Getting back to normal and a bit more training finally after a break. I still felt tired after training but it wasn’t as bad as the week before. Covid-19 virus was also spreading around the world already but there were not that many cases yet in Finland so we decided to go for a weekend getaway to a spa few hours drive from our house and stop over at Repovesi National Park for a hike.
It was a beautiful day and a good hike. New suspension bridge over the strait was ready and weather was amazing around few degrees and sunny. No snow anymore, but a bit slippery at times where snow had just melter.
It was nice to get away and thinking back it was good luck that we did it before things got worse as now it would not be even possible.
Anyway I was happy that exercising felt better again and was eager to keep going next week. I wanted to have a training plan, but have not quite made up my mind yet what my next goal would be and what kind my plan would be. That will surely come to me and decided to just enjoy doing whatever kind of exercise for now .
1 hike 13,4 kilometers
2 runs 4,84 and 7,1 kilometers
1 treadmill run 3,1 kilometers
1 stair climber to 50 floors 11 minutes and 48 seconds
I was so happy I was feeling well enough to go for our planned hike to a National Park fairly close to our home for a day trip last Saturday. I have been wanting to go there for a while now as apparently it has good views and nice ascents.
The suspension bridge at the start of the trail was being rebuilt so they had a boat ride that took you to the same spot where the bridge would. This was the start of our trail.
Right after the suspension bridge there was very good spots for barbecue and picnic on the lakeside.
After the suspension bridge we headed to the forest and towards our first ascent and found these stairs all the way up to the top of the cliff. The stairs were a bit slippery because it was raining and surprisingly long, but took you all the way up so no need for poles.
The rock formations along the way were amazing and some of them looked like they are about to drop off.
We took a few necessary view photos at the top and returned to the route I had uploaded earlier to my watch. We were a bit tight on time due to sunlight and last boat ride so did not want to linger too long at any spot.
Besides we would probably not be able to do the whole planned route anyway so decided to go as far as we can (and as many times up as we can) and head back the gravel paths as fast as we can. This proved to be a good plan later on although not waterproof.
Our route took us through the forest to lakeside with view to the other side where a part of the rock had practically crumbled down.
At the end of the Kuutti bay we found another barbecue spot called Kuutti canal with an old duct rebuild in the 90’s originally used for log floating.
Here you could find firewood, tables, a little cottage and toilets also. Many seemed to be camping there and around the area for the night. We came back through the same route which is in between two lakes and pretty much the only way unless you want to go around either of the big lakes.
After Kuutti canal there was a forest section which went at the top of the crumbled cliff then down to an actual road with a few cabins so apparently you can get there by car from somewhere too. We wanted to find a quiet place to have a bite to eat so ended up in this spot called Olhava used for rock climbing.One of the best spots in Finland they say.
And it did indeed look like it was just a straight wall up. Again a nice barbecue spot with a campfire to warm up while having a picnic.
We were running out of time so calculated that if we are quick with the ascent we can make it up to the top of that cliff called Olhavanvuori for some nice views and then head back.
The ascent which began just before Olhava barbecue spot (which was a dead end anyway) was shorter than we thought and all the practice we have done has made a difference and it did not feel that hard at all anymore.
It was quite rocky so poles would be helpful here!
Top was at 141 meters and such beautiful views with Autumn colors!
Intention was to climb atop Mustavuori still which was on the way back so walked along the road a bit until we found the path up there. Again really good ascent and incline. Poles would be useful on this ascent too so rocky and fairly steep in Finnish scale.
At the top you can find an observation tower taking up up to 127 meters. This is a good spot to see an almost 360 view around the area. So many lakes and perfect spots for a summer cottage!
After taking a few selfies at the top of the tower (see feature image at the top of the post) we realized that we should really head back to the boat now so we won’t miss the last one.
Luckily the direct path to the suspension bridge from Kuutti duct is gravel so we walked briskly the whole way back to where the boat would leave.
What we had failed to double check at some point was the timetable. The last boat had gone an hour earlier so after we realized this, our only option was to walk to Ketun lossi, Fox ferry 1,7 kilometers along the lakeside. See the U curve on the right hand side of the track 😀
This ”ferry” moved with man power so pulling yourself to the other side was the only option. It was fun and we were at our car just when it got pitch dark.
