12 March 2011

Hiking on Lemmenjoki National Park, Lapland Finland

August 2010

Did a three day hiking trip on Lemmenjoki National Park with two other fellows on mid August 2010. The weather was still amazingly warm and what was more strange was the fact that there were practically no mosquitoes at all. Brilliant!

Our plan was to see some gold mining in practice, as Lemmenjoki area was known still perhaps the most important area in Finland for private gold searching, by hand and by motored equipment (as writing this blog now in March 2011, Finland's Government extended gold mining Act in this region by 9 years). Striking fact was that there were practically no roads in the National Park for gold searchers. Thus in practice they had had to carry all equipment there with snow mobiles during winter time.

We had reserved some cabins and therefore didn't have to carry tents in backpacks. There was in fact a well marked route that one had to follow carefully while hiking (usual restriction in National Park).


Arrived at Ahkun Tupa cottage in the evening by car. Booked a small cottage and had a dinner at the Bar. Enjoyed the usual Reindeer Stew, with mashed Lapland potatoes and Lingonberries, yummy !
Booked seats to the boat taxi, which would carry us tomorrow some 10 miles along with Lemmenjoki River, where the hiking would start.

Ahkun Tupa, a legendary place 

Day 1

Early breakfast at the Bar of Ahkun Tupa, and then started to wait the boat trip. The boat had seats for about 20 people and it came full of eager hikers. During the boat trip, we had to step out from the boat and walk a bit due to low water in the Lemmenjoki River.  The boat stopped a couple of times, leaving people on and off board. Previous stop before the finish we stopped to see a nice waterfall.  Overall the boat trip took about 1h 30mins, carrying us about 17km.

Planned route for our hiking on day 1 was quite short. However, the path started to rise and rise all of its way from the river and made walking more heavier. Scenery, although being all the way in the forest, was very nice.

After 1h 30min walk we arrived at the hut, called Kultala, along a small Morgamoja stream. There were actually two parts in the hut, one (for a rent) for pre-booked ones and another one open for everyone following first-in rule. Proudly owning the key to the pre-booked part of the hut, it was now reserved only for us. There was also a small Sauna hut, which put other fellows on a cheered mode (they did exercise Sauna later in the evening, even dropping in the stream, water temperature was +9C).

After some rest, we had one goal to achieve, i.e. find a geocache hidden on Petronellan Kukkulat Fell near by the hut.  Although summit of the fells often are quite flat, 360 degrees view from the summit was astonishing.  After this, an early dinner put us into deep sleep.

Hiking distance of day 1 was about 8km. The weather stayed rather cloudy the whole day, temperature around +15C.

A local taxi transferring hikers to Natural Park and Gold Mining region

Geocaching on Petronellan kukkulat Fells (better not to translate these...)

Route for Day 1:

Day 2

Early breakfast and off we went.  Clear blue sky and the sun was shining. Started to climb to first fell, Pellisenlaki (the fell named according to a man called Pellinen, a famous gold miner some 50 years ago).

The large area of the summit was treeless and the scenery really beautiful. A young family walked towards us and were heading to the boat. Had a short chat with them. The man appeared to be a gold miner (gold digging season approx. from June to September). Lots of reindeers looking for things to eat were wandering on the summit, too.

After passing the summit of the Pellisenlaki fell, the path started to go slightly downhill but soon again started to rise to top of the next fell, Gaskoaivi (the name sounds very Sami language).

From the summit of the Gaskoaivi fell, when looking to the north direction, one could see several huts of the gold miners as well as some machinery which you heard making the noise. Unfortunately they were in such far in distance that we decided to continue our hike and not to visit them.

As we noticed that the path started to drop a lot after the summit, we decided to have a lunch break on the summit thus able to enjoy the scenery.

After the lunch break the path went downwards and hiking became easier. The nature changed as well when we went more and more down, first start to appear trees then some small streams. Lots of shots with a camera.

Once we reached the Ravadas river, the path went to more into the forest, quite different though. The forest looked more like a maintained park rather than a forest in natural condition. Here and there were dead fallen trees, gray colored, making a nice contrast to green colored surface of the ground.

The path continued downhill following the Ravadas river all the way until the Ravadasjärvi hut along the Lemmenjoki river.  This hut was open to all hikers. As we were the first ones, were able to choose the place. During the evening more and more hikers came to the hut staying overnight there, some stayed in their tent.

The hiking route from Kultala hut to Ravadasjärvi hut was mostly downhill and contained the best scenery that we came across.

Two fellows went to swim, water temperature was about +12C. Otherwise the rest of the evening was dedicated to eating lots of food.

Hiking distance of day 2 was about 15km. The weather stayed sunny in the morning and partly cloudy in the afternoon. The temperature was around +17C during the day time.

Reindeers on the summit of Pellisenlaki Fell

Summit of the Gaskoaivi Fell

I called this "The forest of the dead trees"

Crystal clear water in Ravadas River

The same as a short video clip:

Route for Day 2:

Day 3

The morning was a bit more chilly than the day before. However, the sky was again out of clouds. Good breakfast and off we went again. Now the plan was to walk back to Ahkun Tupa cottage, following the hiking path (the path changed the side of the Lemmenjoki river at a half distance).

The hiking path followed the river, first on the shoulder of the river, then very near the shore. Two short breaks before the lunch break were justified due to beautiful nature and weather.  The lunch break came near the place where one was able to cross the Lemmenjoki river (as there were no bridges in the river).

Crossing the river was provided by a self-serviced boat and thus made fool proof easy. After crossing the river, the path started to rise towards the shoulder, now much higher than on the other side earlier. At the same time the nature changed again, this time there started to be much more pine trees.

After several hours we arrived at Ahkun Tupa cottage (where we had rent a hut). Shower, clean clothes and a dinner with Reindeer Stew and some beer crowned the day and made the end of the hiking trip.

Hiking distance of day 3 was about 17km. The weather stayed similar than the day before, sunny in the morning and partly cloudy in the afternoon. The temperature was around +15C during the day time.

Would I recommend this area for others who would be keen on hiking there?  Certainly yes. The treeless summit of the fells, almost park style of forests and crystal clear rivers make this area unique.

Early morning, Lemmenjoki River at Ravadasjärvi Lodge

Härkäkoski Lodge (for a rent)

Hiking path on shoulder of the Lemmenjoki River

Hiking path approaching the Lemmenjoki River

Self-service for crossing the Lemmenjoki River 

Screw anti-clockwise, why?

Erosion made by Tourists

Route for Day 3:


Well, what about our goal of seeing some gold mining in practice, and maybe trying it by ourselves?  We didn't spot any place so near the route, so we decided in the middle of the trip that we'd drive near Kiilopää fell, as we knew some people used to work there.  Fortunately we spotted one chap, who even let us to try digging. End result? We did find some very, very small pieces of gold, actually called gold dust and gave them to the owner.  Although not coming physically rich we became mentally rich; as you started to dig the earth full of stones and rock you realized that it was not just fun but hard work.

Searching gold and becoming rich - or is it just a way of life


1 comment:

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