Riemuryhmä Lemmenjoella      27.8 - 3.9 2011
                     Delirious group at Loveriver 

    Alisa, Anna, Antti, Jarmo, Juuso, Lasse, Loïc

Saturday 27.8

It was a quite warm saturday morning at Oulu bus station. A couple of people had already gathered to wait our ride to Lemmenjoki. A small bus with a trailer came almost full of eager and smiling men and women ready for head to north. We stuffed our backpacks to trailer and begin the journey.

Mood in a bus was little bit waiting, but excited. Any of our group didn´t really know each other beforehand, only some of us had seen each other in a planning evening. That made the start even funnier. It appeared that we had a quite diverse group. In our group was people from all over, Anna and Jarmo from Oulu, Loïc from Paris, Alisa from New York and I from Tampere. We knew that Juuso from Espoo and Antti from Oulu would also join our group later. We started to get to know each other during way to north.

Venla had a welcome speech and every group told about their hiking plans. I heard about our plan at first in a bus. It sounded very nice and ambitious.

The first pit stop was at Rovaniemi at some gas station. We ate a first warm meal of the day there. There we decided to take a route via Kittilä and Levi instead of going through Sodankylä and Inari. That was a nice decision.

Second stop was at Levi ski center. We ate the second warm meal there. Then we kept on going. After some kilometers we turned to a dirt road which appeared to be the longest dirt road I have ever been driving on. It took 160 km and over two hours to drive until the next paved road, before that we left Juhani's group to road side and wished them a nice hike. After 15 minutes we were there at the center of the world, at Lemmenjoen Luontokeskus, where we unpacked and begun to fit our backpacks to our backs. They felt heavy. We decided to take only two tents with us, instead of three. After a half an hour of adjusting we wished Jarkko´s group a good hike and started walking. We planned to get as close as possible to the hill of Joenkielinen before camping overnight.

We first walked a kilometer to Ahkun tupa to get the key to sauna at Vaskojoki. Soon we begun to think about the food. We decided to find a place for a dinner. Then we met the first locals. The first one was a Lapland dog which was barking kind. It followed us for a while, but then turned back home. Second one was also a barking kind , but was woman. We found out the reason for complaining. We had made our dinner camp on her backyard. Jarmo kindly explained to her, we were not going to camp overnight and she finally made friends with us and let us eat our first dinner in wilderness.

With a full stomach we hiked through swampy forest to the marked trail. We walked towards the Joenkielinen until it begun to get dark. It also started to rain a little bit, so we decided to camp overnight. We found a nice flat place on slope of Joenkielinen and erected our tents. It wasn´t hard to fall into sleep in that fresh air after exciting day.


Sunday 28.8.

First steps

We woke up somewhere near Stuorravarri, packed our backpacks and tents – or Alisa and the others did, I still tried to figure out how to pack my backpack functionally. Finally, we pressed on to search a good place to have a breakfast and found a good one alongside of the Juurakkojoki  after 2 km of walking. Almost immediately when we arrived to our breakfast place, it started to rain heavily. Some wilderness-realism in the face on our first morning. Well, at least the first night had been quite easy.
After some attitude adjustment, I chopped stubbornly our very first fresh tomato on to my bread. In that time of our adventure I didn’t have a clear concept of adequate meals. One would think that on autumn time, when it’s not that cold yet, you don’t need that much energy. However, rain and/or humidity set some challenges, because your clothes get easily damp and air is colder.

After breakfast we did some stretching.  After  we kept on going and after short walking, we arrived to a resting place with a tepee. There came another group who set the fire and we got the possibility to dry our socks and shoes a bit. I gave up with my hiking shoes and changed on the rubber boots. After one “close call”-situation I had earlier, I also decided to use some duct tape to support my ankles. At this point I have to say, use sport tape if it’s possible (and needed), so you don’t get rash so easily.

