Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Two canoe trips.

In June it was time to paddle a bit. First a 6 day solo trip to north of Vätsäri wilderness area. Well, I don't know if you can call it a solo trip, as I had two dogs with me....

My dogs were not much help with packing the canoe. Instead they found eating reindeer droppings much more interesting.

My plan was to paddle a small river up stream, and then on rather small lakes with some portages between them.

Here I'm towing the canoe in a shallow part of the river. Pyry thought it to be so boring that he stayed on the canoe.

Some portages in the area had log tracks for towing the canoe. I knew they hadn't been maintained for quite a while, but didn't really expect them to be in this poor shape. Some were better though, but the ones like in this pic were pretty tough ones.

I had my pulk pulling harness with me, that made the portages much easier. And as you can see, my dogs were really cheering me up. Or laughing at me. Or just wondering what in the world that guy is doing. Pyry had his harness on too, but I didn't want to bother a 13 years old dog with that work in rather warm weather.

Calm parts of the river and small lakes were relaxing to paddle. A quiet evening with no mosquitoes.

Our national birds, swans, were gathering at some lakes.

Warm weather. Pyry sun bathing in front of the tipi.

And when the inner tent was set up, guess who was the first in......

And guess who took it easy until the last minute before leaving in the morning when everything was already packed.....

On board the same guy was of course complaining, as it was too boring just to sit still. Would have been much nicer to walk on the shore...

This portage was in decent shape. Almost a joy to tow the canoe.

Nice lakeside camp. Sandy shore, clear water, no rush, no traffic.

My one person inner tent accommodates a man and two dogs fairly well, after the dogs understood I didn't set the mats for them.

Vätsäri wilderness area is known to have rocks. And more rocks. This is a common sight in the area.
But the area is also known for having a countless number of lakes with chrystal clear water.

An open hut we spent a night in. Sunny weather continues.

We did some few kilometer walking trips too. Pyry cooling down in a pond during the lunch break.

Taking a break from paddling.

That's how it goes. I'm paddling, dogs on the watch if there's something interesting, and maybe a change for a walk.  For the first 5 days we had really nice weather, it was raining only during some nights and on the last day. Almost completely mosquito free trip. Can't get much better.

For the second canoe trip in June I headed to Ivalojoki, river Ivalo, with my brother. We spent 4 nights there. Relaxed paddling, quite a bit of fishing. Nice area, popular for paddling.

Ivalojoki has quite a few rapids, which are of course complicated with a dog on board. I would let my dog to run on river banks while paddling in rapids, but during the breeding season for the birds it's not the best idea. So no dogs on this trip. 

 Typical sceneries of Ivalojoki in the part we were paddling, high and rocky river banks.

Ivalojoki varies from rather wide to pretty narrow. Nice places for fishing.

Camping by a sandy shore.

At home in Ivalo we had an army of mosquitoes waiting outside of the door. But a bit up by Ivalojoki there was almost none. How easy it is to forget them when there's none around you!

For 3 nights we happened to be camping at the same locations with 3 French paddlers. Two of them with a canoe, and one with a kayak.

We're in Finland, so there are saunas everywhere. Heat the pile of stones, pull the cover on, and enjoy!

Grayling with mashed potatoes. All trouts we catched were too small to be taken, but graylings were a common catch.

Ivalojoki is known for it's golden history. In late 19th century the area had a real gold rush. Some historical buildings are still standing. This is the main building in Ivalojoen Kultala.

Natural art, formed by the ice age.....

No parking fees.

Fishing from the river bank.

In late June the sun doesn't set.

Some companies arrange raft trips on Ivalojoki. Here's two passing our camp site.

Graylings again.

Last night's camp site.

End of the trip, arriving to our pick up point.


  1. Hi Pasi. Really great pictures! The trip looked amazing!
    So, how do you handle polttiaiset? I was trying to go on a trip for a week in two national parks, but had to bail out the first night already, because of these insects. I couldn't sit outside, eat, go to toilet...they totally held me hostage inside my tent. It was so bad that I had to leave the next day.
    Surely you have them up North as well?

  2. Thanks Don!

    Those polttiainen insects are bad. Luckily they are not out in full force yet this early to the summer. We have lots of them in late summer and early autumn.

    Good thing is that they don't seem to be active for the whole day. Smoke from a camp fire helps, so does choosing an open windy place if possibile. In a tent, cabin or under a mosquito net they are not as bad as mosquitoes as they won't do anything.

    But yes, sometimes it's unbearable. But even then it can suddenly change drastically. One evening it's like a hell, then next day you're happily walking in a t-shirt.

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  4. Many places here in the USA similarly afflicted, from near permafrost northern tier states, to miasmal humid Gulf Coast were beaches near salt marshes a nightmare of mosquitos large enough to bite through light clothing, and those available near year round.

    The photos are breathtaking, and thanks again for taking the time to share with us, who otherwise would never see such places, or even have a clue as to what Suomi was like, on the ground, live.