Caught beautiful sunset on the lake though…
Next time do not forget the head light and remember to double check the timetables! Then again next time the suspension bridge will be open again so we would not have one of the problems anyway. Still good to remember the light as it is getting darker earlier and earlier in Finland.
The paths in the park were mostly wide and gravel, but ascents were at times more rocky and rugged. At least during Autumn it was pretty wet and slippery, but good hiking boots and you are fine.
Then again if you only take the gravel roads you can get to nice picnic spots without climbing too much. So this kind of option would be great with kids for example.
If you do decide to climb up to one of the tops with views beware that there are sudden drops down so with smaller children it is good to know and in case you are scared of heights stay further from the edges.
If you have knee problems just skip the biggest climbs and enjoy the lakeside or give it a try on one of them with the help of poles!
The route took us 4 hours and 26 minutes, but it is not really comparable as we walked so fast the last bits. I would reserve a day to come here. Come early in the morning so that you can enjoy the views, nature and relax without the pressure of sunset. Generally calculate 2,0 to 3,0 kilometers and hour as the average speed depending on your fitness level plus time to stop, take photos and eat.
I totally fell in love with this place and we will surely visit it again now that we know how ”close” it is to our home. Definitely recommend!
Third day our walk started from the jetty at Hawse End where you can get to by boat from the town. The boat runs regularly but not too often so you should check the timetable in advance.
It is also good idea to time your hike so that you will be back on time for the planned ferry as otherwise you may need to wait for a while for the one.
You could of course also walk from and back to town, but the boat ride is a nice event on its own.
The first part of the path takes you through a magical looking green forest with moss covered trees until the path starts to climb up after the car park.
First the path is clear and rock covered with fairly good incline right away. Path keeps going steadily up until about 330 meters where there is a bit more even section before the final climb.
Cat Bells consists of two little tips and again just when you think you are the top the actual peak appears.
There is a steady smooth incline at the top all the way to the end where you will reach another section where hands are a better tool than poles and you get to use your climbing skills.
There tends to be another way around these sections too so you could very well come here for a day walk with children and did see even smaller children on the fell. Or you could just come up the way we went down which was perfectly good for everyone even with minor knee injuries.
This was definitely the most busiest hike we did and there was a bit of a rush hour at the top and no wonder because the views to the lake were absolutely amazing. This route is completely on the opposite side of the Lake than the previous days walk was so different perspective to the town of Keswick.
Route down was easy and passed this old cave for mining and a waterfall after which it straight on the side of the fell until we reached the parking lot where we started climbing again.
I would recommend this definitely with kids and it is exciting for them with good views, but naturally it is good to be careful on those a bit steeper sections or use our route down to go up.
I would not recommend this with knee issues as some of the steeper sections had pretty weird positions you had to place your self to climb up using your hands, but if you are up for a challenge this might be your hike.
Then again taking our route down both up and down would be an easier option to see enjoy the views.
6,8 kilometers (about, forgot to turn my monitor back on coming down so missed a few hundred meters). Ascent 332 meters, descent 269 meters, highest point 452 meters
After day 1 I was pretty knackered to start with, but a good night sleep helped a lot.
Still the morning started a bit disoriented because I could not find my iron pills and I was sure I packed them and then my son called me and I thought why is he calling this late should he not be at school until I was kindly informed by my #teamubuntu colleagues that today is Saturday 🙂
I woke up too early and fell asleep again so I tried to eat and pack as fast as I can and ended up being first ones ready outside to my surprise ready to roll again.
Our route today started from the hotel so walked through the town to the starting point (of the route map) from where I started tracking the hike. First few kilometers were around 100 meters above the sea level through farm lands among sheep. Until we reached the start of the ascent.
Ascent was pretty steep right from the start so the poles became a necessity. We paced our queue steady and easy which really helped to keep my heart rate down (use less energy = use less oxygen) and not get too excited again.
The views were great already from there to the village at around 500 meters. Path was good gravel path a bit steep, narrow and rocky at times, but generally manageable especially with poles.
