This winter we didn’t have snow until 3d of January. It didn’t even feel very strange because last winter we didn’t have snow at all! But then around 10th of january started the “crazy winter” -we cot half of meter of snow in only 2 days and then crazy cold weather!
In the beginning of January we visited Imatra and we got to enjoy the real winter before it started here in South Finland. When the very cold temperatures started my working car’s heater didn’t want to operate anymore so it was impossible to work until I found what was wrong and it was fixed!
At the moment it seems that I have stop my business because Covid-19 and return to do ordinary work -but we’ll see what happens.
17th of January we got to see a rare halo in the sky! It was a cloudbow. I’ve never seen it before and now I got quite many pictures of it!
Now the sun is shining brighly in the sky, the day lasts more than 9 hours and spring is getting closer! 3 days ago it was still crazy cold when the sun was setting (-16°).
Kopparö recreation area is located in Raasepori and you need to take a short ferry ride to enter the Sher Landet (Skärlandet) island.
After you park your car and start walking the trail is very wide in the beginning. But soon you will see small bay on the right side and the trail is getting smaller. Here you will go across the suspension bridge.
The structure of the bridge is quite scary. I will share a video in the end of this blog about it. Right after this bridge we started to hear bird screaming with very high note. It was like “Kvik – Kvik – Kvik!” But the volume of the shouting was extremely loud. And only few minutes after this we saw them flying in the sky -Two White-tailed eagles!
This was a second time for me when I’m seeing this mighty bird. I guess these were two young ones because they were shouting all the time! (Mama! Mama! Look at me! I’m flying!!) Soon there was another bridge so we moved from Långön island to Stora Sandö island. This is like the “Main island” of the Nature path.
The trail goes almost around the island and because it was quite warm we chose to turn to the left. I knew there would be a place for swimming!
We didn’t have our swimming suits with us but it wasn’t a problem. We both did the the skin-dipping! The walk between Sandöedet and Stora Sandö grilling places is the most beautiful part of the trail! You can walk almost all the time very near to the sea and admire the clear water of the Gulf of Finland!
We reached the grilling place of Stora Sandö and took another break there to eat our snack. I also made a Droneflight to take few pictures and the video of this beautiful area.
After our snack my wife started to collect blueberries. Soon the half-a-liter bottle that we had was full of berries and we got to eat fresh blueberry pie at home! The whole trail is almost 8km walk and we did it all! In the map it looks like this:
In the beginning of this blog I said about the suspension bridge that I was little bit worried. So I made a video about it. It’s only in Finnish.
After packing our stuff and cleaning the cabin it was time to drive again. It was 50 km to Kuopio where we made about 2 hours stop. It was 1st time for my wife in this beautiful city. We parked the car to the new garage they have under the market square and came up to make a walk in the city center.
I have a BIG minus comment about the parking garage!! We went down to our floor (underground) from the side of this market hall and there was a sign that there will be this payment machine. But there wasn’t!! I had to walk to another elevator to find the damn thing! KUOPIO! Not like this! Our route went off from E4 highway in Juva but I had chosen quite small gravel road. Finally we entered the Pistohiekka & Lietvesi area. There is one special viewing point just beside the road.
From here it was only 80km’s to Imatra so in the afternoon we’re back in our house in Meltola. The summertour was over. The route for this day was like this:
We woke up little bit earlier than normally and had breakfast. Then we took a short drive to Korkeakoski (High rapids). 08.10am we were ready to start exploring…
There was also a naturepath starting from the rapids but we didn’t read any reviews of the path. It was a bit disappointment since the path didn’t follow the river in the canyon. Anyway the thick Savonian forest was beautiful but there were totally too many mosquitos!!
After getting back to the cabin we started packing our stuff… But while we were packing we suddenly decided to stay in this beautiful place one more night! So we didn’t pack our stuff but we headed to the canal that was also nearby.
There’s actually 2 canals, the old one is built in 1866-74 and it was mainly used for log driving. But in the same time the population in Savonia was growing and people started to use boats to move around our country… The new canal was built in 1981-83.
