Hepoköngäs water fall

The weather here has made quite dramatic change. The snowy January is gone and currently the days are on plus degrees. Not a typical February! Last night was warmest for 60 years (for the time of year) in some parts of Finland. The snow has melted a lot, we still have a lot but I think the amount has decreased to half.  I really hope this ain´t the end of the winter but it looks bad since warm weather is promised to last until the beginning of March.  And the southern part of Finland is now full of melting snow and water, Helsinki has had a lot of problems with that since they had even more snow than we had here in the middle Finland.

One week to school´s winter holiday left when we get to go north, hopefully there will be colder, keeping my fingers crossed!

But let´s write about something less depressive than melting snow. I chose few pictures here from a waterfall which we have visited many times. It´s called Hepoköngäs and it is one of the biggest waterfalls in natural state in Finland when measured in fall hight. Even thought it doesn’t really look big in my pictures.. Photos are taken in summer time and the water level was quite low. The dropping high is about 24 meter´s straight down.We have visited it in autumn also when more water was running but I couldn´t find those pics anywhere. Hepoköngäs is located in Puolanka municipality in Kainuu region.

A nature path (very well taken care of) goes to the area and I think the path up to the waterfall can also be reached by a wheelchair.  The path is 1,4 km in total. At the top there´s a lean-to where you can make a fire and there are also toilets. The forest around the river is mostly in natural kind of bruce forest, it´s  nature conservation area. You can walk down the hill to down side of the waterfall and when the water is running more than in this picture´s you’ll get nice mist to you face from the dropping water.

 

Last time we were in the area we also visited this nice sightseeing tower on the top of a hill between the area of Ukko-Halla skiing resort and Paljakka nature reserve. I just can´t remember the name of the hill, we just saw a sign when driving the road from Ukko-Halla towards Paljakka last summer and stopped by.  I´m not too keen on high places and this tower was pretty big for a wooden one.. But it was worth the climb, the view was beautiful to surrounding forested hills, typical for Kainuu region. And the short path to the tower went through a really pretty forest.  Another example that you can find beautiful places that you had no idea about but when you just travel with time and patience and depart from your original route.

Lake Inari

Couple of days ago I was helping my son with his geography homework because he didn’t find something from a map. When he got on with his school work I was still examining the maps. I started looking at the amount of lakes in our country. Of course it is obvious that we have lots of lakes but when you really look into it and compare to other places the amount looks even bigger.  The area from southwest Finland all the way to eastern border and from there to Lapland seems to be covered with blue colour. And that´s just the bigger lakes, the hundreds of tiny ones were not even showing in that scale of map. It´s no wonder why Finland calls itself the land of the thousand lakes. Counting all the lakes bigger than 500 m², we have 187 888 lakes. More than 10 prosent of our country is covered with lakes and rivers.

I will tell you now about one of my absolute favorite lakes. Lake Inari, our third biggest lake, covers an area of 1084 square kilometers. It´s located in northeast Lapland. There´s lots of holiday cabins on the shores but the eastern part of it is still remote and wilderness like. In the summer time you can take a little cruise from the Inari village to the island of Ukonsaari which is the most well know island in Inari. It used to be a sacred place for the Sámi people.  It has a really unique shape and you can see it from really far. We have also visited this cruise on our honeymoon twelve years ago and my son went there again with my parents a year ago. So here are some pictures from both trips.

The shores of lake Inari are mostly rocky and the water is really clear. And cold, last summer was the only one I could imagine myself swimming there.

I will also add here some pictures of the little church of Inari. Me and my husband visited there while my son was on the cruise.  It´s located by the lake in Inari village and looks like a typical Lapland church. Many of the churches in Lapland, burned during the World War II, were build again at the same time so they are quite similar with each other.

There are many kinds of lakes in Finland from rocky to sandy beaches and wetland lakes. I love them all but there is something so beautiful in the roughness of lake Inari. I am sorry I don´t have any winter pictures from there to show you, but I haven´t yet  visited there during winter. Hopefully someday I will get the chance. I have seen it frozen thought but it was in June..

It´s Runeberg´s day again

Today is Runebergs, our national poets, day.  It´s snowing again as it has done for several days. Every day a little bit more snow, we have more than half meter now. It´s a good amount but more is also welcome. Last year we made a blog text about the Runebergin torttu, the pastry that´s named after our national poet so you can find it here or from the archives. Instead of posting it again I copy here my favorite poem from Runeberg and few pictures from last couple of days.  The poem is called the Swan. I have to confess I don´t know anything about poetry but I think this one sounds beautiful at least in finnish langue. So I hope you like it in english! Happy Runeberg´s day!

