Running Through Korouoma Valley

For us, this fall has been life-changing, but only in good way. Nothing is better now than to watch our son crowing (babies grow so fast!). To me, fall is always best time of the year. I just love its colours and its lack of colours, and the feeling you have after doing a good exercise in a chilly evening, and dark nights and head lights...Well, it's not my time for exercises yet, so it's daddy's turn to sweat, and my turn to be le chauffeur.

Anssi wanted to run the trail in famous Korouoma valley in southern Lapland from it starting point in Koivukangas to its end in Lapinlahti. The best known route in Korouoma is the Korouoma Hiking Route that is 25km to one direction and the same back. To run from one point to another, Anssi needed transportation. It was his first long run, or a run longer that 22 km's. My job was to drive him to Koivukangas (100 km from Rovaniemi) and to pick him up a few hours later from Lapinlahti at the other end of the valley.

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The day was perfect, and after the first 800 meters Anssi started to feel sorry that his run will eventually end and decided to enjoy every step. It turned out to be an easy job. Descending down to the valley and climbing to the upper route was a spectacular experience, though the trail was mostly covered with rootstock that sloved down the pace. When starting from Koivukangas, the first seven or something km's are technical and slowest of the route. Running down from the upper route is a good opportunity to practice downhill running, as the trail is smooth. When coming down, the winding river at the bottom of the valley welcomes everybody with its clear and shimmering water. The circumstances are good for runner's high!

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The second half of the route offers variable landscapes: there are silent meadows followed with spruce-needled smooth and wide trail, not much of elevation but smooth burls on the ground. After three hours of running there wasn't a sign of exhaustion. It was probably all that pastry for lunch or the perfect weather that prevented it. 

The thing is, for snowboarders Lapland's mountains are too small, and the trails are too rocky and rootstock for mountain biking (or at least it's hard to find good and long enough routes), but for trailrunning Lapland is Mecca. There are countless hiking routes of any distance and level. In trailrunning, however, the problem is transportation: our Korouoma trip required a driver, and we also asked granny to come with us to give back up with the baby. So, when Anssi did his spectacular running, me, baby and granny did small hikes at the both ends of the trail and had lunch in a little town of Posio. 

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Anssi's estimated running time was 4–4,5 hours, and he did it in four point something hours. No rashes, no blisters – what he got is just sunny memories.  I encouraged him to drop down the amount of water he was about to carry with him, but luckily he didn't listen: all 2,5 litres were gone, when he arrived to Lapinlahti. 

Maybe in later times we'll be doing these long runs together, and some later later times all three of us together :)

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KOROUOMA

Location: Southern Lapland, the municipality of Posio

For whom: In addition to trail running, Korouoma is perfect for one-night easygoing hiking trip (just split it half and stay in one of the wilderness huts). That's how I've done it. Anssi has also ridden through the valley with his mountain bike, but admits now that it wasn't such a good idea. 

How to get there: If you're planning to hike/run it from one end to another, try to organise a driver. Bus is a possibility, but they don't run frequently. 

Services: An open wilderness hut plus a rentable wilderness hut, ten lean-in shelters and multiple fire places. Wonderful place for picking mushrooms at fall!

Level: I'd say easy, but the official classification is intermediate or something. In winter time, the most famous sight is its ice falls, that are suitable for ice climbing. 

Suom: Lappi – polkujuoksijan mekka! Kauheasti juostavaa, mutta liian vähän viikonloppuja!