Tag Archives: national parks

The gateway to Kolovesi national park

Nature info hut

Before entering Kolovesi national park you should drop by in Enonkoski. From Kolovesi nature hut you can get kayaking maps and info for your trip. The old warehouse now serves as a Kolovesi information center and is one of the nicest nature centers in Finland.

Old warehouse

There is a nature exhibition inside the house offering info about Saimaa Ringed Seal, only to be spotted in Saimaa lake area and also in Kolovesi national park.

Exhibition inside

The cafe is run by local 4 H Association and has a very nice terrace by the rapids. Not a bad place to have a break. Be sure to check the old bridge just a few meters away.

Terrace by the rapids

From late June there is an international sand art exhibition nearby the info hut. In Enonkoski you can get last supplies from local grocery stores for you kayaking trip.

Sand art

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September kayaking in Linnansaari national park

September kayaking is great. Linnansaari national park on lake Saimaa is quite empty. During the days I was kayaking there I spotted only a few boats and two fellow kayakers. At least it was not because of the weather, which was quite warm for the season, still some summer left in it. Not much “ruska” colors yet, some birch trees had already started to turn golden.

Did some nice day trips to the park with barely no wind at all. On some days felt like I had the national park all to myself. I called it real luxury.

Linnansaari island in the distance.

Passing Linnansaari island

Past cliff shores

Water level on lake Haukivesi is quite low at the moment.

Water level in September

Closeup

Fine sunny September day

Great view to the park from the fire site on Kirvessaari island.

Great view to the national park

Plenty of wood available for campers.

Plenty of fire wood at the fire site

Tent site art.

Tent site art

No wind at all

September evening moisture.

September evening moisture

Still moment

Breathtaking colors

See my other blog posts on Linnansaari national park.

Palkaskero fell in Lapland

One of the most beautiful places of Lapland is the area near Pallastunturi fells. It is a part of Pallas-Yllästunturi national park. One very nice and easily accessible top is Palkaskero fell near Pallastunturi Visitor Centre.

In early April the skiing season is at its best with lots of snow and nice sunny days if you are lucky. I approached the top of Palkaskero with my Ski hoks which sounded a good idea at first but proved to be a wrong choice for the place. Though those short skis are great in the places where you usually would go by snowshoes, the icy slopes of Palkaskero requires longer skis and proper shoes and bindings. The ascend was still quite easy with skins. Descending from the top was hard because of the spots of ice on the slope, there were just not enough soft snow for it. You just could not put enough weight onto the edges of the skis. Snowshoes, like one of my friends had, would have been a good choice.

The view from the top is awesome. You can see the row of fells to the north and the fells of Ylläs to the south. From the level of about 450 meters you will reach the top of 705 meters.

Palkaskero seen from the Visitor Centre.

Palkaskero

Snow kiters on the side of Palkaskero fell.

Snow kiters

Snow waves on the way to the top.

Waves

A view to the north.

To the north

Below was the start of Palkaskuru ravine.

Palkaskuru ravine

On the way down the fell.

Descend

A view to the south.

To the south

Tour skating in Linnansaari national park

The tour skating track between Oravi and Porosalmi in Linnansaari national park is probably the longest maintained natural route in Finland. The route is about 18 km long so whether you leave from Oravi or Porosalmi and go to the other side of the lake and back you will skate good 36 kilometers.

The route goes through Linnansaari national park, where else can you skate in national park? Just wonderful. An unique place, absolutely.

The starting point in Porosalmi. You can rent skates, kicksparks, shoes and even helmets from the safari house on the shore.

Start at Porosalmi

A day ticket to the route.

Ticket

At the start the route is quite a road, ice is well kept and smooth.

Wonderful ice way

You can have the first stop by the island of Pieni-Lappi (Little Lapland). There is a fire site and a nice bench by the route.

First stop at 4 km

The kickspark is ready to go on.

Kickspark ready

After 13 km we reached the hotspot of Sammakkoniemi on Linnansaari island, the most visited island of Linnansaari national park in summer also. I did not expect to see so many skaters, it was almost crowded at the fire site and at the cafe.

Sammakkoniemi rest stop

The tiny weekend cafe was full of people waiting for their lettu (thin pancakes) and coffee.

Cafe in Sammakkoniemi

Along the route were nice benches with blankets on them, nice! I guess because of Linnansaari Day tourist skaters were treated this luxury.

Blankets on the benches

After about 18 km and several stops we reached Oravi in the eastern shore of lake Haukivesi.

Turning point in Oravi

A part of the route has been opened just a few weeks ago.