There’s always wind on the top of world
Jarmo, Lasse, Anna and Alisa on Joenkielinen ( The Picture taken by Loïc )

There we go again, this time not-too-easy scaling on to Joenkielinen.  Rain stopped, but there was windy  and misty on the top. So we couldn’t see any view. We stopped there only to take some breath and pictures and kept on going to boatferry down in the valley.  Guys took some evidence picture of my supporting system. (Greetings from my ankle! It was very pleased for all the attention it got.)

Duct tape can be used, if you do not have sport tape.

We had a short lunch break in a valley after descending.  I had a quick meal, trying to help Alisa get rid of her dried meat.  Lasse had festive meal for himself: some pasta with blue cheese. Only the candles lacked. The terrain before the boatferry was first swampy and bumpy. First we hiked through younger forest and -fortunately- later the forest got older and wilder. There were lots of grey dead standing trees. We descended down a steep face of the hill to the path which led to boatferry. There we met Juuso, the second last to join our group. There were Jarkko, Venla and Aino too, and they helped us ladies and Juuso to get into the boat.


We rowed the boat across Lemmenjoki (and maybe somebody helped with a wire…) and continued hiking to Ravadasjärvi’s wilderness cabin. There we hanged up our damp clothes and tents for drying. There was finally a glimpse of a sun which encouraged us to go swimming in Ravadasköngäs waterfall.
After Juuso had taught me how to play with my camera, it was time for diving -  at last.  Alisa and I were the first to go into the water. Water wasn’t very warm and I think I succeeded in showing it. Soap and necessary posing for photos forced us/me to go into the water again and again…and again. Swimming and cold water did good to my legs and swollen eye caused by blackfly. Yet I had to rush out from rapids as soon as possible, but slippery rocks didn’t give much help.  Jarmo went after us and didn’t make any noise: water was “just fresh”.
After swimming Alisa, Loïc and I climbed  up the waterfall on slippery rocks. There was a bit regret because of the rubber boots, because there wasn’t fringe  between the boots and the rocks, but between my hands and rocks only, so I had to move by pushupping with my hands ( after all, I still can’t say if the rubber boots are good or not  in hiking conditions, maybe there are better options). After some excitement we got there and we got some nice pictures too, so I can say it was well worth challenging myself.
It was time to get back. Jarmo had lost his watch during the swimming, so we spent some time looking for it. It was getting dark, so we decided to get back in the morning and headed  to the cabin. We spent the rest of the night sitting by bonfire with Jarkko’s group and a couple. There was good wooden jokes told by Juuso, I ate a sausage given by Lasse and somebody stepped on Jarmo’s toe.
After this nice and rainy day, it was great to climb up to bunk for sleep.


Monday 29.9

Monday. It was raining. There was no hope of sun that day. You just knew it. The fast porridge stared at writer with its butter eyes. It smiled and said “eat me”. So the writer eats it.
Morning maneuvers took only two and half hours from our group. Somebody just get lost to her pack back map ;). But eventually we were on our way to the wilderness.
We have walked like ten meters when our group got separated not by an accident; sort of. Jarmo and Juuso went to look that if they could find a watch from Ravadas köngäs. Unfortunately not a single watch was found from Ravadas köngäs.
On the way to meet the others Jarmo and Juuso were surprised by lemming that reminded them from a rabbit from monthe python movie. Lemming looked kind of cute but you could see that it had bad things in its mind. Luckily Juuso and Jarmo got safely away from that particular lemming.
On our way to sleep we also saw a gold digger. We were the first visitors he saw like in two months. He was pleased to show where and how he did the gold digging. We were amazed.
Then we were lost. A little bit. Not much. There was just wrong river in there. Eventually map found us end we were on it again.
Before we had heard, that in the region where we were about to put up our tents that there would be fire places of the reindeer men. We found an old tree and under it we put our little humble tents. Sleep was deep.


Tuesday 30.9

Gold Mine to Vaskojoki Cottage

The air was cold and damp on Tuesday morning. We spent the night in tents near a river, Mattit Ravadas, and compared to my sleeping bag the clothes I had to put on felt like ice. Eager to start moving, I quickly ate breakfast and packed my gear. It was easy for our group to make a plan for the day. We were going to meet Antti at the Vaskojoki cottage, approximately 10 km away to the northwest and along the way, if it suited us, we could hike to the top of Latnjoaivi (a tunturi 592 m high).

