Hike to Kultala gold mining village of River Ivalojoki

 

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day or as we call it Ystävänpäivä (friends day). Here Valentine’s Day means more celebrating friends, family and everyone who is important to you, a friend’s day! Anyway it made me think about a trip with the most important person of my life.

We were spending a summer holiday in Lapland in 2013 when I started to plan a one day’s hike to spend some me-time for a change. Well that never happened but, I’m really glad about the change of plans. I got some memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life

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I had planned to hike to Kultala – the Crown Station, a gold mining village by the river Ivalojoki. The reason for the change of plans was my son, eight years old at the time, who started saying that he wants to go with me. At first I was hesitant because the walk I was planning was 22 kilometers and I had no idea what kind of route it was. But when we reached the starting point of the route by car, he had already convinced me to take him with me.

I know that many eight year old wouldn’t or couldn’t make that long hike in one day, but my son used to be the most energetic child that I’ve ever met.   My husband had to stay by our camper van because we had our old dog with us who couldn’t walk that far. So at noon we left with our lunch in the pack bag. The route starts and ends with a hanging bridge. The first one is smaller as well as the river below.

The day was sunny but not too hot to walk and during that summer there were no mosquitoes which can be quite annoying during some summers in Finland. The path is very well marked and there’s a milestone after every kilometer that told you how long have you walked and how much there is still ahead. Hardest part of hiking with an energy package like my son is to get him to slow down a little bit on the start so he will be able to keep going all the way.

23072013272On half way to the Crown station we had a quick lunch break and kept going. The route has really nice views from forests to swamps and there’s a little side path that goes in top of small fell for those who want some extra. We also walked the extra route on our way pack and it was nice since it was the hottest time of the day and on the top there was a little breeze that you can only feel up there.

When we reached the river Ivalojoki we had to cross it by the hanging bridge and saw the scenery to the Crown station over the river and it was beautiful. There is the feeling of old times when you see the houses and the yard area, its like you were on old Finnish black and white movie that tells a story of the gold diggers. The houses are open for visits in the summer and of course my son wanted to see everything straight after arriving. Mum would prefer a little snack and sit down for a while after a hard walk.

There are tables, fireplace and a toilet, as well as a rental hut for hikers. They keep the houses as original as they can and the Kultala is among the nationally valuable cultural heritage areas. When we had finished our visit to every single building we sat down for a well deserved break, although not quite as long as I wanted, before the journey pack.

23072013288You have to return by the same path you came from if you don’t want to use map and compass. On our way pack we saw more hikers coming but most of them had tents and others supplies for at least one night stay. During the two last kilometers the distance also started to affect on my son but with couple of extra brakes the journey went great. I was really proud of him for making the whole way without complaining.

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