let's keep moving! We tried to shout to each other, wanting to get away from the wind. It took us more than two hours to pass the worst part of it. When there was finally a change to put on more clothes, I was already freezing cold. 

Laskeutuessa näkyvyys katosi lumeen ja tuuleen, joka puuskissa kaatoi koirat. 

Luckily there was only one more hour to the cabin, and our luck turned to be even better when we got there. There was only one dog-allowed room in Vuoma-cabin, but a Norwegian man just left the room and gave it to us. It was a huge luxury for us to be able to stay only with us two and our own dogs. Almost right away we decided to stay two nights. 

Tiistaina nautin ajelusta tyhjällä reellä Vuomajärven ympäristössä. 

Tuesday 5.3.2019
10-15 km daytrip around Vuoma-lake

It was a windy, sunny, cold and stormy day. We used it to drive and ski around the lake with no heavy load, and to practice orienteering and storm cooking skills.

Pidimme myrskyä Vuoman kämpällä.

The best part of the day for me was, when we walked  to the nearest hill top in the storm. I had my down pants and jacket under my outer layer, and had not any cold what so ever.  Taking my time to stand on the top, it was the first time I made friends with the hard wind - not being afraid of it anymore. 
- It will let us pass tomorrow, I said to Markku, even though the storm was getting harder and harder towards the night.

Kaikki kolme nuorta koiraa ylittivät odotuksemme tällä reissulla. 

I honestly felt sorry for other people with dogs, when they built big snow walls to protect their pups,  and a bit guilty for having the dog-room for my five-pack. I tried to comfort myself by saying, they knew it when they came, and that they can more easily come back here than us. Still, I did not sleep much that night. I was just listening to the sound of the storm trying, and for a little bit also succeeding, to rip of the roof from the cabin and praying for the storm to stop.

Wednesday 6.3.2019
18 km from Vuoma to Gaskashytta

We woke up early. The wind was still strong. Markku went to the other cabins to ask if anyone knew about the weather forecast. He found one norwegian man, who knew the mountains well. The man said the weather will get better on Thursday, and today the wind on the top might be so strong that it is impossible to move there, because it could knock us down.
- I would not go today, was that man's advice.

When Markku told me the news, I was silent for a little bit. Then I said:
- I would still like to try. We can always turn back.
We both felt it would also be fair to give the dog-room to the next persons now, so we packed our sledge and tidied the place. 

Keskiviikkona läksimme palaamaan vuoren yli peläten kovia tuulia. 

We made a careful plan for the day: Markku's job would be to ski in the front, to navigate and to open the way. My job would be to keep the dog team and the load moving so that we don't lose sight of him. We both would be responsible for telling each other if we feel to tired or too scared to go on. Markku would watch the time and stop us for a drink once every hour. We would not even try eat lunch in the storm, so we packed extra snacks in our pockets. And finally; If the storm would stop us, we would stand face to face for a minute to decide if we turn back or dig a snow hole to stay.

We were both really worried when we started our attempt to cross the mountain. But surprisingly, the closer we got the top, the more calm the wind turned out the be. The only problem was the huge amount of snow the storm had brought with it. We pushed on meter by meter, and I was amazed by the dogs, when they never stopped trying, not even when I thought it was impossible to climb. A huge role in this had Mora - He kept opening the way for 7 hours, and has never worked better. What an 9-year old peace of gold he is!

Tuulien sijasta taistelimmekin koko päivän paksussa lumessa.
Uskomaton Mora jaksoi avata reittiä 7 tuntia. 

We kept saying to each other, it will soon get easier, and that it will be fun to glide down the other side of the mountain, but it was not so. The snow there was even worse. You could not move downhill without kicking. I felt I have no more power in my legs to try and walk and push in the deep snow. We realized it was time for a good lunch break to give us some energy.

The final 3 km to the cabin were the worst. I changed my dogs in one long line. That helped them a lot. It made me laugh to look at them follow each other like five little mickey mouses, only their backs to be seen from the snowy ditch. Also Markku, like myself, stayed all day in good mood - I guess we were so happy about not facing the storm. that it felt somehow more possible to walk in the deep snow all day.

