Finding trails – WWI trenches, Kivikko, Helsinki

For someone who loves forest and trail running the place where we live now is ideal as it’s only 20 meters from our door to the closest trail. The forest close to us is filled with WWI trails, trenches and caves (see feature image at the top of this post of a cave). These structures were built during WWI and they are a part of so called defense ring which follows roughly the current Kehä I ring road.

Foundations still standing after 100 years

Most of them are under newer buildings or roads but quite a few of them remain in the forest between Kivikko and Jakomäki in East Helsinki. It is understandable why they were built here as this area is the highest natural point in Helsinki around 63 meters so it would have had a good view to all directions.

More about the history on Yle website and image of remainders of the constructions and trenches in the area this blog post refers to you can find here Those are also marked on maps so if you are heading this way for just to dig into history or to check a new interesting place for trail run and mountain biking it’s good to check approximately where they are.

Great views from a few points. Clearly Autumn is getting closer although the sun is coloring the landscape here a bit orange too

The forest is very popular place to take your dogs out, go for a picnic, children to play, schools to do orienteering and of course for trail running and mountain biking. So it’s filled with paths of gravel, small pebble and trails. Some built during WWI and some formed later on top of old trails and of course completely new trails.

Drop down. These usually lead to storage caves

I tend to run in the forest at least once a week at any weather and will certainly post something about trail running during the winter also. It has it’s own challenges, but right now the weather is still perfect and the forest is a great place for trail running and you hardly ever have to choose the same path twice!

Since the area is quite rugged and a rocky there are a lot of ups and downs, but you do need to know where you are going and it’s best to stay on the bigger trails unless you are familiar with the place as there are quite a few sudden drops to trenches about 1,5 meters down up to 20 meter drop to a trench leading to caves. Some are fenced and some are not.

Trails have formed over these trenches too, but generally there is a lot of loose rocks and sharp edges, not to mention suddenly a metal pole poking out. So first timers be aware of these and slow pace is better than full speed running or pedaling on a mountain bike.

Outdoor gym spot

After my trail run I often stop at this outdoor gym place and do a few exercises.

These exercise areas are really handy and can be used almost full year round (apart from when there is really, really a lot of snow).

With a little imagination you could do a pretty good training just with these tools.

Awesome landfill hill for HIIT training!

When in need of HIIT training there is a landfill hill along the way home also where you can do full speed up and down training.

When I started running this up I got really exhausted by the time I was at the top, but lately the hill has not felt as long as before which is good.

Progress that is!

Sunset atop the landfill hill

And if you time your runs towards the time when the sun sets you will always get a view of a different sunset from up the hill <3

I can definitely recommend these trails to anyone and you can easily plan the distance as there are so many trails to choose from, but with children you need an adult along due to the drops. It is quite rocky too, but still manageable for anyone with good shoes unless you want to go wandering to the caves or trenches which will require a bit more adventure state of mind.

This area is also popular picnic place and there are plenty of nice spots with a view to eat so you could take the kids for a historic adventure picnic! Remember to take something warm to sit on (newspaper or foldable seat pad) with you as the rock get pretty cold even during the summer.

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Training W34 – Bad news and good news

Week 34 started off good with really intense gym session after which I felt like I can do anything! Managed to do chin-ups easily. Still only one at time but multiple times with short 20 second breaks.

On my lunch break I did my usual running route and managed to improve my 12 min ”coopers test” distance by 100 meters to 1700 which is average but still good enough for me and improvement. In real test environment and flat surface I am sure I could squeeze a bit more, but have used this route close to our house to measure since we moved here. This was my HIIT session at the same time.

So feeling has been good, I mean a bit tired but good and that is the good news.

So to bad news. As we will be going to high altitudes doctors approval is needed and basic checkup that all is ok and I had mine this week. Doctor did the basic checkup and lab took the usual blood tests. Results though were surprising and even a bit worrying. My hemoglobin was only 106. Other values were ok though.

