Too warm November

So far this November has been awful! It´s significatly  warmer than normally this time of the year, so that means no snow and lot of rain! It has been really grey and dark outside the whole month. Besides the necessary walk with the dog, you don´t really feel like spending time outside that much. Or taking photos either since the pictures tend to look somehow depressing. These are the only not-all-grey photos I have at the moment.

Even Lapland is missing snow except the most northern parts. Next weekend they are supposed to have the Levi Alpine Skiing world cup competition and because of the preserved snow from last winter they will be able to do so. Otherwise the weather won´t be very impressive. Levi fell is 530 meters high and there´s 43 slopes where to ski. Levi is one of the biggest skiing centers in Finland and it has grown a lot in last fifteen years. I lived there for few months during my school training period in a company organizing guided snowshoes tours to the fells. It has changed a lot since then.

Last June I, my son and my dad visited Levi and took a gondolier ride to the top where the competition slope starts. Even the elevators  are named after the competitors. The weather  wasn´t the best, cloudy and a promise of rain in the air. From the elevator you can see this little cottage on the hill-side, they used it in a movie called Christmas Story, which tells the story of Santa Claus from a little boy to an adult. These pictures are bad ,I know, but can not help the elevators plex windows.

Since the last time I have visited the top, they had made a little trail over the top part. We walked around it despite the chilly weather. The view was surprisingly clear considering the weather and the Pallas fells were showing at the horizon. Levi is not the greatest place to spend peaceful time in the nature but there lot´s of other things to do even in the summer, like a summer sledge ride and a great just renovated spa. IMG_0146Im really hoping that the weather will take a turn for colder soon. At least in the north. Shortly it will be the time of our annual trip to Ruka to see the world cup in cross-country skiing, nordic combined and ski jumping. Even though they will be also able to organize the competions it wont be the same without the real snow and the winter wonderland scenery.

 

Autumn holiday part 3

So my Autumn story was extended to three stories.. But I just have to write about this place we visited a day before leaving back home. It’s called Särkifell and located in Muonio municipality. My parents went skiing there durind last winter and we have been planning to stop there many times. The starting point is right next to the road from Sirkka to Muonio, less than 20 kilometers before Muonio center. From the parking lot you can see a beautiful view to Pallas fells and the view just gets better when you walk uphill.

The route is short,well-marked and easy to walk. That and the great view from up there makes it also a really popular route, on that day there where also lots of people. We started our walk kind of early so on our way up we only saw few people but coming down was a different thing. Little after the half way up there´s a hut where you can make a fire and so did we. We had driven there from Ylläs and my son and his grandfather where already hungry. Aren’t men always hungry?  So we cooked early lunch there. We  hardly had made the fire when the first Siberian Jay flew to check us up. Siberian Jays are really tame in Lapland and they search for food near the camping sites. In southern Finland this same bird is really shy and you hardly ever see them.

But these ones were really used to people. And there were close to ten birds at the same time. I always have some dry bread in my pocket when we make day hikes in Lapland for these little fellows. These birds were brave enough to come to eat from my hand. Siberian Jay is about 30 centimers so it’s not  a tiny bird  but not a big one either. And I think they are so cute! I could have been feeding them all day, but don’t worry, I didn’t. Not too much treats at once!

When we had eaten and I said good-by to the birds we continued our way to the top. Särkifell is 492 meters high and from that point the path was more uphill. Soon we got good look at the beautiful silhouet of Pallas fell. That view is also selected one of Finlands national landscapes. Little cloud of mist was surrounding its lower hills. The view was lot different than last year at the same time when we walked there in knee deep snow.

From the top you should see all direction nicely but  the south side was really cloudy this time. But we had enough to see in other directions. We had to go the same way back again so on our way I just had to give the Siberian Jays the rest of the bread I had. We returned to Ylläs to get ready to leave in the early morning. But I just had to go for a walk once more before returning to the south. I ended up walking ten kilometres on the paths surrounding the fell Ylläs. Sun was setting down, the reindeer where walking with me in the forest and I had to walk high enough to see the silhouette of the surrounding fells. I don’t know if I can return this north before next summer so I tried to absorb all that in to my head as memories which will stay with me until my next trip to Lapland.IMG_1953

Autumn holiday part. 2

We have turned our clocks to the winter time and the weather is just right for it. The thermometer was showing -13 degrees Celsius and tiny snowflakes were flying in the air. We don’t have any snow on the ground yet but some parts of Finland, also in the south already had some snow. But unfortunately this type of weather is not long lasting since the weather forecast shows rain and plenty of plus degrees.