We stopped for lunch at around 726 meters at this saddle between the path up to Skiddaw and the path that would lead down through Long Side. Some great views to the Irish sea and Scotland from there!
After lunch break we still had over 200 meters to go and here the path turned into a really steep slate covered path. The slates practically slid under you at times and we had to move really steady and almost synchronized up. I loved our team work here as we went along like little ants up with our poles in sync.
This leg was hard and even a bit scary at times as the possibility to simply slip was higher than previously. The slope was also a lot more steep ascent than before. We managed this really great and by the time we got up it was so windy we could hardy stand up.
Due to this particular section I would not recommend this route to anyone without poles and if you are scared of heights. You are pretty exposed here and the slope is steep and long.
When you finally get the to the top, the saying the kids often use on the longer car journeys would fit which is ”Are we there yet?”.
Nope we are not there yet! Still down a bit a another short hill and up and _then_ we are there.
It was so windy at the top that I could hardly hold on to my camera so it would keep still and the mist/fog kept coming and going sweeping the top so quickly that we had hard time getting the cameras up and then there was another misty cloud again.
When it did clear up again the views were worth climbing to all directions.
Down hill it was again very easy and wide path with a few steeper sections, but nothing too bad. Again the poles were are a must to anyone with knee issues to help take the weight off them going down.
On the way down we had more time to talk and get to know each other which was really great as the way up everyone had concentrate so much more that we could not really chat that much.
Second ”lunch break” was held at around 550 meters with spectacular views and this cute dog who decided to rather stay with us than follow his master probably because we had food!
And last but not the least the best view from the toilet I have had for a while below!
Tomorrow a bit easier last day up to Cat Bells!
14,5 kilometers, ascent 855 meters, descent 829 meters with highest point at 931 meters.
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The morning was full of excitement as we all gathered for breakfast looking forward to the coming day. The weather forecast promised cloudy, part sunny and possibility of a bit of rain so that was a lot better than the day before when the possibility was I think 80% of rain.
Our guides Mike and Christine helped with the back packs as water bladders, clothing and yes the walking poles! No I finally know where they should go on the back pack. See tweet here
We started off around 100 meters going pretty steadily up and it started to clear up so we had to take off a layer of clothes fairly quickly after start and get our sunnies out for a while. Of course the higher we got, the fog rolled in again and we we changing clothes… Again…
This seemed to be at least for me the job of the day to keep changing layers either it was too windy on the other side of the ridge or then you got too hot climbing up. Self note for tomorrow take the other windproof jacket in addition to the waterproof.
I kept being mindful of my heart rate also all the time considering I had some sort of bug just the day before so stayed in the back more in the beginning just to see how my feeling evolves.
The paths were rugged but well worn. It was though a bit wet and rocky so you needed to be careful with your steps. The slope to the right was very steep down, but the path was wide and easy to walk. At the end there was a bit of ascent to our first lunch stop at the saddle before we went up to peak Sail on the right.
The ascent to Sail was rather steep and the path kept zigzagging which helped with the elevation gain and certainly easier than going straight up. But we did reach top of Sail with nice foggy view.
Just around the corner continuing a bit further we reached today’s high point Grag hill 838 meters. It was so windy, cloudy and rainy there you could not get any scenery to the image so here a photo at the peak close to the pile of rocks.
From here our path continued down a bit and we got some really nice photos when the clouds cleared a bit from the valley. You could see all the way to the Irish sea and the wind mills there.
We descended from there to around 600 meters and then back up to Grisdale Pike 791 meters. After that it cleared up almost completely and we were really lucky to see the fells surrounding the area.
Before starting our descent we had our second ”lunch” break with a pretty nice view opening up down to the valley.
Start of the descent was again windy, very steep and rugged but oh such a great view! The best of the day I think.
After that it was just downhill. Got some really good stretches of downhill training for myself. I still did not run, but tried to pick up the pace a bit to see how it goes. During the lunch break my heart rate went down very quickly so I was not really worried that the hike was too much after the bug or whatever virus I had.
Descent was with great scenery and nice pace. I really enjoyed the going down part as I usually do as that comes more naturally to me and I feel like I am good at it.