Obviously this is not good going to high altitudes (or even on flat ground) so I will need to take some iron supplements for a while. Luckily our three peak challenge in North England early October only has max 900+ meters peaks so this does not affect that and I did get the approval from the doctor to go there, but for Kili we need to get it back to where it was at least a few years ago which was 135.

And again to good news, we caught this on time so I will be pumping iron in a little bit different form for the next few months!

After soaking it in that there is actually a reason behind me being so tired and sometimes a bit dizzy without me knowing why, it was time to get back to business. Decided to go orienteering after all again promising my husband I will take it easy and not faint on the way.

This time the start was pretty close to my house in Vuosaari and the route itself in Mustavuori Nature reserve area so cycled there (around 7k’s one way) and back because the parking spots are limited. Did half an hour better time than last time and 3 k’s less on 5 k route finding all the check points so very happy about my achievement. I am clearly getting the hang of this sport and starting to understand what the maps are all about.

And back to bad news. It’s been raining here in Finland for a few days really heavy (even our central metro station is closed due to flooding) so the forest is also very wet. You know the saying slippery when wet? Well check point 14 was down this cliff with moss on top and even though I got pretty good trail running shoes my heel just slid down and I hit my bum, head, right elbow and left little finger pretty hard on the rock.

I was aching everywhere and there was just a tiny bit of bleeding from the finger so I was able to continue to the end and cycle back home. Next day though I noticed that the aching was worse and my neck was really sore so I will need to monitor it and no exercise the next day anyway.

Good news about me getting hurt is that I am alive and did not hit my head badly.

Good news about the hemoglobin being down is that if I have been able to improve my performance and do all the hikes in Norway even with so low hemoglobin, imagine how awesome I will be after I get some more iron into me! 🙂

I think the good outweighs the bad this week and am looking forward to next week and training again as soon as I can.


  • Cycling 14, 3 kilometers
  • Gym training 1
  • Running 3,7 kilometers HIIT
  • Trail running 2,5 kilometers
  • Orienteering 7,0 kilometers
  • 1 fall in the forest around check point 14


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Finding high places – Three Peak Challenge is approaching fast!

As part of our preparation to Kilimanjaro we are all doing a ”test challenge/climb” first week of October 2019 in the Lake District National park North West England. We will be climbing three separate fells Helvellyn 950 m, Skiddaw 931 m and Cat bells 451 m on consecutive days. I do not know the order yet but there is still 39 days to go so I am sure we will get more info when the time approaches.

We need to visit our local doctor before both Three peak preparation climb and Kilimanjaro. If no problems (physical or mental, haha) arise we are good to proceed. I have done my doctors visit and all was well apart from my hemoglobin being low, but nothing iron supplements should not fix.

Anyway the three peak climb is fast approaching so did a bit of googling on where we are going. Scenery again amazing and three very versatile and different climbs ahead.

Helvellyn 950 m

There seems to be multiple routes to the top of which many seem a bit like in Norway where you have a narrow path between steep fall on each side. Elevation gain seems to be around 800 so I assume the routes leave from around 100 meters above sea level. Sounds like fun and after Queen’s route I am confident I can do this. Helvellyn cannot be worse!

Skiddaw 931 m

Up to the top again it seems like there are many different routes. Ascent again closer to 800 I suppose depending on where we start from. This seems like a more even path so no need to be on your hands and knees! Reminds me a bit of Pallas in Lapland which we climbed in July 2019

Cat bells 451 m

Smallest fell of the three and difficulty seems not to be as hard as Helvellyn, but not as easy as Skiddaw with a few rougher spots along the way up. Should be OK and nice shorter on pretty good gravel path a part from the top section.

I am cautiously getting excited about the trip as it’s only a bit over a month away! Already wondering what to wear as I am sure it will be a bit colder already even though England is more South than Finland (or Lapland!).

Of course you never know about the weather either so rain proof is must to take along, not to mention windproof as it is bound to be windy up there too. Never been to Manchester either or area around the Lake District so looking forward to visiting this part of the country too.

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Training W33 – More progress and busy hobby week

I went for a long trail run (11,63 kilometers) on Sunday to Sipoonkorpi and was pretty tired and exhausted this week still too. Although I was tired the run was great and it felt pretty easy so I can see some progress there too as earlier closer to 10 k’s and usually I have been already a bit more tired. Now I was able to run to the end and could have done a few more k’s too.