Our last story was about our Autumn holiday couple of weeks ago in Lapland and this is the second part of it . The last photo of that post was from lake Inari. From there we drove a little bit south to spend a lovely sunny day at Nattaset in Sompio nature reserve. But on the way we stopped at Saariselkä. There we drove up to fell Kiilopää, just to watch the scenery. The view from up there to every direction is amazing and even thought I have been there probably hundreds of times I can’t get tired of it. I could just sit there and stare at the scenery. On our way to north the view was a lot different, just foggy!

So after our quick visit there (long enough for my father to have a cup of coffee of course, since if there´s a break it is also a coffee break for him) we drove further to the village of Vuotso where Nattaset are located. It’s really popular place to visit so we weren’t surprised to see the little parking lot full of cars. We managed to get ours there too, even thought some people had proven they can’t park a little car without taking the space of tree cars. Our camper van took lot less space. The first part of the route goes in the forest slowly rising to the fell. The duckboards were frozen and really slippery but luckily there was not a lot of them. When we reached the tree line we were able to see to the artificial lake of Lokka, used for creating hydropower. Or actually we couldn’t see it, since it was the first cold day of our trip, so the water was still warmer than air and the lake area was covered in fog.

Since our little groups age difference is big, my son was tired of waiting for the rest of us from time to time, but he knows already how to handle it. He carries snacks in his pockets and so he can have a break where ever. And if we reach him while he is still sitting on some cliff or a rock he tells us to keep on going and in a while he will run past us. When so high on the fell the evergreen trees are not growing anymore, the part with fell birches looks really bare when there´s no leafs anymore. But it is part of the attraction and one of the reasons why we want to come also this time of year to Lapland when it’s not really a tourist season. It is different. You can check our older post from Nattaset to see the difference to summer time.

On the top, there were many people already and the little hut was full, so we ate our snacks outside which wasn’t a bad option. We just had to find a place  away from the little but freezing wind which was blowing on the fell. My son decided that we could not go back until we had climbed on top of tree different cliffs of rocks or how to call them. Nattaset is formed of rocks called red granite and the ice age have shaped them on the top in a unique way. We have been there few times before but never climbed to all these rocks, but my son saw this nature programme of people on the top of every one of them so he didn’t leave me alone until we had climed to all of them. Okay, one of them I skipped but that was not for me, I’m not 13 anymore like my son! But I climed to two biggest and well, easiest one..

After our walking trip we had to drive south to Sodankylä where we turned our car back to north but to the west of Lapland, towards the skiing center of Ylläs. We had planned to spent the next few days in a cabin there. And it really felt great to go to sauna after all the climbing. If you ever visit Finland there is one thing you just have to do and that´s going to real Finnish sauna. Spend a day outside, the colder the better and then go to Sauna. Then you understand me! Next morning we decided to stay nearby the cabin and go for easier walk somewhere in the Ylläs area. So we went to the Ylläs nature center where many of the paths starts but it was so crowded we decided to choose some other route. And of course my son wanted to go up again so we ended up driving to the other side of fell Ylläs where there is a few kilometre path straight to the top. Day wasn’t sunny but not very cloudy either so the whole fell was showing.

But when we walked up, clouds started to gather on the top of the fell. The path went on a little road they probably also use for service purposes so it was  easy to walk. And by easy I mean the surface not actually walking since the path started to go deep uphill soon and it was really good exercise..if you are in better shape than me, or any of us. For us it was more like one step towards and one back. But after a lot of breaks we made it to the top, although the view disappeared half way up and all we really good see was clouds. On top there is a restaurant (only open in winter season) where is a space where hikers can take a break indoors. Which was a great thing because on the top there was a really strong wind. The wind stopped again on the way down. Ylläs is 718 meters above sea level and lot higher than the fells around it so the wind gets to blow quite free at the top.

Our easy day wasn’t so easy after all… so you can easily guess what we did next?! Sauna of course!

I will write a third part to our Autumn story since there´s still one more great new place we visited on our trip. Now I just got to go out and enjoy this beautiful day.

