Training W30 – Second hiking week

Second week of holiday so naturally more training than normally. Unfortunately I got a bit sick towards the end of the Lofoten islands visit so had to take easier for a few days. Still we did all the activities we had planned, maybe just a bit slower the two last hikes. I kept monitoring my heart rate to make sure it does not go too high and also that minimum rest rate is not higher.

Climbing up to get to Engabreen glacier, Norway through these narrow cracks in the cliffs

I was also a little afraid as I have pretty bad bunions on my feet that they would get sore, but they were fine even after long hikes. They never really bother me and I can perfectly well do trail running and such, but all new stuff and new shoes where the movement is a bit different is something that worries me. Well not anymore! I am now confident that I can do the challenge.

One thing that surprised me was how my feet did not get tired the same way they get tired when climbing the stairs although we went up the cliffs and hills all the time. It must be that it is still different kind of movement as when we went up stairs in a shopping mall my legs were killing me again. It has always been puzzling me why going up the metro (subway) stairs makes you catch your breath no matter how much you try exercise. Well I suppose it has gotten better in time, but not significantly I think.

Next week it is back to work and normal training routine. I am trying to do two gym sessions a week now as I need to use up my card which has still eight times left by end of August. In addition a few runs to go with it should do it.

Intention is also to watch a bit more what I eat, I would not mind losing a few kilos more so with good diet and twice to gym it should be possible. Hey the less you weigh the less you carry to the top of the mountain right?


4 hikes, 32,46 kilometers, ascent 1681 meters, descent 1774 meters.

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Finding high places – Engabreen glacier, Svartisen, Halsa, Norway

Time flies when you are having fun and all things must come to an end… So did our holiday and suddenly it was our last day in Norway. We left Lofoten in the morning the day before, but as it was raining the whole day and I managed to get some sort of flu bug we booked a hotel and just slept. My throat was sore and muscles ached a bit and I was so tired that I knew I had to just sleep it off.

A lot of gorges between the cliff so finding a straight route was a bit difficult until we saw other people coming from the glacier

Luckily no fever and sleeping it off worked so by next day I was fine. Not 100% myself but well enough to go on the long awaited hike to Engabreen glacier close to Halsa. Good part was that walk to to head of the trail is on flat land for about 3,3 kilometers. After that it gradually started climbing up.

I will put our route here to the end of the post, but I would not advise to follow it. Not that you could as it goes zig-zag at points where we tried to find the route between the cliff.

So far but so close!

We chose the easy blue route, which never seemed to reach the top so we hopped on the ”red route” at some point, but that did not go close to the glacier at all yet we saw people coming from that way so just headed straight towards them and finally found our way to this blue magical mass of ice.

it was about 10 meters high at times

Once we did find the glacier it was so beautiful. I have only seen them from a distance and never touched one! It was so nice and cool to give it a hug as it was +33 celsius that day and hardly any wind.

A few more pics of the beautiful turquoise colours. And there was actually a river under it which led to this huge waterfall which made so much noise and wind that I did not even dare to go close enough to take a photo of it.

Way back was easy and quick. We took the ”red route” down which was much quicker although yes plain cliff and steep at times. Altogether 12,14 kilometers (with the zig-zag…), Ascent 362 meters and descent 396 meters. Highest point seemed to be 302 meters and lowest -6 meters. The trip took us around 4 hours.

This was our last hike and tomorrow it is time to head home. I will surely miss Norway!

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Finding high places – Munkebu, Moskenes, Lofoten, Norway

Last day in Lofoten islands and the intention was to find a nice longer hike somewhere high… surprise, surprise! As the car park for the trail head was full and the roads are too narrow to park along the road we started looking at other options and noticed that you can actually get to the same trail from our camping site.

Ferry leaving to Bodo

So back to camp site, car to park and off we go by foot. We did find the trail head just where it was marked on the trail map and started climbing. Followed the on-boarding of the ferry to Bodo at the same time so that we would know when to approximately head to queue as they only allow to book in advance 40% of the capacity and rest it first in queue principle.

There were four lanes and they all got in so we figured as long as we are on one of them we’re all good. Plan for next morning was to wake up, pack the tent, warm up water for oatmeal and make coffee to thermos and eat breakfast in the car while we queue for the ferry and this way secure our spot. This turned out to be a successful plan!

