• FINLAND
  • Same Trails Different Season

    Tiina Kivelä

    Yesterday I told you about trail running in Ounasvaara on summer, which made me realize that I haven’t even told you about the winter trail running in Rovaniemi! Which is almost as good – maybe even better – as the summer version.

    Just look at the snowy landscape from past February in here.

    In winter, the best option for everyday trail running up here is to follow what’s called as the “winter walking trail” in the Ounasvaara hill next to the city. Starting from the city, you first run up from the left side of the other end of Jätkänkynttilä bridge (the starting point in my guide in here) to the observation tower and resting point, with fireplace and dry wood (on a good day). From there, you continue a bit more up and then right, to the mast and Sky Ounasvaara Hotel, from the south-east corner of which (really, go to the exact corner of the hotel – it’s hard to believe but the path really goes from there) you may continue to the signed (poorly though) winter walking loop trail of appr. 6km. (You may upload the GPS track from here.)

    At the end of the loop, when you reach the cross-country trail “entrance” and parking lot, you may turn right and continue the rest of the loop trail back to Sky Ounasvaara and go back the city along the same trail you came up. Or you may as well turn left here, and continue downhill past Santasport, directly to the city and sauna and after run beers.

    Please note that running on cross-country tracks is strictly prohibited in Finland (as it ruins the tracks and is dangerous as well) and that there are also many MTB trails in the area, along which you can basically run, though I wouldn’t recommend that either (again for the security reasons).

    I know, since the MTB trails are better signed than the hiking/walking trails and for few other reasons they are very tempting for running and walking (I’ll write about biking those a bit later), but still, better to keep on the walking paths when running/hiking. For that, in addition to the winter walking path, the snowshoe tracks found in the area, especially the ones made by big tour groups, are an excellent option. They are rarely, if ever, marked, but offer a nice adventure as long as you find your way out of the forest in the end/when getting hungry. And of course, the snowshoe walking is also a nice activity to try, if you fancy that.

    I really hope that the current work they are doing on improving the overall signalization of the nature trails in the city will help and all the trails will be better marked and tempting in the future, as currently even I get lost here from time to time.

    The views are worth a detour or two, though. Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Ounasvaara, Rovaniemi, Lapland

     

  • FINLAND
  • The Other Home Of Mine

    Tiina Kivelä

    I’ve been back to arctic tundra (also known as Lapland, my home) a few days now and as mentioned already, been eating and drinking well. And to earn all that eating and drinking, I’ve been running around Rovaniemi; road running by the river, and trail running on the Ounasvaara trails, an example of which in here.

    The path below is really for biking and since I wasn’t on a bicycle (this time), I have to apologize for the collision danger caused by my unresponsible actions. Normally I really do go according to the written and unwritten rules – and advice you to do the same, as it’s good for everyone – but up here, I just can’t help it and end up running everywhere. (Luckily though the summer season up north is quite quiet still, so I had the trails all to myself this time.)

    After the long periods in Switzerland, I’m always so excited to be back to the flatlands and mellow hills and fjells of Lapland – the air here is so fresh and the uphills so smooth. Not to mention the midnight sun, which messes up your sleep and allows running around whatever hour of the day or night (good way to get the most out of the messed up sleep patterns).

    Oh, and it’s also easy to make pace records here, at least compared to the Alps.

    All the vanity…

    Tiina Kivelä

    Ps. The trails are more than nice for some semi-urban hiking as well. But please note that the signalization is a bit outdated and confusing – new, a better system should be up next year though – so take a map with you when going.


    Where: Rovaniemi 66°N, Lapland, Finland (guide)

  • Appenzell
  • Falling in Love With Switzerland Over And Over Again – Hoher Kasten Edit.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Just when I said I don’t recommend sneakers for these trails, I caught the weekend crowds at the end of my Saturday speed hike from Hoher Kasten, half of them taking careful steps on the slippery and rocky path from Wasserauen to Seealpsee, and the other way round. Everyone has the right to their own style though, but still, I’d highly recommend sturdy hiking/trekking shoes for these trails. Or trailrunning ones, with the sticky sole. Because I’m really worried when looking you stumbling with the not ideal for the occasion, no matter how trendy, Nike Frees.

    This time I took my trailrunning shoes to Alpstein, to take a speedy tour from Hoher Kasten to Wasserauen. First, I took the train and bus to Brülisau and from there the Kastenbahn up to Hoher Tauern and the excellent 360° views (and many pics). From Hoher Tauern, after tightening up my shoes and backpack, I ran (and occasionally walked and stopped), past Berggasthaus Staubern and more nice views, before stopping for an Appenzeller beer at Berggasthaus Bollenwees.

    After the beer, and almost swim in Fählensee, I took the hilly route over Bogartenlücke to Wasserauen train station, from where the train home. Overall, it was appr. 17 km hike, which in the end would have been better the other way round, as the 1600m descent would have been better as the ascent, and the 1000m descent better for the ascent. Nevertheless, I and my knees survived, and you can do it the better way, now when you know (though in that case, please take into an account the gondola timetable from Hoher Kasten more carefully).

    Hoher Kasten, as I know very well by now, has one of the best views to Rhine Valley (Rheintal) and to the whole Alpstein Massif and Appenzell (the region, not just the town). And like said many times already, when hiking and running around here, the extensive network of guesthouses takes care of your energy and hydration level more than fine. Just remember to take cash and enough time with you when going.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Hoher Kasten – Staubern – Bollenwees – Wasserauen runhike, appr. 17km & 5h (map)