Autumn holiday part. 1

I, my son and my parents spent the kids autumn holiday week in Lapland. We travelled by my dad´s campervan. We spent the first few days on the eastern side of Saariselkä and Inari and then drove west to Ylläs. The weather was everything from foggy and rainy to minus degrees and sun but no snow this year. Which wasn’t a surprise since it has been the warmest October ever in Finland. So this time there will be no snowy photos like last year from Pallas ( you can check those from earlier stories). But we had fun anyway, walking and biking and just relaxing.

I have divided the story in two parts so there will be another text coming up later. We drove the fastest way up north in western Finland through the Botnia area straight to Rovaniemi where we spent the first night and drove next day to Saariselkä.

After a lot of driving we wanted to go out walking. The weather was really foggy, we had to slow down the speed because of the fog on our way. We drove to the Urho Kekkonen national park in Tankavaara where there´s a nature center which was closed for the autumn. We chose only a three kilometer circle path because it wasn’t so long to darkness and we also wanted to make a fire and eat some sausages.

The forest was really foggy but in a way it was really beautiful and kind of mystique. It felt like we were more in the middle of nowhere than we actually were since the road to Inari wasn’t that far. Our barbecue place was almost at the end of the circle. There was a little hut where we were able to sit and enjoy the warmth of the fire. Air was really warm for the time of year but it was really humid. It was almost dark when we arrived to our car but we stayed for a while since my son wanted to test his new bike on the empty parking lot. We were also the only ones walking on the path,  wonderful silence! We stayed nearby for the night and  continued our way in the morning.

Our target for the next day was the homestead of Raja-Jooseppi. The homestead is located  right on the frontier zone line to Russia, 55 kilometers from the town of Ivalo. Actually earlier people had to report themselves to the border station before entering the area. Now the frontier zone line has been moved so you can visit the homestead without notification.  In the morning it was raining a bit but it stopped when we arrived there.

It’s a short walk of few hundred meters from the parking lot to the area in the beautiful north Lapland forest. The borderline goes right next to the path. A man called Joosef Sallila, who used to live close to our home, moved to this location with his life partner Matilda in early 1900.  The area includes about ten little huts and domestic objects like an oven in the ground where they use to bake their bread. The life there must have been really isolated since the nearest roads of that time were really far. They fished, hunted, kept reindeers and some domestic animals to survive there. They also digged gold and catched pearls from the river.  It really makes you think how easy our modern-day life is now.

After we drove back, we took a break next to the road on the shore of Lutto river. Sun started to shine and the clouds were disappearing. It kind of bugged me since all my photos from Raja-Jooseppi were a bit dark. The place was so great from my opinion it would have been nicer to show more sunny sites. We still drove a little bit north to Inari and stayed the night by Inari lake side. The air was bright and getting colder, it was the first night on our trip when the temperature went to minus degrees. We chose a nice open spot in case the northern lights would appear and they did but they weren’t really bright that night, more like little blury. So I didn’t snap any photos. The lower picture is from the next morning when the sun was slowly getting up and there was some mist on the water surface. Perfect view for waking up!IMG_1812

Longer nights

Autumn nights are getting dark earlier and earlier. I love it because now I can lit candles everywhere inside and outside the house. But at the same time, now you have to remember the shorter days when planning outdoor activities in the evening.

Few weeks ago we went grocery shopping in the town of Parkano, they have some more shops there than in our home town, so we go there every once in a while. This time we suddenly had an idea to walk through a little nature path in the Parkano forest museum area. It´s a small place where it’s shown how they used to timber the forests and stuff like that. We had to be kind of fast since the dusk was all ready showing. (and excuse me for the not so good pictures, I only had my phone camera)

The museum area is located few kilometers north from Parkano and the main buildings are open only during summer so it was quiet there. The few kilometer path goes first in a forest and then along a lake. Little after the start there was a little swamp where I could have stayed the whole time. There were lot of cranberries! Unfortunately I didn’t bring any cup or anything to collect them so I just had to eat all I could and be on my way. Or eat the ones I could get to before my dog. She loves them too and since it’s hard for her to get them from the grass and the moss , she just follows me and tries to eat from exactly the same place where I’m picking them.

When  we reached the lake the sun was setting down and the lake was calm. There´s a little forest church or something like that on the little cliff at the shore on a very pretty place. The water level was really low so we could easily walk on the shore cliffs that are often covered in water. At the shore before returning to the museum area there’s a lean-to and a fireplace which you can also reach with a wheelchair.