Other than that week was pretty easy, but still accumulated a lot of k’s because my monitor calculates from Sunday to Sunday and next weeks long run happened to be on Saturday already (orienteering).

I haven’t done orienteering for a while because I got so badly lost last time in May that I thought I’d better read a book about the subject before next time. I did just that and now had much better understanding of the maps and the dots and colors. This time it was so much easier and only got lost once so I can see some progress there too. Looking forward to next time next Saturday again!

Hopefully next week I will be able to get a bit more routine and even go the gym as missed that completely this week. I have had also two concerts with my choir in the past two weeks which means more practice and booked evenings = no time to do training.

But there is a week next week too so not beating myself up too much.


  • Trail running 15.72 kilometers
  • Orienteering 10.1 kilometers
  • Cycling 5.42 kilometers with daughter so easy!


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Finding trails – Sipoonkorpi National Park, 10 k

Sipoonkorpi 10k route

As you probably have noticed I quite often go to the closest National Park Sipoonkorpi for trail runs, especially the long ones. It’s easier when there is more space to choose from.

In Finland I always use this app called ”Maastokartat” topograhic map. There are several different available in Play and App Store but this I have found simple, loads everywhere and has majority of trails.

Usually I go to the parking lot (start point) look at the map, decide how long route I will choose and go for it. I have learned the average distance in the forest already because I have been running here for so long.

Path after the fire and fishing place at Storträsk

Start of the path is very good gravel path that goes through Flatberget natural reserve ”luonnonsuojelualue” to Storträsk marsh and a small pond where you can find this newly renovated fire place, toilets and all (see feature image). The place is really great for a short hike with kids. The pond is also very popular fishing place, but you do need a permit to fish.

Take a turn towards Gumböle träsk there are signs if you follow the yellow route. The path changes to normal trail (no gravel and roots…). Here the yellow signs though end and there are just some blue marks on the woods, but just look for the most worn trail.

Forest road ”trail” after the road section

There is this small section where many paths cross where you need to go left and you feel like going backwards after which the path goes through a tree felling ares (due to which I got totally disoriented in the winter) but the path is back now, not too worn but you will see it.

This will lead you through to Nybyggetintie, take right and after that left to Mäntykorvenkuja. Run to the end of it and you will see the path on the left after the road end. Here the trail is really more of a forest road than a trail.

Dead end path to a marsh

Which is the reason why I began to be a bit bored. You always you have to go off path a bit (getting a bit lost is part of the excitement), I saw this little path I and thought I could use some extra k’s so thought it’s more interesting, but that turned out to be just extra k’s and a dead end to a marsh.

This would be the little off path peak on the right hand corner of the trail which though gave me that extra k’s I wanted over 10 k

The road trail leads you to the gravel path going to Kalkkiruukki laavu of which I have written earlier. From there on the path is gravel. The path has the best ascent and incline around the area and I was able to sprint down at the speed of 2:02/km. Long legs help!

Managed to accumulate 534 meters of ascent and 519 meters of descent. Sports watch claims it was my fastest time on similar route and I have to admit that it felt easy and I could have done a few k’s more easily.

It was raining at times and quite windy. There is a sense of Autumn in the air and you can see it from vegetation. Lingonberries are almost ripe. Bilberry, raspberry and wild strawberry leaves are getting color. The good part about trail running in the forest in Finland at this time of the year you will never get hungry even on longer runs!

This trail is very close to 10 k’s and not completely in the middle of the forest, but clear paths (a part from that little adventure I had). I tend to do this when I don’t want to run the Kalkinpolttajan polku trail (which is marked all the way) and there is more people usually also.

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Training W32 – Finding motivation and finally progress

In the beginning of the week I was a bit down and could not seem to find motivation at all. Legs were sore from gym and running again on flat surfaces and I felt like there is no progress at all and I’m just torturing myself for nothing.

