Hiking/ Lapland/ Nature/ Wilderness

A magical winter hike in Riisitunturi National Park

Lapland’s southernmost national park in Finland is called Riisitunturi National Park. It’s quite remote but still pretty easy to reach, especially if staying in the Kuusamo area or Salla. Somehow it has become really popular among Finnish Instagrammers and photographers recently, and now that we have visited the park we can totally see why. It’s an amazing winter wonderland, that offers peace of mind, fresh air to breath and unique wilderness landscapes to admire.

Surrounded by peace

We did an overnight hike to this national park in the beginning of March. All though the thick snow covers of the trees had already dropped in most parts of the area, it was still beautiful. Many people choose to go there with snowshoes and it is, indeed, a great idea. But we chose to ski this time, with skin based backcountry skis, that proved to be perfect for this trip. At first, sliding downhill with a big backpack was a bit tricky, but quite nice after you got a hang of it.

Living in the bustling city of Helsinki, we too miss total silence from time to time. I had almost forgotten how utterly wonderful it feels like to close your eyes and hear – nothing. In the evening when the last day trekkers left the wilderness hut where we would be spending the night at, we were surrounded with such peace. No cars or trams rattling by, no busy people, no screaming kids and no obligations.

Heaven.

Back to basics

We chopped firewood from long trunks to warm up the hut, boiled water out of snow and made a dinner stew with a gas cooker. It felt so refreshing to truly go back to the basics and see that you can actually survive a winter night sleeping in the middle of wilderness. It was a first time for both of us camping out during the winter, so of course we (and our hubbies) had doubts about our survival. In the end, the hut was nice and warm, nobody else was around and it felt cozy curling inside a fluffy sleeping bag. I did have some nightmares of axe murderers during the night though, but other than that everything went really well.

In the morning we woke up really early to see the amazing full moon we had that night. The sky had been so full of clouds in the evening that we weren’t able to see the moon, but in the morning the sky was clear. It was magical how pretty it was to see the moon reaching the tree tops and slowly descending behind the fell. At the same time the eastern sky started to get more and more pink every second, as the sun was rising.

By far, this has been one of the most beautiful, pastel pink mornings I have ever witnessed. And I feel so blessed I got to experience this in my home country, Finland.

Check out also a video of our great little get-away!

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“Riisitunturi National Park is suitable for people of all ages and beginners as well. A good destination for cross-country skiers, snowshoers, trekkers, bird watchers and photographers. Marked trails for hiking in summer and snowshoeing in winter (42 km). Ski trails (20 km). The “Riisin rääpäsy” Trail (a 4.3-km circular trail) is suitable for families with children.” Read more here.

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