Anyway trail had pretty tough start with straight on incline up to around 180 meters after which we reached the plain for the village water reservoir. Past that and up another hill to around 400 meters and walking at the top to the other end of the hill then descent and join the ”original” path. This path was well worn and easy to follow in case you want to do the same plus the views are all the time clear to both directions so you know all the time where you are.

Munkebu hut

The valley was really beautiful where the Munkebu hut was with a little stream and a few tents. Here we finally also saw some snow. Crazy Finns looking for snow in Norway during summertime! You would think after last winter we would have had enough of it. We had extremely a lot of snow even in Helsinki last winter.

From Munkebu hut you could continue to the peak Hermansdaltinden if you wanted to, but we ran out of time and as we had absolutely nothing to eat and there were only a few restaurants we had to head back before the shops close.

Steep incline on rock with chains

Decided to take the trail to the direction of the ”original” trail head and parking lot we first tried because the grocery store would be in that direction and then walk back to the campsite. The descent down was really steep meaning the incline would have been very strenuous. We were happy at this point that we chose ”the other way up”. There was for example a very long open cliff spot with just a chain to hang on to.

At least we felt the route was better this way than the other, but of course have not tried it the other way. This would not be a good route to anyone with knee problems or small kids as the descent was very steep at times. This route would also be a real killer during rains since there was plain rock at times which would have been slippery.

Route we took where end point is on the right side of the lake as the original trail head would have been on the left side where the i letter is

Tomorrow with ferry to Bodo and to check the glacier in Svartisen. I have never been close to a glacier. Intention is to go all the way up so we can touch it!

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Finding high places – Veggen, Haukland beach, Norway

Queen’s route the day before was the most strenous of all our hikes both physically and mentally so far, so the next day was going to be a rest day.

We drove to towards Lofoten islands and as it was also a very windy day we decided to go to the Viking museum Lofotr and spent the day there, for once have a proper meal and find a nice beach to put up the tent for the night.

The water is so clear and it was so calm after the wind had been blowing the whole day

The museum was really informative and had a lot of interaction type of activities even for adults. We enjoyed the visit and took our time as we were not in a hurry anywhere but to get a meal.

Google satellite maps revealed a lot of nice looking beaches and found one with toilet fairly close so we chose that. It was next to this very nice looking little peak again so decided to go for an evening stroll.

Our ”little evening stroll” ended up being a hiking trail to the top of Veggen, 398 meters above sea level and as we were on the North Atlantic ocean beach to start with ascent was altogether 426 meters and it took us about 1h 30 minutes there and back. Almost exactly 5 kilometers.

Along the way we met quite a few little lambs and thought that hey if they can do it with their little skinny legs so can we!

Undoubtedly the view was like from a post card to the white sandy beach where our little blue tent was.

The ascent wasn’t that bad as it was short, but with quite steep ascent at the top and a narrow path with drop on both sides. I would not recommend this to anyone with knee problems or issues with heights nor small kids.

Nevertheless the view with sunset was stunning and there were quite a few people watching the sunset as it was the week after ”Midnight Sun” so the sun did not set until close to midnight. Very beautiful and magical.

View from the trail up to Veggen towards Haukland beach.

The way down was quick and easy. As usual almost half the time down around 35 minutes.

Great shorter exercise for the day and tomorrow we will head to Moskenes where we will spend our last day on the Lofoten islands and start heading home.

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Training W29 – Full on hiking week!

Last week was a full on hiking week! We were both so excited to finally be on holiday and wanted to do all sorts of different thing so the week total was a bit high…

First hike was Taivaskero, second Saana, third Malla National park, fourth Bromorstinden and fifth Queen’s route.

I am so proud of myself that I was able to complete all these and feel really confident now that I physically do Kilimanjaro. I was pretty worn out after the 22 k hike, but one ”easier” day in between and I felt like I can keep going.

My heart rate dropped to normal quickly after each hike and although the monitor claimed recovery should be x hours I trust the minimum heart rate more, so when that is back to ”normal” minimum (which is 47 to 48 for me) I’m good to go again.

Needless to say this week was one of the high points of my life (literally also). We have visited many places we always wanted. Lapland for example, being a Finn and never been to Lapland was a bit embarrassing already, but now I have been there and will definitely go again. I totally fell in love with the peace and tranquility.