 

 

 

The Swan

By Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877)

 

(Translation of Eirikr Magnusson and Edward Henry Palmer)

 

From cloud with purple-sprinkled rim, A swan, in calm delights,

Sank down upon the river´s brim, and sang in June one night.

Of Northland´s beauty was his song, how glad their skies,their air;

How day forgets, the whole night long, to go to rest out there,

How shadows there,both rich and deep, ´Neath birch and alder fall;

How gold-beams oér each inlet sweep,

How cool the billows all;

How fair it is, how passing fair, to own there one true friend!

How faithfulness in home-bred there, and thtlher longs to wend!

When thus from wave to wave his note, His simple praise-song rang,

swift fawned he on his fond mate´s throat, and thus methought,he sang;

What more? thought of thy life´s short dream

No tales the ages bring,

Yet has thou loved on Northland´s stream,

And sung songs there in spring!

 

 

As a big fan of ski jumping I have to write here at the end, that yesterday the greatest ski jumper of the world, Matti Nykänen passed away at the age of 55. I think everybody in this country knew who he was, from his impressive career or from his colourful personal life. It´s been only few month´s since me and my sister were watching him singing at Ruka. Legends  are never forgotten! Fly free Matti!

 

Siikavaara

Last days has been mostly ploughing snow. It has snowed now everyday. But I don´t mind. It´s a good excersise piling the snow and the trees look so pretty with the heavy snow cover. 51216147_2437333936504198_6078305861250318336_o

The last photo from the blog post of my favorite travel photos I haven´t written about yet is this picture. Is taken at Siikavaara nature reserve area where we visited last July.IMG_1399

We had no idea where we were going, we just saw the area in a map and searched it from the internet. It was hot day again and we wanted just a little walk so we chose a path that we had to come back the same way if we wanted just a short trip. It was called sienipolku, a mushroom path. The site said the path has lots of ups and downs but it´s easy to walk. Well, it really wasn´t, not in that starting point anyway. Or then they hadn’t updated the site for a while.

The beginning was ok. The path started right away to rise up in a spruce forest. The trees gave a nice shadow from the burning sun. For a spruce forest located in Kainuu it was really lush.  From the trees you could see easily that they carry a massive amount of snow in the winter. We didn´t walk long until the first fallen trees came unto our way. First it was fun to jump and climb over them. Our dog was really enthusiastic. The forest looked so beautiful when the sun light came down between the trees and the forest was so natural like. And with all the different shades of green it was like another world.

But with the temperature showing something around +30 degrees Celsius the jumping and climbing over the trees on a path going mostly uphill, it was kind of exhausting.  I know that´s not a big number plus degrees for many but for someone living in Finland and used to our normal summers, it really is a lot. And when the trees started to be so mixed up together so that we had to walk side from the actual path to even go further we decided to go back. I was constantly behind my family because I wanted to take so many photos. But since I had the car keys they just had to wait for me…

My husband got a power boost from our dog at the end of the path since she got bored of the mosquitos and horseflies that had found us, so she wanted to hurry back down the hill.. Then I had to stop taking photos so I could keep up with them.

Viiankiaapa

Last night was the coldest one so far this winter, the thermometer went down to -29,7 degrees celsius. Lapland also had the record of this year at Sodankylä with -38,7 degrees! The place I´m going to write about this time is also in Sodankylä but my photos are from summertime. However here are few photos from the last few cold days.

I´ve been writing about the places I posted about in the best travelling picks last year and the one with the dragonfly is from a place called Viiankiaapa. It is one of the biggest wetland areas I have ever visited and it is part of the mire conservation programme as well as Natura 2000 network. Nevertheless a mining company is trying to dig minerals underneath it. It´s really sad how our mining laws are so weak that something like this can still happen even thought the area is protected. But many people are trying to fight against the mining and I hope they manage to save the wetland.

We have visited the mire many times but last year I made a walk there on my own since my boy was sick so he and he´s father stayed in our caravan car watching tv while I went for a walk. Viiankiaapa is a large aapa mire with raised bogs and bog woodland. 90 different bird species have been seen there 21 of which are listed threatened or near-threatened.

There was only one circle path from that parking place, you can go around but I didn´t walk all the way this time since my boys were waiting in the car. It had been a hot day and the evening was still very warm. The dragon flyes flew around me, they stopped every once in a while to sit on the duck boards in front of me. Most of them were these really beautiful blue coloured species that let me come really close to take a shot. Gorgeous injects!

