In paid collaboration with Scandinavian Outdoor.
One of the most memorable hikes in my life. Urho Kekkonen National Park left a beautiful and terrific experience in my heart. The week in the wilderness included crossing the mountains and rivers, gourmet food, wilderness saunas, autumn foliage, rain, snow, sun and northern lights. And here it is, a comprehensive information pack of the journey in UKK.
Route: Aittajärvi – Maantiekuru – Pälkkimäojan laavu – Luirojärvi – Sokosti – Muorravaarakanjoki – Muorravaarakka – Anterinmukka – Pirunkuru – Paratiisikuru – Sarvioja – Aittajärvi
Aittajärvi, start and end point: A long and bumpy gravel road ends at the Aittajärvi parking lot. The beautiful Lake Aittajärvi is part of the Suomu river, and there are three campfires and a lean-to hut on the beach. We decided to sleep the first night here so the hike could start early on Sunday.
Maantiekuru: From Aittajärvi lake to South, there is a gorge called Maantiekuru. Fast-paced rocky path and pine forests pass by quickly when the excitement of starting the journey was up in the air.
Pälkkimäoja lean-to hut: Second night. Easy to find, good lean-to hut, campfire and dry toilet. According to GPS, I walked 19.2 km during the day. The backpack weighs a lot. Northern lights in the sky. We slept in tents. Night frost.
Luirojärvi: Third night. Find a nice old unlocked hut with gas stove on Lake Luirojärvi. The new wilderness hut had a lot of hikers – we avoided it. Along the way, there were plenty of great mushrooms, which made a nice risotto with white wine. Spacious wilderness sauna on the beach, which warmed up easily. According to GPS, I walked 11.4 km a during the day. Half of the team slept in the unlocked hut, half in tents.
Sokosti 718m: Epic hike to the top of the highest fell through high winds and snowfall. Sky cleared up after a while, and some of us got mobile phone reception for the first time – I did not. The journey continues northeast down to the river Muorravaarakanjoki. Verbal grade to Sokosti: Easy hike, nice views, nothing that special!
Muorravaarakanjoki: The best scenery and best feelings of the trip. Follow the river towards the Muorravaarakka cabin and experience an unforgettable river adventure! Verbal grade for Muorravaarakanjoki: I didn’t think there were such places in Finland, very fine!
Muorravaarakka: Fourth night. Desert hut with gas stove and fireplace by the river. No wounds have occurred to anyone in our team so far. Walkers with poles do better. Shoes and clothes are wet, we have to do an effective drying in the unlocked cabin. According to GPS, I walked 19.2km during Tuesday. We slept in tents. The backpack becomes lighter as the food decreases!
Anterinmukka: Fifth night. A gem of the excursion, a wilderness sauna by the river! Find also a fine wilderness cabin with gas stove and fireplace. The first snow falls on the ground, the milieu is eye-catching. My ankle whines, I relax and stand in the ice cold river. According to GPS, 13.3km walked on Wednesday. Journey is halfway through, we have plenty of energy left for cooperation and our team improves constantly. Great feeling! We slept in tents. Frosty and snowy night.
Pirunkuru: The journey goes back partially along the same route. A lunch break is a decent break, not a little stop. Let’s eat, drink coffee or tea, rest and check the water requirement for the next leg. Adventures take you across rivers and fells, through forests and gorges! Verbal grade for Pirunkuru: Wow, this is big!
Paratiisikuru: Gorgeous gorge, albeit quite a lot of trails. People apparently like to always make a new path when the old one is used enough? We descend down the Paradise Gorge towards the Sarvioja cabin. Verbal grade for Paradise gorge: Fine, but I was expecting more!
Sarvioja: Sixth Night. My left knee got really sore in a steep downhill, and now we’re putting on bandages everywhere. With the walking poles I could have survived the strain. Wilderness cabin with gas stove, good dry toilets, river next to the door. According to GPS, I walked 20.8km during the day. Energy levels are quite at an end. Slept in the wilderness cabin.