Training total

17 hours and 14 minutes, 54,72 kilometers, 6691 k cal, ascent 1758 m and descent 1845 meters No wonder I feel tired and I will never be able to top this in Helsinki that is for sure!

All training was hiking this week with some steep inclines and demanding trails so not that much variety in sports, but I have noticed that actually in these more demanding landscapes you need to use your whole body to get up or down. Knees and legs are also under a lot of pressure with descents, but I think that trail running has helped me and descents were good, no pain anywhere.

Going up has definitely improved also and we have actually passed people along the trails instead of them passing us as it used to be. I cannot not be anything else than very proud of my achievement and look forward to next week on holiday in the beautiful landscapes of Norway!

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Finding high places, Queen’s route, Sto, Norway

On the 21nd of July we finally got closer to Lofoten. The network connections are not that good here between the high hills and when camping electricity not always easily accessible. Hence a bit of a break in updating.

Anyway… looked for nice hikes along the way and found this scenic route at the end of island Langoya, just before Lofoten islands begin called the ”Queen’s route”, Dronningruta. It was marked as red so quite challenging and did say that there are steep inclines, but I don’t think we quite understood what that actually meant. Amazing part is that the Queen Sonja herself has hiked that route, hence the name. I was told by locals that she is an enthusiastic hiker still at age 82, respect!

The trail passes this beautiful beach along the way
Start of the ascent to the top. I could not really take pictures of the ”worst” part as I was too scared!

The trail was marked as 15 kilometers, first leg being on the coast then high up and again down to this little fishing village and again up and around the range. We decided to skip the stop at the fishing village which would cut down the route to 12 kilometers. It took us in the end 4 h and 25 minutes to go through the route which doesn’t really say anything about how tough it was.

Saddle where the paths separate

Route had 579 ascent and 633 descent. My HR monitor claims that it was 1729 kcal worth. Well it surely felt like it too!

After the nice stroll along the beach the trail starts to go up the hill very steep and as it was fairly hot and humid, we were sweating like pigs by the time we got to the saddle. Here one path goes up about 7 kilometers back to where we started and the other would go to the fishing village which we decided to skip already earlier.

Up from here it was very demanding for a amateur hikers like us (though I suppose we are starting to be more pro by the day with this pace!). I am not too fond of heights or big drops so being on this narrow path in between a drop on both sides with very steep incline I was practically on my hands and knees most of the time.

At some point I had to stop. Draw breath and get myself together again to keep going. Definitely a point where I learned something on the way up! And what was it? That it doesn’t help to panic and stop. You just breathe and keep going.

See my video below when I made it past the worst part and lived to tell… Such an amazing route this was! I can highly recommend it if you are not scared of heights!

Oh yes I am shaking!
I made it!!

After that we were at the top which was pretty flat and long with amazing landscape and scenery to all directions. Had lunch and it started raining also, so a bit less pictures from that part, but it did not rain for too long so by the time we got up on the other side you could practically see the whole route you had walked up until then. All worth the trouble definitely.

Image from the ”other side” of the trail. Incline started where the small lakes are and went up to the point on the let hand and then around from there to this point after which it started to head down.

Way down was long as we were at around 445 m according to my HR monitor most of the time. We also were in a bit of a hurry to get back on time as we needed to make it to our next camping site on time for check-in.

We quickly realized there is no way we can make it so called them and got everything sorted. Very nice people, great place and great location at Ramberg, Lofoten. Can definitely recommend Lofoten beach camp.


Tomorrow we were planning on going to the Viking museum and have rest day. Well see how it goes!

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Finding high places – Bromorstinden, Tromso, Norway

You waiting for me?

We were going to have a ”rest day” after the 22 kilometers hike the day before but after breakfast we started already looking for ”easy” hikes around the area. Found this absolutely amazing view point about 1 hour drive away from Tromso called Bromorstinden. On the way we encountered reindeer again. This guy was not in a hurry anywhere.

On the way there were some beautiful beaches with white sand and we decided that after sweating it out a bit we would take a dip in the fjord as the weather was absolutely fabulous and warm.

Trail to Bromorstinden

Finding the start of the trail was a bit of guessing as the maps pinpointed to different spots but the parking lot is on the right hand side and you can see the start of the trail from it.

Trail was indeed pretty easy only 254 ascent and back and forth around 4,5k’s. For us it took 1 h 20 minutes plus enjoying the view for about 15 min at the top.