Even made this video about my lost motivation but ended up not posting it as it was so depressing to watch. Then on the way back I thought I’d try as a joke if I could finally do a chin-up at the local outdoor gym. To my surprise I could and it was actually quite easy so good on me *a pat on the back*!

Motivation found!

This achievement gave me whole new energy to continue and faith that I am just maybe doing the right things. It took it’s time but yes, I did it and of course tried a few times after it during the week and was able to do it so now my aim is to do 5 in a row. Haven’t put a deadline to it yet though…

Finally one chin-up


  • One gym – My normal plan in quite a quick pace
  • Cycling – With my daughter 3 kilometers
  • Running – 22,9 kilometers, I know 10,5 was basic running, rest probably trail running and HIIT run also, but seems that my HR monitor cannot separate them when you use Multisport function (Software Development hint, hint).

Generally the week was not that good and getting back to work clearly had an affect on my energy level. Still I am happy as there was progress in the form of the chin-up. Never thought I could do one. Hopefully next week I could get back to more clear training schedule. Now it seems like there is not enough hours in the day.

Weekly training plan

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Getting the gear together – Testing results after Lapland/Norway trip

Our summer holiday trip was intended to be also a sort of testing trip for the gear. Wanted to test the equipment and of course wear the shoes in so I won’t have problems at Kili. Second reason was to test physically if I can do hikes multiple days in a row. Also never walked with poles so there were a few things I wanted to check before the actual climb.

Back bag alias day bag

I’ve been working on computer the whole day for the past 20 years so stiff neck is a common problem. Quite often I get sore neck if anything heavier touches my shoulders and I need to constantly do massage with foam rollers to keep upper body in shape. I needed to test if I can carry the day bag with about 5-6 kilograms of weight (not really even sure how much it will weigh, but thought three liters of water and food/snacks would be a good start).

Osprey Talon 33

Tips and Notes

Noticed fairly quickly that the tighter you put it on your hips, the less it feels on your shoulders. Also if it moves too much sideways, it’s not good either so you need to find the balance between hip support and tightness for the shoulder straps enough for it not to wobble too much. Waterproof cover is a must as the weather can change very quickly and at least you can keep your stuff dry (camera, phone…)

I also bought these separate small and big waterproof bags to go inside the back bag which were a winner to keep everything organized and dry so highly recommend those!

Test results

I bought Osprey Talon 33 liters back bag with proper weight support on the hips. I had absolutely no issues even when it was full of water, coffee, food, spare clothes and even poles hanging on the sides so thumbs up for the day bag. It is sorted and I am not worried if I can carry it or not. I still have no idea about all the strings and loops though and their function!

Hiking boots

Primarily the idea was to wear in the hiking boots and test if I can actually walk multiple consequent days with them. As mentioned earlier I have pretty bad bunions on both feet unfortunately which I have had for as long as I can remember. They don’t bother me in normal life and I can run perfectly well for hours for example, but with bad shoes they might hurt. Also I know that hiking/walking is completely different kind of movement so even though I can run long distances, it does not mean I could walk.

Lowe hiking boots

Tips and Notes

First hike to Pallas and back was about 8 kilometers and fairly easy up and down. I put the laces quite tight at start but noticed that they do loosen up on the way.

So on all hikes you notice you need to adjust the boots a bit depending on if it’s a steep ascent or descent. For ascents it’s better (for me anyway) that there is more ankle support, but coming down it’s better that you loosen up the ankles quite a lot, as it allows more movement sideways and forward. This way you can get down quicker when the boots ”give in” from the ankle a bit more. I have done a lot of trail running so I am used to my ankle bending to all directions and have learned that style of going down so don’t know if it really good or bad, but worked for me.

It did not rain too much so my feet were dry all the time, but after a longer hike you did notice that when you take the boots off you still kind of feel like they are on and of course on hot days your socks and feet are sweaty.

Test results

First hike I felt a bit of pain on my feet, but it went away fairly quickly with some stretching. Next day I didn’t really feel anything anymore, but of course after the longest 22 kilometers my feet were killing me and aching, but not just feet but legs and body everywhere. All in all the boots were amazing, fitted like a glove and were easily adjustable and surprisingly breathable. No pain on the bunions either, a bit of aching yes after first days, but this was due to new shoes/new movement I think as it went away and never came back. Very happy with the purchase and certain I can do Kili with these boots!


