Jouni Laaksonen 1.7.2019
It’s interesting how different a very familiar hiking trail can be with children!
Hetta-Pallas is the most popular longer hiking trail in Finland (and naturally it is one of the trails described in the new guidebook Hiking in Finland). I had both walked and skied it during earlier decades and thought the trail wouldn’t have much new to give to me. Now we hiked it with our 5 and 12 year old daughters, and the experience was very different.
Our elder child walked all the way, and carried not only her sleeping bag & pad and spare clothes, but her sister’s sleeping pad as well. She was an easy one. The younger child sometimes walked, but often traveled on my wife’s back, in a child carrying pack. Five is rather a difficult age, as the child is quite heavy to carry, but he/she is often not yet strong enough to walk long distances.
And as my wife had a heavy burden carrying our daughter, my backpack was large and heavy, containing tent, two sleeping bags and pads, all the food for four people for six days, stove and fuel and kettles, and so on.
I won’t write much longer, for I will let pictures tell about the sceneries and weather. We had good time, and in the end we didn’t walk six but five days: 7 km + 11 km + 11 km + 12 km + 14 km.
If you are pondering whether it’s possible hike with kids, I encourage you: It sure is!
Day hiking is way easier, but also longer excursions are possible. However, do gather experience with day hikes before heading out to longer excursions. And of course the parents have the duty to plan everything so that everyone has fun time.
1. The trail is clearly marked with poles. The rare wet sections are equipped with duck boards. 2. Mountain Heath (Phyllodoce caerulea) was abundant everywhere.
Hetta-Pallas is a fell trail. Most of the time the trail goes above tree line, and you can see far away. Here we are at Pyhäkero fell, where we saw for example dotterel (Eudromias morinellus), Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus) and ptarmigan (Lagopus muta). Pallas fells can be seen far away in the horizon. That’s our goal.
We had nice weather, sunny and partly cloudy sky, temperature between+15C and 20C during days and only a bit under +10C during nights. This small downpour at Suastunturi fell was the only rain we encountered.
It was past halfway of June, and many fell flowers were blooming. For example globeflower (Trollius europaeus), Lapland lousewort (Pedicularis lapponica) and moss heather (Cassiope hypnoides).
This is the next to last day and we are nearing the Pallas fells.
We slept one night in a wilderness hut and the other nights in our tent. We could have slept every night in a hut had we wanted to, for there are plenty of huts along the trail. Here our tent is pitched near small wilderness hut called Montellin maja (on the right in the pic).
There were patches of snow on the fell sides, though not right along the trail any more. Children loved playing in them, or throwing snow balls at us.
Looking back from Pallas fells.
Crossing over Pallas fells. Now there’s only a few kilometres left to hotel and nature centre Pallastunturi.