I can recommend this to anyone from physical point of view, but with smaller kids I’d be careful as there is no railings and straight drops down especially at the top. It also fools you in a way when you get up you realise that the actual top is still 30 meters down and up again, but I must say this was the best view spot so far. The views to North Atlantic / Norwegian Sea are spectacular!

Official honeymoon photo at the top!
Beach with mountain view… I mean WOW!

Way back was really fast and we practically ran down hence such a quick time. I would reserve a couple of hour on site, up and down for this without running. After some sweating it was time to dip into the fjord on this beautiful beach on the way back.

We continued our way towards Lofoten islands and you know how sometimes you just find something amazing with luck. We stumbled upon this beautiful waterfall somewhere after Bardufoss along the E6 check exact location from the image as it does not seem to be marked on the map.

If you are looking for a bit of excitement and a great high point again climb all the way to the top! It’s not more than about 500 meters from the parking lot.

Such an amazing day we had again. For a girl from Pohjanmaa, Finland, which loosely translated means ”flat land” all these high places are a wonder.

Now towards Lofoten islands. Can’t wait to see the sceneries there!

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Finding high places – Malla National park, Kilpisjärvi

We thought we should keep a ”not-so-much-incline” day and decided to visit the three country border where Finland, Sweden and Norway cross borders. The route one way is 11 kilometers with ”not that much” incline. Well true, not that much, but calculate that round-trip and it starts to be a decent amount after all. Plus all the ”normal” hiking on top of that.

It was 219 ascent going there and it took us 3 h 25 min. Tried to save strength to the way back which had 197 ascent and it took in the end 2 h 44 min. It was sunny and hot +23 degrees so there were a lot of mosquitoes and other annoying bugs which required you to keep long pants/sleeves if you just can. They don’t seem to bother everyone, but if you possess the kind of blood they like, keeping also mosquito repellent with you helps.

Otherwise the whole journey does not have too bad incline and has a lot of almost level path, so suitable for anyone in that sense. Some with kids did only the hike to the waterfall and back which is about 12 k’s round trip. Saying that it is a long hike, so have some snacks and plenty of water with you.

Siilaskoski rapids

We left the car to Siilaskoski parking lot just before the border control point of Finland and Norway. The start of the route takes you across Siilaskoski rapid and then starts going up.

Almost level path past small lakes takes you to the next incline in the picture left hand upper corner

There are a lot of rocks (and bugs…) but once you get higher up above the treeline there is a nice breeze and almost level path takes you past a lake towards the old military defense point at the top. Climb is not too bad and the view that opens up is again worth stopping for so we decided to keep a coffee break there. This was the highest point of the route about 691 meters. There is also a repaired military dugout to check out.

Going forward from the top the path goes down ans up again. The path is rocky and rugged, but worth climbing as at the top you can find a beautiful waterfall.

Waterfall around midpoint of the trail
Finland- Norway country border fence

Route continues up almost horizontally for a long time to the horizon…

…Until it dives down again only to bump into the fence of the Finland-Norway border. Few more k’s along the border line and you will reach the three country border. It has been recalculated a few times, but apparently now stays still here. See my tweet of the quick trip between three countries.

Path back was much quicker than going there but by the time we were back at the waterfall we were already exhausted. Kept pushing on and had this funny competition about what time we would be back at the car and beat our time by few minutes.

So happy that we got to spend our 6 month wedding anniversary today (got married 19.1.2019) in the lovely Lapland and will continue our honeymoon towards Tromsö, Norway.

Needless to say tomorrow is a resting day and legs are killing me, but it has totally been worth the pain!

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Finding high places – Saana, Finland

Saana from the distance driving towards Kilpijärvi from Muonio

Wow, this was much tougher than I originally thought… It looks pretty from a distance, but it’s hard to imagine the incline until you actually start going up. Obviously previous days climb to Taivaskero is in the background took it’s toll and energy levels were a bit low to start with. Still we managed to get up to the top in 1 h 38 minutes with ascent of 509 m and down in 1 hour (altogether 8 k’s) exactly both times obviously include soaking in the scenery and taking picture.

Start of the route

Start to the route is from the tourist information center. First the path is good for anyone with little incline and lovely vegetation. Remember how I mentioned it changes the more North you go, well it changed again today in just 200 kilometers. Less habitation, less trees, less anything. Very rugged and the trees all look like they can hardly survive here. Completely understandable as it’s cold, windy and dark for so long and then bright for so long but never really warm.