I would not recommend this route on very rainy or windy days as there are parts that are really slippery and rugged. With children this is too much up and down I think, but teenagers would then again love the views. Due to so many ups and downs and loose rocks I would not recommend the route to anyone with bad knees as the descent is fairly hard on your knees unless you are used to it.
14 kilometers, ascent 932 meters, descent 952 meters. Wohou my longest ascent I think!
Today was not about exercising as such, but doing it slowly and steady. I tracked time around 5:26 minutes and tried to stop the clock for the stops so the time was at least 40 minutes more actually.
It was great to be with guides who just told you where to turn, when to take poles out, when to put more clothes on and when to take some off. It was actually surprisingly relieving not to have to watch the map all the time and actually change to windproof _before_ ”the other side” where it hits and the you try to get everything when it’s so windy that everything is flying! So I willingly took their advice and just did what I was told and it seemed to work and too that one extra bit of your mind so you could just concentrate on your own progress and achievement.
All and all really and amazing day with an absolutely smashing team. We had so much fun at dinner. Eating what else than traditional fish and chips! Now to bed and we shall see how tomorrow goes! Weather forecast promises surprise, surprise rain again 🙂
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Traveled to Frankfurt for work this week and already when I knew I was going there I started looking around the trails and high places around the city thinking I will go for a run. Found this peak called Alt König where you can find remains of Celtic ring wall and it was reachable by public transport on the west side of the city around 832 meters above sea level.
A Finn who is practicing for Kilimanjaro must take every chance she gets to climb anything higher than 100 meters so I decided to go for it. I had a really early flight so headed straight towards Oberursel/Hohemark from hotel with tram and two different trains, underground U and commuter train line S. I did not have to wait for the next one for two long so public transport worked perfectly.
There were so many paths going across the slope that it was actually hard to choose which one to take so I just chose random trails going up taking short cuts here and there. There were different kind of paths up either gravel, grass or clay/rocky path.
Once you get to the top it has soft and nice surface and birds which made quite a lot of noise. Saw one falcon flying so not sure if it was them or some other species as I am not that familiar with birds. Anyway the top seemed to have it’s own little world and the vegetation was a bit different.
Terrain was very soft bark and it smelled like it is about to catch fire any minute.
Found the top easily as there was this ”throne” bench and chair and above it read on a plaque ”Alt König”. Assumed this was the highest point so sat for a while, had a drink of water and took a few pictures.
There was a lot of vegetation and trees on the slopes so I could not really find a spot to get a shot towards the city but managed to get a few pictures with nice view.
Because my HR monitor wrist band broke and it is being repaired, I have had to use my mobile and just HR belt to track my sports for a few days. It seemed that using tracking app, gps or something else drained my battery completely and had only 20% left at the top.
Decided not to take the same route, but ”shortest” so pretty much straight down. Managed to get really good speed here and there. Very good descent practice for Kilimanjaro! Then noticed my mobile battery had only about 5% left so quickly checked approximate location where I should be heading and then it died. I did not get the last 2 kilometers recorded, but kept my course and found my way back to the U train, S train and to the right tram and hotel. Who needs a mobile phone or a map anyway!
My stop at the mountain was very short up and down around 1 hour and 50 minutes and distance around 8,7 kilometers hence did not have time to enjoy the nature more. This was intended to be a clear mountain running exercise more than recreational visit anyway. From Hohemark U train station it was about 1 kilometer to the forest border where I put the tracking on so It would have been 10 kilometers altogether if you start from the station.
Altitude was around 383 meters where I started recording and top was 836 meters. Max speed was 5:08/km so I really sprinted down at and was afraid with all the rocks and fairly steep decline that I would trip on my own legs but managed to concentrate, core strong and concentrate even a bit more! Toes did hurt a bit as I should have tightened my laces so that my trail running shoes would not have slid down all the time…
Afterwards I could definitely feel the fast decline on my knees and hips, but the exercise itself was really good and I only felt it for the next day or so which is normal.
The paths up are really good in the beginning and you can choose one that is not so steep, but generally there is quite a lot of steady incline and at the end it is a bit rocky. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to challenge themselves a bit, but cannot do very steep inclines.
The forest is also filled with mountain bike tracks so if that is your thing this is your place!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!