I wasn’t really sure how you should use the poles or when, but heard they help to take off some of the weight if needed. On our first hike to Pallas I totally forgot about them, but luckily remembered them for the second one to the of Saana as there were clearly steeper inclines.

Tips and Notes

Must admit I was a bit suspicious about them, but turned out they were actually helpful in both going up and coming down on even and steep terrain. Without too many rocks or branches they were easy to place and find a good steady support. Coming down they were even more helpful and one pole actually better than two. It helped to lean on one pole a bit rather than two when it was really steep.

Then again on the more demanding terrain going up or down they were more on the way than helping if the path was really narrow, rocky and there was steep inclines.

Test results

I learned that you should take them with you always as you never know where the trails might lead you. I put them away hanging on the back bag on one of the loops when I did not need them and took them out on longer steeper inclines. They did help and I would assume that when you are even more tired they will help more. They are not too heavy either to carry with you. Oh, and remember to take the plastic covers off. They tend to hold better that way…


This was a tricky one as the weather changed along the way at times. Up in Lapland it was cooler not even 20 degrees so at night it dropped closer to 0 the first few nights. Then the heatwave hit Northern Europe also and it got a bit warmer.

Tips and Notes

I have this really thin windproof jacket with pockets and a hoodie which turned out to be the best cover for warmer hikes. (See what kind in for example Queen’s route post). For colder hikes the jacket I have on in the feature picture of this post which was both water repellent and windproof plus a bit warmer was the way to go. It had also hoodie and pockets. Both a necessity to keep phone, camera, sunglasses and tissues at hand. You don’t want to be getting them all the time from the back bag.

Trusted breathable, windproof and water repellent thin pants!

Best pants turned out to be really thin water repellent, windproof but breathable pants (see almost all images I had them on). Even though it was hot they covered from bugs and if it rained they dried up really quick.

We had sunscreen and mosquito repellent at hand on the side pockets of the back bag which was really good as there were a few of them in Lapland and it was quite sunny then again in Norway.

Shirts; I had a sleeveless sports shirt on all the time and just changed the top. Either the thin windproof jacket and sometimes extra long sleeved sport shirt (breathable, quick dry sort). I tend to get hot easily so I would rather have windproof and thin layers than thick and warm. As long as you just keep going all the time you don’t really get cold anyway.

I <3 NZ cap

Hat; my trusted I <3 NZ cap was good protection from sun and during rain it helps so you can see forward better when the rain does not drip into your eyes (and naturally do not forget your sunnies! (sunglasses).

At the top the wind tends to blow more when there is no vegetation so a head band was good even with warmer weather as my ears are really sensitive to draft and cold. In Lapland naturally you needed to have a hat and gloves on colder days.

Test results

Get thin, breathable quickly drying materials was a good tip and I can agree with that. Layers is another good tip. Dry shirts, jacket to back bag in a waterproof bag and you are fine. I should have had one of those microfiber small towels with me that I bought but forgot those home so used tissues instead to wipe sweat and boy there was a lot of sweat on those hot days!!

Generally I think I learned what works for me so now know how to prepare and pack better. What surprised me was how exposed you are to the weather out there. After that certain point where the vegetation changes, get more low grown and finally basically disappears from around, it’s just you, rocks, moss, a few low growing plants with the sun, wind and rain. Oh, and of course amazing breathtaking scenery!!

Sleeping in a tent

Haven’t slept in a tent for a few years so always good to remind oneself what it’s all about. For my husband it has been even longer time and I could see that he was not too enthusiastic about it, but we ended up laughing our heads off with the pictures we took.

Sunset and blue tent made our eyes look almost spooky!

The first night was a bit hilarious and comic with all the seagulls making noise and us being so tired after our little ”evening stroll” to the top of Veggen.