Early in the day, we came across a semi-permanent structure that resembled a sauna or warming hut. It wasn’t long before a man appeared on the river bank, presumably the owner of the hut, greeting and inviting us to see his gold mine. The man seemed friendly but I didn’t know enough Finnish to understand what he told us about the mine. I found out later that he had not seen any other people for two months before we came.

This is not a sauna. It is warm place to wash yourself according to goldminer.

When it was time to starting hiking again we followed the river, looking for a suitable place to cross. Loïc and I attempted to make a stone crossing using large, river cobbles but, it was difficult to make the “bridge” stable so it wasn’t very helpful. Everyone managed to jump across at a narrow spot. After climbing up the steep river bank we continued to walk up hill through a forest of short birch trees. Above the tree line, we could see Vaskojoki glittering in the distance. The top of Latnjoaivi was surrounded by a curtain of misty clouds but it didn’t matter, everyone still wanted to go there.

We had a quick meal break before proceeding. There was no water source nearby so we could only eat food that did not require cooking water. We left our gear at the lunch site and climbed up a scree slope. Even though it was very steep, it felt great to move around without heavy hiking gear. It was windy on top. Some of the guys checked the cell phones to see if they had reception. Going down was easier than getting up but, we had to be very careful, balancing on loose rocks, not to twist an ankle.

Now that we were more than half way to Vaskojoki, excitement about getting to the cottage was growing. Walking along the side of Latnjoaivi, Loïc entertained by telling a story about hiking from his childhood. We found a narrow path down the tunturi and walked through a forest and swamp, eventually stopping for a second, warm lunch late in the afternoon. In the last kilometer before reaching the cottage we had to cross a stream using a log bridge and go through an interesting wooden gate.

We started fires for sauna and drying our clothes as soon as we got to the cottage. Vaskojoki looked fast and deep, and everyone was happy when Antti arrived, not long after us. Our group was finally together and that meant it was time to celebrate with sauna, swimming and lettuja (Finnish pancakes). A great way to end an interesting day- thanks everyone, kiitos!


Wednesday 30.8

There was eleven people in Vaskojoki cottage in the morning. Our group seven and two couples. One couple ( elderly man and woman ) had arrived late in the evening. They had done 30 kilometers yesterday in very hard terrain through pushes. From the looks of them I would say they were very experienced hikers. They had long rubber boots and kind rubber covers in front of their pants, which protected pants getting wet in the pushes.  The man told that they had done hiking from early 80's. 

We cleaned the place and headed back to Ravadasjärvi cottage. This time we would take route that would go little bit more north and less baths help us orienteer. We went over the hill called Soabbegealdinoaivi. It was very open area and we could see very far in every direction. This is great thing about nationalpark of Lemmenjoki that their is these high rugged places and green beatiful forests below. As our French companion expressed: It is so fascinating that everything here is dead. It was very hard wind on top. I was getting cold and we started our descent.

The terrain was very rocky below. I was very worried that we don't find good place to put our tents. Fortunately Antti found nice furrow in a slope. It gave us shelter from the wind and not too rocky for putting up a tent.An owl came to greet us just before went sleep. Juhani later identified it as boreal owl from the picture.


Thursday 1.9

We woke up in a little dell, which nature had maid for us to sleep. Only decent place to put tent within radius of one kilometer. The route ahead of us was much easier than yesterday's hike over the Soabbegealdinoaivi. The name is in saami. We would just follow the Ravadasriver from Ravadaslake to Loveriver ( Lemmenjoki ). It was just going downhill. Loïc was eager to use axe for making fire. In national park it is only possible to make fire in certain places. So Loïc had to wait for his chance. We found a place for lunch in place where rivers crossed. There was a good fireplace where we could dry our clothes. After that we followed the river back to Ravadaslake's cottage on Lemmenjoki. Timo's fishing team also arrived to the cottage shortly after us. They had been goldmining and fishing up there. Jarkko knew one goldminer and they went over to his place to do some work. In the evening we made pancake's for everyone. Experimental research revealed that there is difference between doughs. Sunnuntai's pancake dough was the best. It was quite late when last one retired to sleep.


