Jouni Laaksonen 29.6.2020
This is the eleventh post in a twelve post series. In the earlier ten posts I have introduced about 60 wilderness huts, with map links, and none of them has been built for hiking purposes. The early travellers were hunters, gold diggers, reindeer herders and so on, not venturing about just for pleasure.
In 1930’s there was the first start of hiking for leisurely purposes in Lapland. World War II ended that activity for a while, but in 1950’s hiking started again. During 1950’s and 60’s many hiking associations and smaller groups built wilderness huts into various areas.
Anterinmukka is one of the best wilderness huts in all of Lapland. There is an open sauna beside the river Anterijoki, and behind it you can see a glimpse of an exceptionally large and cozy wilderness hut. The hut and sauna were built in 1960’s by the hiking club of Kesko. Kesko is a big company in the field of grocery stores.
The area that is nowadays Urho Kekkonen National Park was one of the most popular destinations, and there are plenty of huts built by hiking associations or individual hikers during those decades. Muorravaarakanruoktu, Sudenpesä and Vongoiva serve nowadays as rental turf huts. Siulanruoktu, Tahvontupa, Anterinmukka, Porttikoski and Snellmaninmaja are open wilderness huts.
Beside river Muorravaarakanoja this turf hut was built in 1953 by hiking association Imatran Lapinkävijät. Imatra is a city in south-eastern Finland. Nowadays this hut serves as rental hut, but there is also an open timber hut right beside it.
Porttikoski hut was built in 1963 by Suomen Latu, the outdoor association of Finland. It is situated on the shore of river Suomujoki.
Tahvontupa was built in 1960’s by an association called Nuorison Retkeilyn Tuki. The hut is as it was, though the left hand room is now rental hut. The right hand room is open hut. The original sauna was situated upriver from the hut, and so the grey waters from the sauna posed a threat to the drinking water that was usually taken right in front of the hut. Therefore the sauna was removed and a new open sauna was built in 2004, this time downriver from the hut.
Some huts were built also to other wilderness areas, but not nearly as many as in Urho Kekkonen NP. Some of the huts are ruins nowadays, but for example Suivakkojärvi hut in Hammastunturi Wilderness Area is in good shape and serves as an open hut.
Suivakkojärvi wilderness hut was built in 1960’s by hiking association Kuusaan Latu. The name comes from Kuusankoski, which is the neighborhood in Kouvola city, in south-eastern Finland, that the association operates in.
Most of the wilderness huts in Lapland are maintained by Metsähallitus (Parks & Wildlife Finland). Also all the above mentioned huts are now in their care. However, in the 2010’s Metsähallitus has been in trouble with ever more hiking destinations to take care of, and too little resources given.
Through decades the spirit of voluntary work has survived, and some unofficial huts have been taken care of by local individuals or groups. However, in 2010’s a new rise of voluntary work is clearly visible. One group formed in Finland’s most popular hiking forum Vaellusnet (in Finnish only), and the group has expertly repaired several wilderness huts in Urho Kekkonen National Park and Käsivarsi Wilderness Area. They also built a brand new turf-roofed open hut, Rakitsanoja in 2017.
Rakitsanoja turf roofed hut is situated near Korvatunturi fell, in the southern part of Urho Kekkonen National Park.
Hammaskota was a symphatetic old turf hut, but it burned down in 2007. Voluntary workers from Erävaelluskilta association built a new Hammaskota in 2013.
Same applies to Artta hut in Tsarmitunturi Wilderness Area. The old hut (name was Karhumorosto, but the location was exactly the same) burned down in 2001, and a group of local hikers/hunters built a new open hut in 2013.
I rise my hat high for all of the builders and repairers of wilderness huts!