This time of year is something our souls have been craving for. The amount of light, the promising smell that reminds us that all good things all yet to come, and sunrises, that appear earlier and earlier every morning. No one appreciates light more that a Lappish person in March, just saying.
Two weeks ago we wanted to do a shortish and easy winter hike somewhere, and after speculating enough we decided to head to Nammalakuru, a place along one of Finland's most famous hiking routes, Hetta-Pallas in western Lapland. Hetta-Pallas is 55 kilometres long legendary hiking trail, and during the winter time there's a xc-skiing trail. We did not make it with xc-skies, even though the season is at its best.
Where: Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park in western Lapland, in Finland's "armpit".
Light: Sun rises around 7 am and the light stays almost 12 hours, so the light doesn't really limit comings and goings anymore – unless you're doing extreme daily distances. We weren't.
Route: We drove to lake Vuontisjärvi and left our car to the parking lot. From there we followed the only available road nearby approximately one kilometre to the point where the official and marked hiking route starts. We hiked 6 km trail from Vuontisjärvi to Nammalakuru in a snow storm having probably the slowest pace ever. It took almost three hours to get there, and when we finally arrived, the sun started to shine. Classy.
Next morning in Nammalakuru we had two options: we could hike the marked summer route, that goes over the fells and is a few kilometres shorter than the winter one, or we could take the xc-skiing trail also known as winter trail that circulates the fells but ends nevertheless to the same destination, to Hotel Pallastunturi. The weather conditions were perfect and we, of course, took the 13 km summer route over the fells. With one break and some photo-moments we consumed almost five hours for those 13 km's. With xc-skis and the winter route the time would have been remarkably less.
As it happens, Anssi's dear brother was having a good time in Pallas when we arrived there on Sunday, and he gave us a lift back to Vuontisjärvi parking lot. Otherwise we should have arranged a local taxi driver to do that. The distance between Vuontisjärvi and Pallastunturi is about 25 km's.
Equipments: I picked our splitboard just because I wanted to have a good exercise with heavy gear. I mean, Anssi's split feels big and heavy when I use it – his bindings, for example, are made for 45 EU sized feet, while my size is 38. Anssi took snowshoes, and being an optimistic person, he also carried his new snowboard for powder with him all those 19 km's so that he could eventually have one bad ride at the end of the trip.
Accommodation: In Nammalakuru you have two options for accommodation. You can stay in an open wilderness hut for twenty persons or book a reservable hut for 12 persons with 11 euros per night per person. These huts are actually one hut that includes two big rooms that are separated with a corridor. There's also a drying room (and if you actually want to dry your stuff there, the room's stove needs to be warmed up).
The difference between the open wilderness hut and reservable hut is that in the reservable hut you get mattress' and pillows. They both have a stove (for warming up the place), a gas stove and basic cooking equipments.
What did it cost? Two person's accommodation 22 euros, gas and outdoor food. After the hike we enjoyed a dinner at Hotel Pallastunturi. Without doing that, we could have made the whole trip with less than 100 euros. Again cheap but cool.
Instead of trying to describe the landscape, I let these pictures speak. This Sunday two weeks ago was a perfect one. When scrambling over the fells I felt like being in another universe, far from modern life problems and obligations – the escapist inside me was very happy, she still is.
Suom: Paras aika vuodesta, ainakin nyt.