Friday 2.9

Last day of the hike.
Because of the circumstances and our ambitious goal to reach the top of the world (or maybe only of the area, but still, almost 600m, we almost could call that a mountain, no?), we'll have to keep a tight and almost military schedule : wake up in the middle of the night (7.30), really fast breakfast and packing (only 2.5 hours), leaving at 10.00 to be at Kultasatama at 12.00 (6.5km on a trail) for a quick lunch break (2 hours), river crossing at 14.00 and ascension to Morgam-Viipus until 16.00 so we can be back to Kultasatama around 18.00. Boat will pick us up at 18.40, so we have a 40 minutes margin in case something happen.
The day might be difficult (I'll stay behind everyone with the axe to make sure we are fast enough!), but it's the last one, and there will be plenty of time to rest when we go back home!
To preserve you from unnecessary stress, I'll say it now, we managed to climb up to the top and come back on time (and with everyone alive!) for the boat - but it's not a reason to stop here your reading.

But let's start from the beginning. Waking-up at 7.30, OK.

Quick breakfast (easy for Jarmo and me since we ran out of porridge the previous morning, so we had to adapt) and packing, almost OK.
Only 10 minutes late (but as Anna said, "ladies have to be late"), this is maybe our fastest morning departure of the hike. Time to say goodbye to our leader who decided to abandon us; or maybe we decided to abandon him; anyway, after a pacific revolution, we decided that it would be better to continue separately, and our anarchist community heads south whereas Jarmo stays for fishing and a lonely hike back to Lemmenjoki (the town, not the river, obviously; by the way, how are you supposed to make the difference between the town and the river/lake with this finnish way of calling towns rivers/lakes?).

Contrary to our expectations, the canyon trail isn't that beautiful because it is too far from the river to see anything. A little bit longer than expected also, and we arrive to Kultasatama a little bit late (~30 minutes). Lunch will have to be quick, we can't afford to leave after 14.00 sharp! In addition, the river is quite large there, and finding a place to cross it might not be so easy.

Again, I think we establish our record for lunch break, let our backpacks there and leave even before 14.00, worried about the time it will take to cross the river.
Antti, our river-crossing expert finds a (not so bad) place, and helps everybody to cross (and sacrifices his feet by lending me his neoprene socks). 14.30, we are on time. Still, we decide to agree that wherever we are at 16.00, we'll turn around and head back (except if we are 50m from the top, in which case we would run there and back), because we don't want to miss the boat and walk all night long (even if I think it would have been possible to do it).

The climbing starts, in the forest, on a really steep trail; probably not the one on the map, which seems not to exist. It's probably the most difficult climbing of the hike, but without the backpacks it's much easier. After some time, we get out of the forest and our destination appears, majestic, dominating the whole area. Now it seems unacceptable not to reach it, as it seems so close. There is a herd of reindeers a little bit further, they will be up there before us. We continue, one eye staring at the top, the other one staring at the time (I'm the only one with a watch, so they keep asking me "how much time left?"; good point is, I'm the only one with a watch, so I can answer whatever I want... no way we stop so close to our goal!). And eventually, we reach the top a little bit before 16.00. Even the sun rewards our effort, it's the best day since the beginning of the hike, the sky is blue, the sun is shining and the view of the whole area is amazing. A few minutes, to enjoy it, to eat some energetic food, take some pictures, and it's already time to start going down again.

Juuso, Lasse, Alisa, Antti and Loïc on top of Morgamviipus

We decide to split, Antti and myself going first to try to find a better place to cross the river, and Alisa, Anna, Juuso and Lasse going down slower. After almost dying trying to follow Antti almost running down (he's got much longer legs than me!), we fail to find the perfect crossing spot, and the others join us. The place we decide to cross is better than the other one though, larger but not as deep and with a much weaker current. Juuso (almost) successfully tests the quality of JahtiJakt, as his feet (almost) stays dry when he crosses with his boots and trousers. Anyway, we get back to Kultasama on time, and even in advance, so we have about an hour to wait for the boat.