Tips and Notes

Best to always go to the camping site early in the morning, make a reservation, put the tent up to a good spot and then go hiking. Many campsites in Lofoten tended to be pretty full by the evening, but then again you could, like we did, just camp somewhere close to water with a great view. We put our tiny tent up on the beach, but the small tent was a bit too claustrophobic for two fairly tall persons, so next nights we put up the bigger proper tent.

Other than that campsite facilities also vary a lot. Not all have a fridge and if they have a fridge, they may not have a freezer. Kitchens utilities vary also a lot. If you have enough space in the car, bring your own. For example coffee machine or an electric kettle were not standard equipment at all.

There is a lot of mist coming from the sea so be prepared that your tent is pretty wet from outside and inside in the morning. We did not have good quality tents and did not buy a tent for this purpose, but used the old ones we had. There probably are better quality tents too that don’t get that wet or at least dry up quicker.

Test results

View to the beach from our tent window

Camping is fun! A bit different, not that comfortable as your own bed, but I didn’t mind. As long as you can get your feet straight somewhere it’s fine. The mattress (self inflatable) was a bit hard especially when sleeping on your side, but switching sides helped. Besides I was so knackered anyway most of the evenings I would have slept on grass if needed!

Snacks and drinks

On this trip I learned to eat whatever I can get my hands on pretty much. Food is just a compulsory stuff you need to get to be able to keep going. Consumption definitely did not match with the amount of calories we burnt and hence the feeling was that you are all the time hungry.

Tips and Notes

Almost always we had too little to eat for the longer hikes. Calorie consumption was around 700-1400 all the time per day so for me for example 700 extra calories is half of my daily calories. Meaning I would need to eat 700 + normal 1400 to compensate for the ”loss”. Naturally we did not even calculate calories, but the above example math is probably the reason why we felt hungry all the time.

Luxury lunch. Smoked salmon as it was pretty cool outside in Lapland, so no fridge needed at the top of Saana

We had apples, bananas, berries, nuts, pouches of dry soup/pasta and boiled water in thermos plus bread most of the days with us. We took always two liters of water and that was generally enough as there was always water in the car when you get back anyway. Oh and we had of course coffee in another thermos too.

Test results

In hindsight we should have taken some protein drinks or snack bars to add more carbohydrates. When it’s too hot, it just is too hot and you can’t really bring along anything that will spoil and we did not have anything to keep the food cold either so maybe in the future a small cooler with a cold pack would be good. Then again there was no fridge or freezer on the campsites sometimes meaning we could not keep the food cold anyway.

Amount of water was fine. On the 22 kilometers I think we actually had 3 liters of water, but it was enough. You can drink from the streams too as long as the water is flowing we were told and hubby did give it a try without getting any problems a few times.

Overall results

This holiday trip definitely helped me to know what it is like to hike for days physically and also what you need to have, to prepare for the weather. I have no way to test the altitude sickness so that will need to wait until Kilimanjaro, but otherwise I feel much more confident, and not as worried anymore as I was earlier about everything.

Now I think I can concentrate more on my fitness, fundraising for Unicef UK (please donate, I am still quite far from my goal even though I have a few ides and challenges that I am thinking of doing in the next few months), purchase the remaining stuff on the kit list and get ready for the three peak challenge that we will have October 2019 which is only 53 day away. Exiting!! More about that later!

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Training W31 – Easy rest week

After all that hiking and work starting it was obvious I could not do the amount of training I did earlier two weeks. Decided that I will do what I can, but no pressure and no tight schedules. Last thing you need when starting work again after holiday and kids going back to school is anything extra to stress about like training.

The week was a well deserved rest week with a bit of activity anyway. Did quite a lot of stretching too since my legs were pretty stiff and sore from strange places after moving from hiking boots to high heels again. There was still a bit of running after the bike (my daughter is learning to ride the bike without training wheels), but I reckon next week I will need to start cycling alongside since I simply cannot run much faster anymore and she is so good already!

I have lately also begun to stop at the local outdoor gym areas. It is really great that they build these kind of places. They are an easy way to get a bit of weight training while passing by. Next time I will grab a photo.

Let’s see how next week goes. This week definitely was a battery recharge and stretching week!