The total length of the canal is few hundred meters and the distance between two block gates is 240 meters. The difference of the surface in these two lakes is about 3,5 meters. I made also a short flight over the old canal…
Since we didn’t actually drive anywhere I’m not putting the route… Ahkionlahti Canal is located about 6,5km’s northwest from Maaninka.
Waking up beside the river in Lapland is quite nice. I took my drone up even it was max 50m.
Later the weather was not very nice in Finland either. But there was a chance that it wouldn’t rain so we decided to go up to Aavasaksa -after we crossed the Arctic circle…
Saariselkä is one of the first “Tourist attractions” in Lapland. There was visitors from other countries already in 18th century. In 1881 they built “Emperor’s Hut” for possible Russian Emperor visit but it never happened!
Aavasaksa is 242 meters high “mountain” just beside border of Sweden and Torniojoki -river. On the top of the hill is also one of the Struve Geodetic Arc -points. We took a walk around 2,5km path on the top of the hill. We had to take our raincoats because it was raining a little bit.
We also checked little bit of the city of Tornio -I was very interested how they had arranged the check in points on the border? But it was just a border patrol car beside the road before Sweden. There is an old church in Alatornio. This was built (1797) only 11 years before Sweden lost a war against Russia. And the church was built honoring the King of Sweden -I would say quite bad luck for him!
Then we drove all the way south of Oulu to the island of Hailuoto! Because weather forecast was quite nice for the evening and for next morning! Yes, the evening was nice but there was also quite strong wind!
Trying to make a dinner in this kind of wind was interesting. Ok the food was great but there was some sand and small stones as a spice! Route for the Day 11 was like this:
Day 7 was about driving west in quite cloudy and grey weather. It was a big pitty because there is many places to admire the landscape and the view to the sea.
We took also 1 ferry from Olderdalen to Lyngen. It was about 17€ and took about 50 minutes. But soon after this ferry we arrived to our destination! Blåvatnet This is a small lake located in Lyngen municipality in northern Norway. Area is also famous about Lyngen Alps where the shape of the mountains is more steep than ordinary fjells or mountains in Norway. The highest peak is Jiekkevarre with 1833 meters. Blåvatnet is one of the most famous hiking places in northern Norway. The lake is about 200 meters higher than the parking area and it’s about 4km’s walk. The landscape is rugged with lots of stones and small rivers to cross. Luckily for us it looked like it would not start raining. We started the walk up to the lake about 3.40 pm.
I was little bit afraid when the weather is so grey that we will not see the amazing crystal clear blue colour of the lake. But there was no reason! The water of the lake comes straight from the glaciers in the mountains and it stays very very crystal clear all the time!
The last 200 meters hike to the lake is quite difficult! The stones are big and sharp and there’s many chances to step wrong and twist your ankle or even worse. The consentration and physical struggle made me sweat quite a lot. Now I understood why quite many said to take your swimming pants so you can swim in the lake! I didn’t have them with me (So stupid!) so I just took off my jacket and t-shirt and flushed my upper body in the lake! On the way back I took only 3 pictures -Here’s one of them:
When you search the pictures of Blåvatnet you will ofcourse find those ones first that was takes in sunny weather and with clear blue sky. But when you come here you can’t choose your conditions and weather. We are very happy that we saw the lake at least without rain! The route for the Day 7 was like this:
It was beautiful morning beside Barents/ Arctic Sea. We started driving first to south towards Lakselv city and then to north towards Nordkapp. Even it was quite nice weather I knew it wouldn’t be like this in the North Cape -ofcourse I was hoping that there would be sunshine! We made the test cooking with our camping cooking system and I even called to Minna Jakosuo. I knew she would know the answer and she did!!
If you keep “The Heart” of this cooking system in the same package with all the pots, the steam from the burning fuel will catch the pots! And it is almost impossible to wash the taste away. Even this Alcohol Stove has a lid with seal the steam of alcohol is still going outside the heart!