When the boat came (in advance… I know punctuality is something important in Finland, but a boat in the deepest Lapland!), the guy seems not to expect us (another boat guy told us the previous day that he would transmit the message, but apparently he didn't), but there is still some space on the boat (at least for the beginning) so he takes us, and even offers us a discount (thanks to our great negotiators skills - well, obviously not mine, my negotiating skills being cancelled by my finnish lack of skills…). We load our backpacks in the front of the boat (and pray for them not to fall down in the river), take place in the boat and start our journey back. View from the river is great and we (at least I) don't regret our choice to have chosen to take the boat. We stop at Ravadasjärvi, to take some more people on board (good news, they are not too much of them, so we can stay in the boat, we don't have to wait there for someone else to pick us up), and some more backpacks - the pile is starting to get really high, we can't see in front of the boat anymore, and I can stop worrying about my backpack falling down, as it is now covered by other people (who might start to worry themselves) bags. We also got some news about Jarmo from Jarkko's group : apparently he left Ravadasjärvi in the middle of the afternoon. The last part of the boat trip is quite strange for me, with mixed feelings: satisfaction about the hike, which was great, but sadness that it is already over and that we're now heading back to the civilization.

After a coffee/chocolate/cellphone break at the Café-Restaurant-Souvenir shop, Jarmo arrives and we decide to go to camp next to the parking. After removing/hiding the "No overnight" sign, we set up the tents and have some dinner. The weather forecast announce a clear night, so Jarmo propose to sleep outside. Except for Lasse and Antti, who decide to enjoy the space of being alone in the tent, we agree and so we spend our last night outside, to enjoy the amazing view of the parking.


Jarmo's Friday

In the morning Antti was the first to have the courage to go swimming. The water wasn't so cold. After breakfast our team split up or I decided to follow the original plan to walk back to Njurgalahti. Other's wanted to head to Kultasatama, go on top Morgamviipus and after that go back to Njurkhalahti by motorboat. I understood they idea, but I wanted to see the valley of Lemmenjoki by foot. Motorboat trip through the valley would take only an hour. I had almost whole day to walk. Before I started my journey back to Njurgalahti Jarkko taught me little bit flyfishing. In flyfishing only keeping the fishing line in air is thing to learn. So I concentrated on practising that. Time just flew by. :) It was two o'clock and I had fifteen kilometers to go. Fishing group was also coming back by boat so I had to rush. It was first sunny day on the hike. I decreased the amount of clothes on me and started my walk back to civilization. Scenery was beatiful and I could walk in my own pace. Lovely! Near the end stomped on Juhani's group. They have had quite hard time in the beginning of their hike. They had been in swampy area when it was raining. I got some porridgeflakes and bread from them, because I was running low on food. I thanked them and went on to meet others in the boatharbour.


Here is the route that main group did. It doesn't contain routes that individual group members took. Orange line is walking route and blue line is the boattrip back to Njurgalahti (on upper right corner ). Black marks are camping places.

Saturday 3.9

Respecting my habbits I woke up quite early. Birds were singing. What a nice morning! Bus came to pick us up at ten o'clock. We headed to Sodankylä for sauna and lunch. Swimminghall was in a military area. It was my first time to see women officers commanding draftees. World is certainly chancing! Siilashalli ( the swimminghall ) was familiar place for me from the Kaamoshike. Päivi's kammari was nice restaurant in middle of Sodankylä. It was hard to imagine that we were in the polar circle area. Sun was shining, it was warm and restaurant could have been somewhere in Southern Finland. On the way back our group in the end part of the bus making riddles for eachother. Thaks to Loïc I can draw ”a beatiful moon” for rest of my life. Thank you! We arrived to Oulu's trainstation in the evening. We said farewell to eachother and departed on our own directions.



Did somebody find love there? Let's hope so.