Hiking in riisitunturi and my overnight stay experience.
The sunrise, sunset, magical aurora borealis, starry night and incredible moments what all i had in the trip to riisitunturi National Park, Posio.
Living in Finnish Lapland, made it more clear how much I love to be in nature. And this environment has so much to offer when it comes to nature. So far I paid a visit to 3 national parks in Lapland (Oulanka, Pyha-Yllästunturi and Pyhä-Luosto). National Park Riisitunturi was the next on my list, located in Posio. The reason why I always wanted to visit there: giant snowy trees. Another fact about this national park is that it is so easy accessible. From the parking lot, it was only 1.7 kilometre away from the campfire place and wilderness hut. So, I planned to go to the National Park on Monday 8th of March, which is also known as International Women’s day.
My name is Claudia and I am the intern of Visit Lapland for 4 months. I am 21 years old and originally from Belgium, but arrived in Rovaniemi in August 2020. I have always liked adventures and exploring new things, but I realise that all my activities were always with other people around. I am very social and I like having company. But since I am living in Lapland, more than ever, I realise how much I like the peace and quietness.
Posio Hiking preparation
But… before you decide to go hiking and staying overnight in a wilderness hut, you have to be prepared. On Sunday 7th of March, I was busy with preparing myself. The first thing I always do is to look what the weather forecast is prodiciting. Ofcourse it can sometime change, but most of the time it is really close. It was promised to be a sunny day, but since I was staying the night, I also needed to be prepared for the cold.
My preparation list:
- thermal long underwear (pants and T-shirt)
- ski jacket
- hiking pants
- ski pants
- 1 pair of woolen socks (1 extra pair)
- winter shoes: Sorel
- sun glasses
- thermos with warm coffee
- water bottle
- 6 sandwiches (already ready)
- pasta with tomato sauce
- sausages for the grill
- spork (spoon+fork)
- inside hiking backpack:
- sleeping bag
- fire matches + fire starters
- phone cable
- camera (batteries of camera in advance charged)
- powerbank (in advance charged)
- camera stick (to hold my phone stable while filming)
- toothbrush + toothpaste
- basic make-up
On Monday 8th of March, I started my day with waking up early (6:30). I had a good breakfast and checked the last things. I made fresh coffee and filled up my water bottle. I already made my hiking bag the night before, so I didn’t lose too much time in the morning.
Morning in Riisitunturi
I left before 8 in the morning in Rovaniemi, so I could start my hiking day at 10h30. After riding 2.5h to the National Park (with some needed small breaks along the way), I finally arrived. The sun was already shining and I was totally ready for my hike. The trail was well maintained and was easy to follow. While I was walking, the trail was getting slowly steep and through the trees I could see already a little preview of the splendid view.
I took the longer trail to reach Riisitunturi Maja, this takes you along the Riisitunturi fell where you have a beautiful 360° of a breathtaking view 400m above sea level. I arrived a little before noon at the wilderness hut and campfire place of Riisitunturi. I made a lunchstop for half an hour and ate my sandwiches.
Hiking trails of Riisitunturi
After the break, I just explored the national park and followed the marked trails. I was not wearing snowshoes, it was not needed to follow the trails. But of course, if you would like to go off trail, you should take/rent skis or snowshoes. At the car parking, a local company was offering these required equipment’s. I decided to go to the top of the fells to experience sunset. The sun was setting around 17h30, so I made sure I was there around 17h. I was lucky that it was not cold or windy at all, so it was no problem to be at the fells for a longer time.
After the sunset, the temperature was getting lower and I started walking back to the wilderness hut. When I arrived there, I put my sleeping bag outside my bag and placed it in the available spot. There was inside the hut a little stove that was heated up with wood. The fire was already on and I decided to make my sausages inside. Grilling a sausage is a typical Finnish tradition what I really like and often do myself. After my sausage was done, I ate it together with my pasta.
Overnight stay in the Wilderness Hut
I was taking a break in the wilderness hut and reminisced back on my first hiking day alone. I was not lonely at all and I got the opportunity to socialise with other visitors and shared our stories together. It gave me a lot of peace just exploring around in the untouched nature and going my own trail. I also truly believe that it is so healthy to go and explore some places all by yourself and make some memories just for you. So this is what I did when I visited a National Park.
Night photography in Posio
Around 20h in the evening, I decided to go outside and do some night photography. The star sky was amazing and I felt so little. After taking some pictures of the stars and trees, I noticed something on the right side: northern lights! In the beginning, it was too weak to see with the human eyes, but on camera it was visible. After waiting for a bit, the northern lights became stronger and more visible. It was the perfect ending for an amazing day!
After staying outside for a while and taking a lot of pictures, I began to feel cold since the temperature was around -20. I went back in the wilderness hut, where no one else was, and decided to make sure the fire was on again.
Sidenote: I made sure in the beginning of the evening that there was enough wood for me to survive the night. If there was not enough, then I would have gone to the wood shelter and chop the wood.
Overnight experience in Riisitunturi
Before I went to sleep, I put on extra wood on the stove so it would be warm for as long as possible. I woke up once at 2 am, and turned on the fire again. I did the same again around 4 am, cause I woke up from the cold. After this, I slept until 6:15. Although I was a little cold during the night, I had a good sleeping bag who kept my body warm almost all night. So I would recommend to test first if your sleeping bag can protect you to the Lappish cold. I decided to get up around 6:15 in the morning, to watch the sunrise and started my morning hike back to the parking.
The sunrise was stunning! And once again, it was going to be a sunny day. After admiring the sunrise, I started walking back and I arrived to the car around 8 in the morning.
I made it! My first hike all by myself in a National Park where I have never been before and combining it with an overnight stay in a wilderness hut. I am really proud that I did it and made amazing memories for myself, that I could later also share with other people. But mostly, I did it for myself and I truly believe you can grow of it as a person, being able to stay in the nature and exploring around.
I would recommend everyone to do it, but always stay safe! And don’t forget to enjoy along the way.
⇒ By Claudia Martens ⇐