Lumen määrän vain lisääntyessä valjastimme koirat peräkkäin. 

We pushed ourselves up the final climb to the Gaskas-cabin, and started laughing: We had made it, all in good health! And there was one more nice surprise waiting for us: There was no-one else there. We had all of the lovely cabin for ourselves. It, combined with a good dinner and our super-hard working doggies' good appetite, made us even more happy that evening.

Rankan päivän päätteeksi saimme olla ainoat  ihmiset Gaskaksen kämpällä.

Thursday 7.3.2019
12 km from Gaskashytta to Innset
330 km from Innset to Lappeasuando

It was a beautiful, sunny morning, when we left Gaskas. I had all five dogs in one line, Markku opened the track with skis. Pushing the sledge in the snow, my body tried to tell me it was a bit too soon to start hard work again. I tried to take as easy as possible. After all, it was not a very long journey to the car, but a sunny one, making it even more hard to say goodbye the the mountains.

Aurinkoisena torstaipäivänä oli vaikea hyvästellä vuoret. 


The car was covered with thick snow, but started with first try. I was slower than normal minding the dogs and packing the gear - feeling a bit disoriented. All the dogs ate good. I walked and stretched  them one by one and then tugged them in soft hay to sleep in their trailer.

Driving to south, we saw again the blue sea near Narvik. The road up to Swedish border had huge snow walls on both sides. It must have been quite a job to open it.

Kotimatkalla ajoimme Abiskon ja Kiirunan kautta. Aurauspenkat oli melkoiset.

Going to ICA in Kiruna made me cry. It was so difficult to see so much people and all the selves filled up with all kinds of things we don't really need. I literally felt ropes tie me back to the modern life, and so quickly loosing the pure and free person, who survives in the mountains, and only needs a porridge in the morning and one liter of snow-melted water to wash in the evening. After all, trekking is much more closer to the life this human apparatus is meant for, than the sit-down luxury we are so used to.

We tried to find a place to sleep in Abisko and Svappavaara, but finally managed to get one in Lappeasuando. A room with shower, sauna and even a glass of white wine closed our day. Then I tossed off to much needed (both physically and mentally) sleep.

Friday 8.3.2019
520 km from Lappeasuando to home

We had an excellent breakfast at Lappeasuando. Markku drove all the way. We stopped many times, so that I could stretch the dogs and keep them well hydrated.

Toivon, että voisin olla arkielmässä se sama ihminen joka olen vuuorilla. 

Like always,  during driving we made notes to our selves. What went well on this trek and what we should improve before the next one. We talked about how good it feels to know that next year we are going to trek a much longer time in the mountains. Maybe the changes that happen then can be more permanent? Or maybe they already are? I found myself thinking the person from the mountains lives inside me. I can connect with her every time I step on the runners and say: Mush!

If it's up to these two golden veterans, they'll do their best to keep me connected.
Kullanarvoiset Miilu ja Mora 9 v .

29 October 2018

Korvatunturi - Peace and quiet and magic

Korvatunturi 486 m sijaitsee  kaukana Itäkairassa, Venäjän rajalla.
Huipulla käymiseen tarvitsee luvan. 

MONDAY 22.10.2018

We drove our little camper from home to Kemihaara. It is a 5-6 hours drive. On the way we stopped in Kemijärvi to eat. We found a pizzeria called Napoli, which proved to serve the best chicken pizza ever. You should try it!

The way to Kemihaara seemed very long. It made us realize we don't really live in the wilderness in Taivalkoski. After all, from our farm there is only a few kilometers to the nearest big road and only 25 km to the shops. In Kemihaara the nearest village Savukoski is more than 100 km away. Quite a long way to go and get a liter of milk.

The road ends in the place where three small rivers come together and become one. It is the place where the longest river in Finland, Kemijoki, is born. It was just getting dark when we reached it. We made a little walk by the river to stretch our legs and to let Noppa do the same. The river and the weather seemed cold and magically blue.

I must tell you more about Noppa. She is our new puppy. She is five months old. We wanted to take her with us on this trip to teach her how to travel in car, how to trek and how to cope with eating and sleeping in the wilderness huts. But there was nothing to teach. To my surprise she acted calm and adult all the time. Noppa seems to be so clever, that I am almost sure she will be a future leader in my dog team.