When we walk back to our car the darkness had surrounded us so we had exactly enough time to spend on the path. I love these little trips we can make in the middle of the week without planning, it gives me energy and some change for everyday routines. We have been making these trips to some wetlands during this autumn to find cranberries but this ain’t good year for any berries , due the dry summer.

Happy Autumn and waiting for the winter to come!

Toriseva

One sunny morning few weeks back I walked along Toriseva lake, located in my hometown, Virrat, just on my own. It´s a beautiful place only few kilometers from the house where I grew up and my parents still live. So it’s really a place where I have visited many many times.

It was around eight o’clock in the morning when my husband dropped me off at the north end of  Alainen Toriseva. Alainen basically means the lowest since there are three of Toriseva lakes highest, the middle and the lowest one. They are all deep lakes with a cliff on their other side. The median depth of the lakes is 20 meters middle Toriseva being the deepest one with 37 meters at one point. The lake I followed and where the marked nature path runs is 1,2 kilometer long, the longest of all tree of them. The whole lake area is about 3 km long.

At the north end of the lake there is a parking place with a sitting area, since the road from Tampere north to Lapua goes along the west side of the lakes. The path begins there  and at the beginning you can visit the lakeside to enjoy a nice view to the lake. There´s also a coffee place, open during summers, on the top of the hill.  Coffee place is called Torisevan kahvimaja and it has been there since 1936.

The temperature was close to zero celsius when we left from home so it was still kind of cool when I reached the lake and a thin layer of mist  was floating on top of the water. Sun was rising and the sky was clear from clouds. Perfect weather. There´s never lot of walkers at that time of day, actually I was the only one. The path goes on the top of the cliffs near the edge.  The track signs and info boards were renewed during this summer so they are easy to follow. The whole nature path is a circle route with 6 km total length but I only walked the part on the lakeside since I was going to walk to my parents place through the village where I used to live.

When you reach the south end of the lowest lake you come to the high point of Inkerinkallio (Inkeris’ cliff). There´s a nice view  to the country side. In Autumn colours it looked really pretty. The Inkerin kallio gets its name from a story of a noblewoman Inkeri Kurki. The story tells that the upper class girl fall in love with a common man and the family forbid their love. They sent Inkeri away to Virrat and the boy was sent to Swedish army. Inkeri came to pray for her loved one every night to the top of the clift. When she got the message that her beloved one had died, she jumped to the lake to end her life too. They say that you can still see her knee markings on the top where she prayed.

After Inkerin Kallio the lake ends and the path goes to the shore. There´s a fireplace and some tables to have a break. From the shore you can see the cliffs very nicely. It’s a place where I spent three summers when I was around ten. It was a stage for an opera which told a story about a local bearhunter, Martti Kitunen, who is known nationally for killing almost 200 adult bears during his life (1747 – 1833). I played a part in the opera as one of his kids, no singing of course! That would have scared the audience off… On the training breaks us kids used to swim in Toriseva, which I haven’t done since. The water stays pretty cold during the summer because of the depth and the cliffs.

My walk continued on the village roads on the other side of the road 66, mostly on the road which I used to bike to our small village school by a lake. Unfortunately the school is not working anymore. The sun was shining and it was peaceful and quiet to walk on that autumn Saturday morning.

Koulunmäki 30.9.2018 M.

Editor’s note: if you have checked out our Instagram feed, you might have seen photos from Toriseva before. To see photos from summer time or with more autumn colors click the Instagram on the rightside of this blog text. Autumn is changing the colors of nature. Same place, two weeks in between.

Koulunmäki 12.10.2018 T.

12th of October

Autumn Sunday in Seitseminen National Park

 

We have spent so much time at home lately that my son started suggesting that we should go somewhere to hike and make a fire. So Sunday one week agowe drove to Seitseminen National Park which is the closest national park from our house. We know that usually on sunny autumn Sunday there is lots of people there, so we searched the map for a place little less crowded. And we were right, there were lots of cars on parking lots.  But our choice of track was good, we only saw few people and no-one at the camping site.

The first part of our walk wasn’t really a path but more as a road. The day was sunny but also cold. It was really the first day that you felt the winter is on its way. When we had walked few kilometers that road-like path, we came to a lake which was occupied by a beaver, there was fallen trees everywhere. Our path also took a turn to another direction and really got smaller and not so well taken care of. From some parts the duckboards were in really bad shape. But we didn’t mind since it was peaceful to walk without rush. Trees had yellow leaves and wind blew them around.

