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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