Also in few places, the wetland birds, mostly with long legs and long beak, flew around me making warning sounds. That´s why I returned back earlier than I was planning to, I wanted to give them peace since some of them had little ones just by the duckboards.  I returned the same way and stopped to sit on a bench by little like for a while just to enjoy the summer and the nature around me. Even half on hour in that  atmosphere makes a big difference making you relaxed. It was quiet, I was the only human there.

I really hope this area stays untouched and the many species that use it as a home can return there every summer to raise their families.

Winter days

 

Last few days we have been enjoying a real winter weather! We got 15 cm more snow and the temperature went down to -28.6 at its’ lowest. Trees are heavily covered with snow. And the weather forecast promises more cold weather and snow, so there is hope for this beautiful winter weather to continue!

 

The nights have been really bright with the full moon and it´s been nice to walk outside in the evenings. Few nights ago  my son wanted to make a fire in our forest and we just spent time outdoors in the moonlight.  Twenty degrees minus didn´t bother at all. We watched the blood moon from the window though, since we had just woken up and it would have been too fast wakening to go outside to nearly -30 degrees weather… (Editors note: some of us had to go to work and could enjoy the blood moon while walking there…)

Days are getting longer really fast now and the cold days brought also the sun back. Now it´s much easier to stay at home since outside view is like a winter wonderland. But still a little part of me can´t wait to get on the road again..

 

 

From cold to hot

 

January can sometimes be a bit boring… I mean that the holiday season is over and there is still a lot of time before the winter holidays when you are able to travel again. The snow that finally came of course makes it more fun, we try to go cross-country skiing at least twice a week now that the tracks are finally ready.

The temperature can still vary from -20 to zero and this winter we haven’t had a longer really cold period. Only few cold days here and there. Instead of freezing winter pictures I will post about one of the hottest days of the summer. One of those photos was at my favorite picks of last year post. They are taken in Sevettijärvi and Näätämö area in northeast Lapland near the Norwegian border.

We spent couple of really fun and hot days there last summer swimming in these tiny lakes that are typical for Sevettijärvi area. They are small but mostly have sandy shore lines and after the next hill there´s more and more lakes. So it is nice to swim there, when the summer has been hot enough for the water to warm up and last year it really was. It is just a big shame that in places like that, you can also find glass on the beach. We tried to collect away everything we found. Piece of glass is not a nice surprise in your or your dogs foot.

We also made a little and really fast hiking trip in Näätämö one day. We felt like walking at least a little even though it was hot. There are several paths that lead to the Näätämö river area and finally to the longer paths to Kaldoaivi wilderness area  all the way from Näätämö to Nuorgam. We chose one of them that lead up to a little hill-top. We were hoping there would be a nice breeze of wind there.

At the start of the path there was a bigger lake and we wetted our dog there so it wouldn’t be too hot for her. We had to repeat that few times during the trip! First she was just eager to go walking  but during our walk more and more horseflies and mosquitos started gathering around us. And if you have read our older post you know horseflies are the thing our dog dislikes the most.

But we reached the hill-top and the bugs left us alone for a moment. So we to stopped and enjoyed the beautiful view to both lake Sevetti and towards Näätämö river. At first there was the little breeze we were hoping for but it paused nearly right away and the bugs came back. And on that moment our break was over.. Our dog just wanted to run to the car. So we were quite fast on the way back, she calmed down a little bit when we got to the forest and the horseflies left her alone for a while. Then she could sniff and enjoy her walk again.

Comparing now these hot days to the cold days we have now it makes me appreciate our four completely different four seasons even more. I just hope all of us can take good enough care of this planet so it will not change even more in the future.

Sunny winter day in Finland

Skaidijärvi

Now the everyday routine has started again after the holidays at our home. My son is back to school as well as my husband is back to his job. Christmas tree was carried outside and decoration collected away to wait for next Christmas. And the snow has mostly fallen from the trees and temperature was close to 0 degrees once again…. Well, it is colder again, today -9 degrees Celsius, so we got some beautiful frost on our trees and of course the ground is still covered with snow.

In our last blog post I posted few pictures about our summer trips that I haven´t yet written about. So I thought this would be a good time to write about one of those places. This place is called Skaidijärvi and it´s just a bit north from the village of Nuorgam, before the Norwegian border at the most northern Lapland. I have written before about our trip to Kaldoaivi and this place is by the same road, just closer to Nuorgam. Only one deep uphill from the village.