The beavers work followed our chosen all the way to the camping site called Liesijärvi. There were two places to make a fire, a lean-to and a little further a normal fireplace.  We chose the normal one which was in a little peninsula. We made fire and cooked some veggie burgers and had really nice time. We walked the same way back so our route was 9 kilometres long totally. Just enough for a relaxing Sunday walk. We stopped at the traditional farm of Kovero on our way home which is one of the most visited places in Seitseminen. It was already evening so the national park was quiet and the people were gone.

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Valtavaara

In the end of July I travelled to Ruka with my husband for a weekend. It was our 12th wedding anniversary and the first time ever we went anywhere to celebrate it. So what would have been a better place to spend it than the place where we got engaged.  On that weekend we went for a walk on Valtavaara that rises behind the fell of Ruka. We had never been there before and it was a warm and sunny day, perfect for walking.

The route was 6 kilometers long circle which takes you to the top of Valtavaara. The place is a nature conservation area. It was a lot of climbing from the start. Stairs and rocks. Route is really popular so we met a lot of people.

You can see really well the ski jumping hill of Ruka from the track. And see how amazing the place is where it stands. I have never been on the top of it but I bet that the view from there is great, I would never have the guts to come down there with skies though! The path also goes to a little pond where is a nice peaceful place to take a break and make a fire.

On the last uphill the stairs are cut to the rock, they blend to the scenery really well. At the top there´s a hut which was built for fire watching. Now it is a day hut for people to have a break. From the top the path of Valtavaara and the path for the Karhunkierros, the hiking route to Oulanka National park, separate. I have never hiked that track but someday I hopefully will.

The way down was a lot easier but with less open views, path run mostly in the forest. As you can see from one of the pictures it’s not only people who use the path. But these ones where a little shy and turned around when they came closer to us. Not far from the top there was also another place to take a break and also a hut where to make a fire. The temperature rise to +25 degrees Celcius so after all the climbing we were really ready to go and just relax in our hotel room.

 

Apple pie

Autumn is time for apples. All the apple trees flowers got frozen in my garden in the spring so we don’t have any apples of our own but luckily we got some from our relatives. I used most of them to make applejam which I will use in the winter for appleloaf. But some I had to save for my favorite apple pie. Here´s the recipe for it. Usually I make my own vanilla sauce but now I was lazy and used a ready one for the store. IMG_0904

Apple pie

2 1/2 dl flour

1 1/2 dl sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda

2 dl buttermilk or sour cream

75 g butter

1 egg

on the surface:

4-5 small apples

cinnamon  and sugar Apple pie before baking

Heat the oven 225 degrees celsius.

Melt the butter. Cut the apples in slices. Measure all dry ingredients together. Add buttermilk, butter and egg. Spread the mix into a buttered dish and line up the apples on the top. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes. Serve with vanilla sauce or ice cream.

Autumn = home time

Autumn is home time! After travelling around all summer, it is time to calm down and spend some time at home. Harvesting the last vegetables and herbs from the garden and making everything ready  for winter. This summer was really different because of the heat, for the first time I even got watermelons from my own greenhouse.

 

 

 

I´ve been without a car for few weeks now so I been driving around with bicycle. It has been good excercise after the lazy summer! And I think the Finnish country side is at its best during autumn. Twenty kilometer bike ride to my grandmothers doesn’t feel much when you got nice views to look at. Or listening to the flocks of cranes yelling in the sky. That makes me a little bit melancholic since they are leaving soon, but the feeling in the spring when first of them return to north is  then even better. Those are just the signs of seasons changing which I love.

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Autumn is also the season to go collect mushrooms. At first it was looking bad this year because everything was so dry but now some rainy days have made the mushroom situation much better. Last weekend I, my sister and my niece went to pick up some chanterels, those are the best kind of mushrooms. For me at least!  Found some, not much but some and we had nice time in the forest. If you don’t count the numerous deer flies trying to crawl to your hair and clothes.

 

 

 

This season also means morning dews which bring every spider web to sight, beautiful sunsets and dark evenings making it lovely to light the first candles. I wish you all beautiful autumn where ever you are! Enjoy it! I know I do.