“I know exactly where we are“, said the father of my au pair family when we were summiting another steep peak in the Lake district in 2003. After those confident words, it turned out we were off from our desired route about four miles. Understandably, he was teased the whole summer about his orienteering skills.
With that funny memory in my mind, I was excited to get my first hiking experience in Lapland, armed with a good map and a compass*, just in case. As our destination we chose Pyhä-Luosto national park, which has fells and hills of the ripe age of 2000 million.
Nature is photogenic but no picture can capture its full glory. Other senses escape from the photo. When I was there and felt how those deep gorges sliced the scenery of old-growth forests and how those windy treeless fell-tops caressed the sky, nothing else existed for a moment. It was the most relaxing holiday of my life.
Best time to visit Lapland
The summer weather spoilt us, 10°C (50°F) in the morning and 18°C (65°F) during day, no rain. The perfect hiking conditions. However, the charm of Lapland works all year long. The easiest hiking circumstances are naturally during summer and autumn months. In September the fall foliage is spectacular in Lapland. Winter treks are tougher and need to be done with snow shoes or skis.
Lapland can be covered with mosquitos in the summertime, especially during July. There are no guarantees, but the safest bet is to plan your trip for the first three weeks of June or then from August onwards. We saw only a few during our trip and they were of no harm.
Mosquitos are like tide, sometimes there is a lot and sometimes none.
Laplander state of mind
Pyhä-Luosto is loved and visited by locals. Laplanders (and hikers) are a friendly bunch and you can easily start a conversation by the camp fire, even in Finland, where not disturbing others by talking to them is highly appreciated.
Laplander food is delicious. I think I made a record of how many fresh home-baked donuts (pretty much all cafés serve them) a person can eat during a week. One café is even in the middle of a hiking trail in Luosto. The place is called Lampivaara and it’s next to an amethyst mine.
In Pyhä, Café Loimu at Pyhä Luosto Visitor Centre Naava serves great home-style cooking and a delicious lunch buffet. The Visitor Centre is also the best place to get hiking tips and maps for you hike, so you don’t need to plan much beforehand if you don’t feel like it.
Is a day trip hiking in Lapland worth it?
Yes, yes and yes! If you are in Lapland, you should definitely go, and my recommendation is that you head to the fells. There is magic in the landscapes beyond the Arctic Circle.
The upkeep of Finnish national parks is of great standard, also in Pyhä-Luosto. There are dry toilets, camp fire places with wood, lean-to shelters and open wilderness huts. There are many options for day trips on easy or more demanding trails. Thus, you are able to hike a day trail with just normal trainers and sportswear.
*Compass was not used nor harmed during our hike.
This post is in collaboration with Halti – Nordic Outdoor Company from Finland. My Kaakko jacket & trousers from their collection.