The final leg from Sarvioja back to Aittajärvi was straightforward. Half of the crowd conquered one more fell, and half took a nap.
Common accessories for the whole trip for seven:
- Tents: MSR Mutha Hubba 3, MSR Hubba Hubba NX,
- Gas burner: 2 pieces MSR Pocket Rocket
- Gas cylinders: 2500 g
- Kettles: Titanium 1.3 liters, Teflon 2 liters, aluminum 0.9 liters
- Instant coffee 200g, tea pack, honey 300g
- Salt, pepper, spices
- Cooking oil
- Rope 3m for repair and ventilation
- Needle, strong thread, wax, shoe fat, patch kit
- Map of Urho Kekkonen National Park
- Heavy knife, 5pcs
- Fishing rod (was useless in the end)
Diary entries, notes, and lessons learned from the journey:
- There are plenty of mushrooms along the hike, remember to download the mushroom book application. The mushrooms are suitable for almost all camping dishes.
- Parmesan is suitable for almost all camping dishes. 100 g / person / day is enough.
- The lentils are suitable for almost any camping meal.
- Magnesium effervescent tablets highly recommended for heavy hiking.
- Don’t plan your evening snacks, everyone will fall asleep when it gets dark.
- Tortillas work well, but the toppings should be well thought out.
- If you bring dried pea soup with you, let it dissolve thoroughly before cooking.
- Use soy cubes with stock cubes or butter.
- Garlic oil works well with almost everything.
- The amount of bread (dried dark bread 275 g / person / 6 days) worked.
- Take more seed crisp bread, honey alone is enough. (250 g / person / 6 days is almost over).
- A tube of honey went well, useful for drinks and meals.
- Film tubes of finger salt and honey work well, a small stimulant on the path.
- Instant coffee usage: 17.5 ml / person / day.
- You should put the spices in waterproof bags.
- The salt should be added directly to the oatmeal before the hike.
- Porridge 1.5-2 dl / person / morning worked well.
- Lunch break is BREAK: Not so busy cooking and eating.
- Wilderness cabins with a gas stove help with cooking and can focus on quality.
- Useful to put the entire camping kitchen in one bag.
Accommodation: In the wilderness hut, we often had to explain others how to dry everything. When wet clothes, shoes, and sleeping bags are trying to dry for several people, the best way is to keep that fire going and to let damp air out from windows or door.
- Not everyone needs a big knife.
- If you use a gas stove in a wilderness cabin, you will be able to bring much less gas yourself. The three-person food group (cooking food + coffee) used about 450 grams of camping gas in six days, while half of the meals were cooked on gas stoves in cabins.
- Walking poles work. Usage prevents (and alleviates) injuries, especially when going downhill.
- Ideal bandage and knee bandages were in great need.
- Remember to trim your nails before hiking.
- Leatherman was very useful.
- A fishing rod is useless if only one is involved in fishing and the trip is not a fishing trip.
- A lighter is a hundred times better than matches with gas.
- One little toothpaste is enough for four persons.
- The dry bag for your mobile phone does not work when you want to photograph. The top pocket works well.
- Savets work.
- Pack all food properly in wilderness huts: Mice bite through fabrics.
- There is plenty of drinking water in the UKK: Estimating the amount of water in the terrain is difficult, this time we were carrying too much. Would have survived with a one liter bottle.
- Layering always works. A buff, hood, beanie, collar or cap are good for regulating the heat of the head.
- Wax your shoes well before the trip.
- The Anorak center pocket just fits snugly between the back straps of the bag, much better than traditional jacket side pockets.
- 3 pairs of socks were found to be good. Two thin socks work better than one thick socks.
- Lightweight down jacket was everyone’s favourite.
Finally: Leave some goodies at the car: Fruit, beer, chips & clean clothes.