17 kilometers, 5 activities and 4 hours. These 5 activities consisted of one gym session and rest are short basic runs and trail runs. Ascent whopping 265 meters 😀 (only 1386 meters less than last week!)

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In my head – Nature, silence and back to work

It is hard to describe the feeling you get when you just keep going up and reach the top. The saying you get hungrier the more you eat is very true with hiking as it seems you need to get higher, get better views and push yourself just a little bit further next time.

Me and my husband spent 1,5 weeks hiking up North of Finland and Norway during our summer vacation in July 2019. This area is above the Arctic Circle meaning the sun does not set for a period of few months during the summer but similarly it does not rise either for equally as long time during winter.

Listening to silence in Lapland

Ever since I got back from holiday I have had difficulty getting used to the constant noise/hum of the city that is around (and we are talking about a relatively small city of Helsinki, capital of Finland). It was great to come back to the city, put on some makeup, pretty clothes, high heels, head out to the center, have a cup of coffee in a nice coffee shop and just observe people passing by. I do enjoy the city buzz and atmosphere, but every now and then after getting back, I’ve gotten this anxiety as if there is too much going on around me. Too many people, too much noise and you just want to put earplugs in your ears, make it stop and be silent for a while.

It is a strange feeling because I don’t remember having that before. I don’t want to live in a forest and grow my own veggies, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about nature that’s calms you down. I believe it when they say that it settles your nerves and sort of recharges your energy levels. I’m pretty sure it also lowers your heartbeat and therefore also your blood pressure. Maybe that is what I am longing for, that calming quiet feeling?

Here I am anyway now back in the city and back to normal routines. School starts tomorrow and next Monday for the kids so I think pretty much everybody’s back from holidays soon here in Finland so it’s going to be a full buzz again.

I am sure this feeling goes away and I will get used to the ”noise/hum” of the city again, but this time there is another kind of ”noise” I will remember and can look forward to ”listening” again which is the gentle sound of the nature. Wind, rain, trees, birds, streams and sometimes you don’t hear anything at all.

That is what I look forward to, and will in the future remember to seek more often. It seems that my body and mind needs it, so more National park visits ahead. All good suggestions and nature gems you have found in the Southern part of Finland especially are welcome.

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Finding high places – Hemavan, Sweden

When the groove is on it’s hard to stop… We had one day to drive from Engabreen glacier at Halsa, Norway to Umeå, Sweden and as there were few ferries on the way at Norway end, we decided to leave early. It was a good choice as you always find something interesting on the road.

After driving in the middle of a lot of nothing there was suddenly people, cars and a gondola going up a fell. This place is clearly a skiing paradise during winter time and we thought hmm easy way up, let’s take it! We decided to put on our hiking gear ”just in case” after we got to the top with the gondola we were already at around 800 meters. The peak was so close and it was higher than Saana (1029 m) so we went for it.

At the top 1147 m in scorching summer heat!

Ascent was 326 meters and highest point 1147 meters, meaning we broke our record of Saana! True we cheated a bit with the gondola, but we simply did not have the time (or food!) to do the whole way up and down. The trail up was 4,5 kilometers and it took us 1 h 10 minutes. This was a really easy trail and I can recommend it to everyone even with smaller children.

I ran most of the way down hence the time was pretty good, but tried again to keep the heart rate at 60% level due to the flu I had earlier. Husband though was about 300 meters faster than me so his time would have been around 1 h 5 min. I am worried as he is turning to be a better trail runner down than me! This needs to be rectified… more training, hahaha (love you🧡)

It was one of the hottest days of the summer around +33 degrees Celsius and there was not a breath of wind, not even at the top. You can imagine the amount of sweating after going up, running down and then to the gondola without ventilation. It was like a badly heated sauna, so a dip to the lake in the closest village was our next stop. It was so refreshing.

Then drive to Umeå, Sweden and ferry to Vaasa, Finland next morning and drive back to Helsinki where chores and work is calling.

I am sure that Norway will call us again too. Hopefully in very near future. One of the most beautiful countries I have been to and can highly recommend it.

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