Jouni Laaksonen 17.8.2020
This has been a special summer! Of course COVID-19 is in everyone’s mind, and it will be the one thing everyone remembers from year 2020 later on, but I think there’s already enough text written on that subject. I’m going to tell about our summer here in Northern Finland.
First a few words about the weather. During the centuries, most recently at the end of 19th century, there have been bad years, when either summer frost and cold temperatures or too much rain has destroyed almost all the crops in Northern Finland. For example during three consecutive bad years in 1860s about 200 000 persons died because of hunger. That was about one tenth of Finland’s population.
Now, this summer has been the opposite of a bad year. June was very warm and July warm enough, and there was adequately rain throughout the summer. There has been not a single night even near 0°C, let alone below it. And so everything flourishes! In our garden potatoes, peas, tomatoes and cucumbers (in greenhouse), zucchinis, garlics, onions and so on produce a very good crop. And in the forests and bogs there are more berries than anyone can pick. I have never see as much cloudberries as this year! We picked our share of both cloudberries and blueberries astonishingly easily and quickly. Also it looks like there will be a lot of lingonberries and cranberries, once they ripen up.
The bogs were full of cloudberries! And also crowberries, but they are not quite as interesting to us humans.
And forests are full of blueberries! It’s normally easy or quite easy to pick those few buckets of blueberries our family needs through the winter, but this summer it was super easy.
There was virtually no Corona virus here in Finland during all the summer, just a handful of infections per day, and almost every one of them in the more densely populated Southern Finland. So, while we are fully aware that the virus has not disappeared from Earth, and it can re-enter Northern Finland if everyone is not careful, we felt it safe to travel a bit, here in Northern Finland. Of course being very hygienic, and avoiding the more crowded hiking destinations.
Combining canoeing, camping and swimming!
This summer we canoed, swam and hiked in many places here in Kainuu area, but the most memorable family hike of this year was our four-day hike to Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area in July. Our target was Tsuomasvarri, a fell that was said to be rich in fell flowers.
This hike was quite a challenge to our younger daughter, who is six years old. Last summer she was carried for a big part of our five-day hike from Hetta to Pallas, but now she was too heavy to be carried. She surprised us all. She walked happily the seven kilometers I had planned for the first day, and said let’s do the other two km more, to reach a river. And so we did. When our tent was pitched up, she was still full of energy and played and ran with an eagle feather and a reindeer antler she had found.
And Tsuomasvarri fell did not disappoint us. While the other fells we had hiked through had offered a lot of crowberries (Empetrum nigrum) and dwarf cornels (bunchberry, Cornus suecica), on the slopes of Tsuomasvarri we saw for example yellow mountain saxifrage (Saxifraga aizoides), mountain avens (Dryas octopetala), yellow wood violet (Viola biflora), Lapland lousewort (Pedicularis lapponica), alpine meadow-rue (Thalictrum alpinum), alpine mouse-ear (Cerastium alpinum), globeflower (Trollius europaeus), white mountain orchid (Pseudorchis straminea), alpine bartsia (Bartsia alpina), frog orchid (Coeloglossum viride)…
Here are some pics from that hike:
Hiking towards Tsuomasvarri.
Our girls found great places to play at Tsuomasvarri. Our tent was pitched on the shore of the lake seen on the pic.
And here’s our tent pitched on top of Urroaivi, on our way back.
A slideshow: yellow mountain saxifrage (Saxifraga aizoides), mountain avens (Dryas octopetala), yellow wood violet (Viola biflora), Lapland lousewort (Pedicularis lapponica), alpine meadow-rue (Thalictrum alpinum), alpine bartsia (Bartsia alpina), frog orchid (Coeloglossum viride).
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I’m heading off to a longer hike in Finnish Lapland, and I won’t be able to update my blog in many weeks. I expect posting again at the end of September. I wish sunny days to everyone, and let’s stay healthy!