The first morning on a trail is always the best; Wake up in the middle of beautiful nature and the misty-cold-fresh air surrounds you as you cook your breakfast outside with your camping stove and sip on fresh coffee. It’s always great!
Oulanka National Park is situated in eastern Finland, right at the Russian border. We took a 3 day hike with couple of my friends last august along the Karhunkierros trail between Oulanka nature center and the village of Juuma, about 31km in total. Most memorable point’s of the trip was the raging Kiutaköngäs rapids and the beautiful, poetic silence of the floating Oulanka-river on the riverbanks.
We started our hike at the Oulanka nature center, which is situated at the middle part of the park. It’s a good starting point as you can fill up your water reserves at the nature center so you don’t have to carry your water with you from wherever you are coming from. A short walk from nature center is the Kiutaköngäs rapids, one of the biggest in Finland. It’s a good place to rest a little, while watching huge amounts of water pass by on the rapids and just hope that you don’t fall in. After leaving the rapids we got a sudden rain shower and learned that it’s no use to start changing to rain gear when it’s already raining, and the temperature is high enough to be wearing just a t-shirt. The smartest thing to do is just to keep your stuff in your backpack and keep the rain shield on your backpack so the most of your clothes stay dry. The rain stopped as suddenly as it started and we continued our trail towards Ansakämppä, which is the first one of the free-to-use deserted cabins along the way. The deserted cabins are often quite popular, as they were also on our trip so it’s good to have your tent also with you in case the cabins are full. We spent the first night at the Ansakämppä grounds.
The first morning on a trail is always the best; Wake up in the middle of beautiful nature and the misty-cold-fresh air surrounds you as you cook your breakfast outside with your camping stove and sip on fresh coffee. It’s always great! On our second day we headed towards Jussinkämppä, the next one of the free-to-use cabins along the Karhunkierros trail. The trail between Ansakämppä and Jussinkämppä is quite easy to walk, and not so far apart. We were in no hurry so we stopped for some siesta along the way and enjoyed the pure Finnish Nordic nature at it’s finest. We met some local’s also (reindeer) and a lot of mosquitos! In fact, more mosquitos than i have ever met anywhere, ever. So be sure to have your mosquito repellant with you if you go there!
When we finally got to Jussinkämppä it started raining and we also got some thunder. Jussinkämpä is situated on the top of a small cape surrounded by water; an ideal place for lightning strikes 🙂 But we didn’t worry, just enjoyed resting in the tent’s and listening to rainfall on the tent fabric and thunder.
On the third day our aim was to reach Juuma, the end of our small hike. The route to Juuma from Jussinkämppä runs along the Kitka river and then joins with the Little Karhunkierros round trail headed to Juuma. Along the Kitka river the trail had lot’s of elevation differences and it as at times almost a little challenging. But after we reached the Little Karhunkierros, the trail got a lot easier. We arrived at Juuma camping early in the evening, just in time for Sauna. It’s a perfect place to end a hike, take a good Sauna, some beers and a good night sleep at the camping area.
Great trip, great times! In total, the Oulanka national park is a mixture of southern and northern Finland’s natures. It’s not Lapland, at least by nature, but it’s not southern Finland also. Definitely worth a trip, and a hike!