Rakitsanojan kammi tarjoaa tunnelmallisen yösijan ja jakaa päivämatkat sopiviksi. 

TUESDAY 23.10. 2018

When we walked up at six, it was really cold. -7 in the car and -10 outside. No wonder I was freezing at night! My husband started the car, so it soon gave us warmth and it was nice to cook breakfast.

We started walking at eight, just before daylight. First we walked over a wooden bridge and across the yard of  a silent guest house. I was wondering if there is anyone in, and how difficult it must be to run one here in the end of the road.

Anyway, from the other side of the river starts the path to Korvatunturi. It is marked and very easy to walk. The path goes through pine and spruce -forest and areas that look like cattle has been there. And so it has - big herds of reindeer are kept in this area. There are some very long fences dividing the area to summer- and winter pastures or something like that. Still, on our trip we did not see any reindeer.

And not much else, either. There was fog and clouds and minus degrees - a combination that made frost grow big on every branch and hey. It looked like walking in a dream. Or in a dead forest.
There were no sounds, no people, not even a breath of wind. I just watched my legs walk and my dog and husband disappear in the whiteness. I must say it was a meditative walk.

In the afternoon we came to Rakitsanoja, where there is a new hut build in old style. It is lovely. It is small, cozy, and has everything in the right place. We cooked dinner and slept 12 hours, Noppa snuggling next to me.

Viiden kuukauden ikäinen Noppa-pentu kulki vierellämme koko matkan. 

WEDNESDAY 24.10. 2018

When my alarm went of at six, I saw my husband and my puppy fast a sleep. I turned one more hour to my clock. At seven the alarm made us move. Markku made fire and put the kettle on, I fed the dog an took her out. We had a good breakfast in good mood: Today was the day to summit.

The path from here was first much less clear and in the bushes, but still quite easy to find. It would have been impossible to find, if it started snowing. So my husband stopped to make some gps marks in case.

After a few kilometers we reached the border area. You need permission to go there. It is easy to get in it in Suomi.fi. After getting it you just need to phone, for example when leaving Kemihaara, because there is no network later, and tell the 24 hour window during which you are allowed to visit the top. You have to stay in the path and keep your dog in the leash.

I was in doubt, if there is a hill at all. In all the pictures Korvatunturi looked so sharp, almost like a mountain. And here I was, walking in a forest under huge pine trees - it could be south of Finland, if you ask me. But then, on the final hundreds of meters there happens a miracle: the trees go smaller and the sun (SUN!) starts to shine.

The fog stays down in the valleys and makes the top feel like Himalaya - above the clouds. It is a gift given to us. We stay a long time on the top, looking at magical views to every direction as far as Saariselkä. Sokosti and Russia. Enjoying warm sunshine with no wind. Eating our lunch. Letting the little brave dog have a nap. Taking pics. Breathing. Light. Energy.

Then, finaly, back to earth, down to forest, under the clouds. Our little home-like hut waiting for us - onlyfor us, still no-one else on this huge and  remote corner of Finland.

Metsän aamun hämärässä sadusta tulee totta ja todesta satua.
Voin tuntea kaiken yhteyden,

THURSDAY 25.10. 2018

Good morning sunshine, Time to walk back! No extra hour of sleep this time. Up at six, little breakfast, careful cleaning of the hut and packing of the gear. At half past seven we go to dark blue forest. This time it looks different. A peace of mystery has traveled with us from the top.

There is nothing more beautiful than the light of the forest just before dawn - it seem to give every little thing a deeper meaning, almost like revealing the true nature of  us beings. When I say us, I mean trees, stumps that have been trees, seeds that will be trees - and the same with animals and people. We are all one. A fact that shows itself more clear some moments than the others.

My feet got really tired walking all day. After all, this was the third day on the row. But nothing serious, no bad pain or blisters. Just a little sore. Normal for trekking. And we walked much faster than the other way. We came to the car early in the afternoon and started driving back home.

On the way we had a most interesting stop in Savukoski. Maybe I will tell you about that some day, but for now I just say I feel blessed.