Weather was clear and sunny but it was very windy and we could see some rain clouds at the horizon. The path wasn’t too long and circled quite close around the parking lot so we thought that rain wouldn’t trouble us much. Skaidijärvi is mostly above the treeline, only few mountain birches growing here and there. So the wind was really able to blow without any obstacles. We were happy about the colder weather since the rest of the Finland was suffering from the heat. Our dog enjoyed the cool wind after the hot days.

The circle path was totally 5,8 kilometers long and mostly really easy to walk.  At the shore of Tuulijärvi there was a hut and a fireplace, but in that wind it wouldn’t have been a really good idea to make a fire. So we spent a moment relaxing by the lake and then continued our walk. Couple of really curious reindeer followed our way, for at least one kilometer, before realizing we weren’t that interesting. Even our dog who likes to watch reindeer got bored since they kept following us so for long.

The path went to  a place where you were able to beautifully see the Teno river valley. On the other side of Teno there´s Finland and the other side is Norway. One part, where the path crossed the road, we almost lost the track because of some really confusing markings but we found the right way again after some search. Apparently the path was planned to start from another parking place and the markings were more clear if you had started there. About a hundred meters before our car the rain finally came and in that short amount of time that it took us to walk to the car we got completely wet. The wind brought the rain so horizontal that while standing on the other side of our caravan car you didn´t get wet at all. On that day we were the only ones there although every time we have drove past the place before there has been walkers and cars. So we chose the right day and had lot of peace and wind whistle.IMG_0457tuulijärvi12tuulijärvi13

Change of weather

New Year has started with a complete change in the view. Few days ago a winter storm went through Finland and brought snow. Well, lot of trees also fell down on the wires and left people without electricity.. But most of those damages were fixed quite fast.

During the last days of the year 2018 my family visited Helsinki and the Korkeasaari zoo. You can see from the pictures that there was only a thin layer of snow, plus degrees and mostly ice on the ground. Most of the animals were more active than in the summer time thought.

And below there is some pictures from the end of this week. Minus -22 degrees Celsius and sun. A lot more snow on the ground and a proper winter look. It was so much nicer to go for a walk to the forest with my son and dog when the weather is like that!

I hope this time the snow will stay for good as well as the minus degrees. But nowadayswe never now, let´s keep our fingers crossed!

My favorite travel photos 2018

Year 2018 is nearly over! It was a great year with many amazing trips around my country. I picked up some of my favorite photos from trips this year, some of them have already been on the blog, some of them are waiting for a story.

Lets start with snow,snow,snow! This freezing buss stop in Enontekiö is my own favorite. (you can find the whole story called Winter Holiday here)

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Bus stop,Hetta

The first photo below is from Sevettijärvi (story coming later), we spent few hot summer days there. Sun, beach and swimming! The photo on the right is from Kainuu area (story coming later), a nature conservation area which had a good excercise path with lots of fallen trees.

The next pair is from the same location but from a little different place from a different trip. First one is taken from Valtavaara towards Ruka ( You find this one from our story Valtavaara) and the second one is from the top of Ruka (you can read the whole text here). Both important trips for me, first one spending our wedding anniversary with my husband and the second one with my great friends whom I see only once a year.

This photo is from this October from lake Inari (story Autumn holiday part 1) Perfect silent morning, promise of the winter in the air. And the colours where amazing!

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The photo on the right below is from Tuulijärvi, Nuorgam. ( blog texts coming up). My son found a great seat by the lake. Next photo with our dog is from the same place but towards Tenoriver valley. And the third picture with this little lovely fellow doesn’t really need any explanation, so cute!

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The photo above is from a wetland area in Sodankylä called Viiankiaapa, that´s another story to be told soon, but this photo is about this beautiful creature. I was walking there on my own when a lot of these beauties were resting on the duckboards. I’m not too big fan of injects but I think dragonfly is so fragile and light with the beautiful colours, just amazing.

 

Then the last pics! First one is from Nattaset (Autumn holiday part 2), just one of my absolute favorite views in Finland. Our dog at Elimyssalo (whole text with the same name found here), loved the wild-like area. The sunset at Enontekiö on our winter holiday and a view from Inari, Otsamo (story with the same name). Winter and summer days at their best. Going through these photos again makes me just wait for a new trip next year even more!

Have a happy start to new year and let´s all make some new happy travelling memories in 2019! Hyvää Uutta Vuotta!