Ice

Coming back from Oravi we enjoyed a moderate head wind. On the open lake, after 36 kilometers it felt like a real exercise.

Against the wind

These characters are watching you while you skate by. Made by Nature.

They're watching you

Kayaker’s paradise in summer, skater’s in winter.

Linnansaari national park

A video from the trip.

Seita trail in Ylläs – Lapland

Seita trail in Äkäslompolo, Ylläs starts at Kellokas visitor center, one of the centers of Pallas-Yllästunturi national park. See the hiking trail map of Ylläs. The trail is about 9 km long so it is a very nice route for a short day hike.

The trail follows Varkaankuru nature trail for a while past Varkaankuru ravine and then continues round Kellostapuli fell and through Kellostapuli ravine. The first part of the trail follows the stream and goes in the forest on the northern side of Kellostapuli fell. The trail ascents on the fell quite a bit before reaching Kellostapuli ravine up between two fells.

One feisty woman welcomes you at the start of the trail
For nordic walkers
Varkaankuru ravine
Flowing
Bridges cross the stream in several places
View to Pirunkuru gorge on Kesänki fell
Story boards tell about beliefs of Lapland’s sami people – Kellostapuli at the back

Kellostapuli ravine is mostly covered with duckboards and steps. Here starts the ascent to the ravine.

Start of the boulder field up between the tops of Kellostapuli and Keskinen laki
Little info huts on the trail
The trail in the gorge
After a little hike
Lots of quartzite and mist
Duckboards in the gorge
Limited visibility
More rocks
Close-up

After the ravine there about 1 km to Varkaankuru lean-to. In early October after the high season of fall visitors it seemed to be very popular, I guess because many day trails go past and it is close to the visitors center.

Siberian jay (perisoreus infaustus) at the lean-to of Varkaankuru

Nuuksio national park from Kattila starting point

Kattila is a popular starting point to Nuuksio national park because it has public transport (bus line 85A) available in summer. If hiking south from Kattila you will reach Haukankierros trail which is quite used by people leaving from the most popularstarting point of Haukkalampi.

Field at Kattila starting point
Path on Haukankierros trail
Terrain on the connecting trail

In early September I walked from Kattila through connecting routes clockwise towards Haukkalampi and then made a visit off the main trails to lake Iso-Holma and its fire sites. The trail to Iso-Holma from the main trail is not marked but is very visible. Iso-Holma northern fire site has a lot of tent places around, I guess it is quite popular with scout and other groups. This time on only two groups of day visitors were around.

Lake Iso-Holma from the northern fire site
Southern fire site on lake Iso-Holma
Lake Iso-Holma
Rock formations

September forest and weekend had attracted quite many people in rubber boots and with their bark baskets searching for mushrooms. For more info about Nuuksio national park, visit here.

September forest
Connecting path to Kattila
Beautiful wide duckboards

Kayaking and fauna in Linnansaari national park

Every kayaker knows how easy it is to get close to local animals while kayaking. In areas where you do not visit daily, it is great to observe not so familiar species or even make first encounters with some.

In this summer while kayaking in Linnansaari national park on lake Saimaa in Eastern Finland, I met variety of animals. The king of the water birds, the Black-throated Diver or Arctic Loon (Gavia Arctica), kuikka in Finnish, is a familiar sight on clear waters of Saimaa. At the beginning of August, some of them were already gathering in groups, preparing for migration. For those interested more in arctic loons, check the new, magnificient book with great photos “KUIKKA alkulintu” (in Finnish) by Mauri Leivo.

Loons

Another huge bird I observed from quite close while kayaking was an osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sääksi or kalasääski in Finnish. This one had built its nest on the top of a big rock in the middle of the lake and was observing passer-bys from afar while its baby was in the nest.

Osprey’s nest

While trying to avoid disturbing the osprey, 5o meters from osprey’s nest I observed first a beaver swimming by the shore and then its nest.

The highlight of these encounters still was when I saw a Saimaa Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida saimensis), saimaannorppa in Finnish, while kayaking one afternoon. I observed it for a while from my kayak. There are only under 300 individuals left, so it is among the most endagered species.

This individual carried a radiotransmitter on its back. At the local “Fish Day” at the village of Oravi, I met researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, who told that of their research and that 9 seals are “under surveillance” in the area.

This little radiotransmitter is used on baby seals.

Saimaa ringed seal tracker

The seal I met was an older one and was probably quite used to humans because it did not dive away but remained quite close to my kayak. I managed to get some video though I was pretty excited to spot it. Did not want to disturbe it more so I somewhat reluctantly kayaked away.