So we didn’t have a proper cooking system anymore… All the pots were ruined by the taste of burning alcohol. Luckily we had quite a lot of food with us that you can eat if it is cold so we didn’t care too much about this. After very nice road from Lakselv to Honningsvåg (about 160km) we at least could check a little bit of this village and the views from the “Viewing point” from the military above this village.
So we didn’t visit the North Cape. It was my second time on this island and again I didn’t go to Nordkapp… (Shame on ME!) We had to drive the same beautiful road back to the mainland. The more south we were driving the more beautiful the weather was coming! On the southside of Skaidi we made a stop beside the road. It was amazing place with very nice landscape. I made even a drone flight.
We took a cabin from the camping area in Lakselv for the night so we could make proper food! The route for the day 6 was like this:
We started driving towards Norway. We shortly visited in the last shop to buy something sweet…
And very soon in Norway there is very nice rapids/ waterfall called Skoltefossen. We stopped to take pictures.
Our route was following the Varangerfjord and the views to this part of Barents Sea are beautiful. It was only few days earlier when one my friend visited Pykeija (Bugøynes) village so I was thinking I need to see this too! So even our weather wasn’t too nice we checked this small fishing village!
Our driving continued over Tana bridge. This is the only possible route from the “Western part of Norway” to the “Eastern Part of Norway” where this country has border with Russia.
After Tana we were still driving quite a lot before we entered the Silfar Canyon and ofcourse we stopped to take pictures!
We found a nice place for sleeping in the car beside the mainroad and we slept well!
We woke up in Ruka and cleaned the appartment. Started driving to Pyhätunturi (The Holy mountain). There was one stop on the way in the northside of Kemijärvi, there is a small village called Kostamo. Why is this village interesting?? It just happens to be the same name than my Family name…
From Kemijärvi to Pyhätunturi it’s not too far anymore. The path to the Pyhäkasteen lampi & vesiputous (pond in the end of canyon and the waterfall) had been closed for the whole summer until this day. So we were about the first ones to see these amazing views!
After this very nice hike we continued driving north. We were shopping first time in Sodankylä and then again in Inari. The second visit to shop was because we realized that we will be in Norway next day and there everything is much more expensive! We made a short stop in the top of Saariselkä and beside the Lake Inari.
We also found the place for sleep beside the Lake Inari. In the evening we were making food with our Trangia cooking system. The taste of food was terrible!
We realized that there was some taste of the fuel that we were using to make the fire in the cooking system. We put the question to Facebook to ask from other users did they have the same? Few days later we found out the reason. The route for the day 4 was like this:
First night slept in the car. It wasn’t bad at all!
We ate breakfast (as fast as we could -the mosquitoes were eating us!) and packed the car. Soon we were driving again. First stop we made at one old ironworks area called “Möhkö”. Unluckily they have entrance fee to almost everything there is to see so we checked only the cafeteria that was built inside a boat and the old boatcanal.
After Möhkö there is very big museum-area about WW II called “Öykkösenvaaran battle zone”. There would be quite a lot to see but we wanted to continue driving. At least I took a picture of this:
The route I was choosing is marked pretty much as the main road… At least in some maps. But I can say that I was about to loose my faith many times! It didn’t seem like the road was leading anywhere! And when I tried to check from google maps where we were -there was no internet!! This was the road: https://goo.gl/maps/zsoDNcJEPmVnNNgL8 But finally we made it to the bigger road and after maybe 2,5 hours of driving we made it to the Ruunaa rapids! Amazing area with many different kind of wild rapids…
There is also some islands where you can walk and it was so nice to see a duck family there swimming!
You can also see the work of the Beaver in Ruunaa! In one place there was more than 10 trees fallen… It would be nice to see the “guy” in action!!
After Ruunaa we were still driving north, we visited Mätäsvaara mine. This used to be the biggest Molybdenum -mine in Finland but it stopped working already in 1947 because nobody needed Molybdenum anymore.
Finally we arrived to one camping area from where we booked one small cabin. This was in Suomussalmi (one of my own personal favorite places in Finland!) We still took a drive to the “city” and went swimming.