Watch the best pictures from the trip: Korvatunturi
Meditative music in the video is made by our son Aleksanteri

13 October 2018

Part of Bear Trail

Elokuussa kävelin pätkän Karhunkierrosta yksinäni. 

In August I walked a part of Bear Trail alone.

Bear Trail in Kuusamo is one of the most famous trekking trails in Finland. It's 85 km long, following river Oulanka and climbing over the hills of Ruka.

I started my trip early in the morning in Kuusamo, where I catch a bus. The ride to the starting point made me fell sick, because there was so many up- and down hills on the small roads. I was happy to get out of the bus and breath fresh air. I started walking right away.

The air was surprisingly cold so early in the morning. I felt good, knowing the walk would make me warm, and enjoying the feeling of the path I had never walked before.

Ristikallio on upea näköalapaikka. 

The first exciting place I reached was called Ristikallio. It was cliff bigger than thought, giving a great view to the river and lake below. There was no-one else there. On the highest point I sat down, opened my backpack and ate some sandwiches. Boy they tasted good! It was almost unreal to sit alone on the top of the cliff, hearing nothing but the wind, and still I felt it was hard to concentrate - difficult just to be here and now, my mind jumping to the days before and ahead of me. After all, these were the last days of my holiday, and I'd be back to work in a couple of days.

All these thoughts criss-crossing my mind I walked down the cliff. There was a neat cabin by the water. It would be nice to ca night there some time. On holidays I always think I can came back later in  the autumn, maybe with friends, but why not admit it: It's not very likely to happen. When the work starts, on weekends it is so much easier just to stay home and rest.

After the cabin I saw some swamps and forest, and still no people. It pleased me to be walking alone.
I passed an other cabin by a pond. With no fireplace it was not suitable for overnight, but a very nice place for lunch break. I didn't stay, I just walked on.

Taivaalkönkäällä on kolme riippusiltaa.

In Taivalköngäs there were many small rivers and three bridges over them. There were also people. Some of them had come by the river on canoes. I stopped to eat my lunch on a wooden table outside. It started raining a little, but the weather was warm.

After lunch I walked to Runsulampi. There was a very nice fireplace by the river. I put on my hammock. Sitting there I suddenly noticed my mind was in peace. I felt no need to rush on. I layed down, and without really noticing it, fell a sleep. It must have been half an hour or so, but when I woke up, I felt like walking again. I  put on my backpack and went on.

Rentouttava lepotauko Runsulammilla.

At about five o'clock I reached Oulanka Nature Center. To my surprise it was open and there was a restaurant. I ordered a vegetarian  hamburger with salad. It was much better than the tuna and noodles that stayed in my bag. I also filled all my bottles and bags with fresh water.

In the evening I still had time to go and see the biggest white water, Kiutaköngäs. Late on this dry summer there was not much water, but somehow it was even more interesting to see so much of the stones and the river bed. And the sound of the water in between the rocks was still huge.
Nukuin riippukeinussa Kiutakönkään alapuolella. 

I went on to find a place to stay the night. A few km to down stream there was tenting area. I put my hammock between two big trees. I cooked some tea and then  had the best night sleep ever. It must be the combination of 20 km of walking and the soothing sound of  white waters, that made me sleep almost 12 hours!

In the morning my dear husband came to meet me and to walk a  5 km nature path with me. I made fire and boiled some water for our breakfast.  Just before he arrived, some taiga jays came to eat with me. I like them so much I tried to feed them from my hand, but hey always stayed some inches apart from touching.



Suo Puikkokämpän lähellä. 

Kävelin Sallantien aloituspaikalta Oulangalle noin 20 km. 


Variksenmarja on hyvä taukojuoma, kun vesi on vähissä. 

Fosforusammalta Taivalkönkään kallioissa. 

Myrkyllinen punakonnanmarja. 

Kuin leikattu. 

Luonnon oma taukopaikka. 

Sade harmaannutti metsän. 

Kiutakönkäässä oli vesi vähissä. 

Majoitteena riippukeinu on ihan huippu. 

Iltateetä risukeittimellä.

Aurinko laskee.

Upea yöpaikka. 

Hyvää yötä ja  huomenta.