Here winters are tough and when spring comes there is only a little time to bloom before it get colder again so you can somehow see that from the vegetation. For example these birches look like they are suffering from malnutrition!

When you get above the tree line it starts to get harder to go up. They are making stairs, but right now it’s just gravel with decent incline so hiking boots are best option. You can make it with sneakers, but few struggled due to the gravel and rocks on it just sliding under your feet.

As the incline is hard and the terrain rugged I would not recommend the hike all the way to the top to anyone who has knee injuries. Then again you can always climb as high as you can and turn back down. Many did that so they climbed with small children to this platform where you can jump on the trampoline and admire the amazing view and then went back.

We naturally continued as intention was to reach the top. By this time it starts to get windy and hence also colder. If your ears are sensitive to draft and wind like mine, be sure to take a jacket with a good hood with you to tie around your head. That helped!

Finally at the top the views are again amazing towards all three countries Finland, Sweden and Norway. There are even some snow spots on the peaks on the Norway side.

We had a nice little lunch at the top with some hot soup, bread and locally bought smoked Rautu, Arctic char which was a nice and tasty fish.

Then it was time to head back down. Going down was quicker, but took longer than we expected. Poles were really helpful and made the descent easier definitely.

After we got down it started to rain a bit and this lucky guy drove his car to the end of the rainbow and we went to a Finnish Sauna and took a dip in the clear water of Kilpisjärvi. Refreshing and so content feeling. There was no need to wait for the Sandman to come.

Tomorrow we will head to the three country border so detailed route description coming up!

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Finding high places – Taivaskero, Fell Pallas, Lapland, Finland

Finally on holiday and in Northern Finland! It was a few days drive 1200 kilometers pit stop at along the way for the night and off in the morning again here.

Drive was ok and made a few stops here and there so it did not feel that long. , but you do know you are in Lapland when these fellows start appearing on the road and roadside.

Just minding my own business here… you drive along…

Our first night was at fell Pallas above the Arctic Circle close to Muonio. Here there is no sunrise or sunset this time of the year so intention was to do an evening stroll up and down the highest point to enjoy the silence and never setting midnight sun. We arrived around 9 pm at our cottage, ate quickly and left pretty soon after that.

Decided to do the 9 k route to Taivaskero and back (highest point 809 m, starting at 442m parking lot so ascent 367 m). We thoroughly enjoyed the clean air, silence and nature. Stopped to take photos of animals and just soaked it all in. We were back exactly at midnight… still bright daylight!

The path was gravel to start with, but later on just pure pile of rocks so would not recommend it all the way to the top with small kids, but even with just the gravel part the scenery was really beautiful.

As it was really late we were all alone and managed to get a glimpse of the local animals. This herd of reindeer for example and cute little Kiiruna bird who just camouflaged in the rocks thinking we would not notice it and let us come really close. Also saw two weasels ”Lumikko” frolicking around. They were so fast, but managed to get a bit of video, but it’s a bit too blurry and this bird that I haven’t looked up yet what it would be, but it did make a cute sound.

Although we had fairly clear skies and hardly any wind during the hike at the top it was a bit colder and a bit more windy so windproof gear along.

The scenery was worth climbing for as they always tend to be.

At the top 806 meters above the sea level

So what is different so far that I have made a note of compared to 1200 km South to Helsinki, capital of Finland where we live? It seemed that the vegetation changed after the Arctic Circle to more rough, more low grow. Also trees seemed to get smaller and there is more swamp areas. We have seen beautiful rivers, rapids, lakes and beaches.

There is reindeer here and there alone, in packs and in herds. It is so quiet everywhere and so few people. One thing clearly only possible up here, there are separate roads and crossings for snowmobiles. Not in use during the summer obviously and there would be no need for that in Helsinki area as we sometimes do not get enough snow to do even cross country skiing depending on the winter.

Needless to say I am in love. This is such a different, versatile area that I never knew existed in my own home country. I have also learned that Finland is a LONG country. We have already driven 1200 kilometers and we are still in Finland!

Today we head out to check even higher peak fell Saana close to Kilpisjärvi, Finland. Boots have been good so far but let’s see what my feet say after the hike today!

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