Start Basecamp Oulanka
In the morning we are provided with all of the equipment needed for a week of snowshoeing in arctic conditions, before heading straight out into Oulanka National Park for an easy walk as an introduction to snowshoeing (approx 2½ hours). The afternoon is free for relaxation at Basecamp with a sauna or hot-tub.
Today's walk (approx 3 hours) begins by taking us over a long suspension bridge that hangs across the Niskakoski rapids. We then head around the frozen lake of Jyravajarvi giving us a real experience of deep snow snowshoeing. On our return to Basecamp we pass over a second suspension bridge over the Myllykoski rapids.
Today we take a transfer out of Oulanka National Park and head to the neighbouring Riisitunturi National Park. Although geographically they are not far apart, the differences between the two national parks are highly noticeable. What makes this area so special is the incredible affect that the heavy snow has on the trees as you climb higher into the clearings of the fjell. Twisted, bent and covered in thick white powder, it is almost as if you are passing by hundreds of snow creatures. This memorable day then culminates with a hike to the top of the fjell for a fantastic view of this wonderful alien landscape.
This free day in the popular ski resort of Ruka gives you the opportunity to experience other winter activities. There is an optional snowmobile safari, which includes a lunch by a campfire en route, and a chance to hit the slopes with downhill skiing in the afternoon. There is also an option to experience dogsledding. See the 'Other Excursions' section of the trip notes.
Today is the longest day of snowshoeing (approx 4-6 hours) as we head deep into Oulanka National Park. Our guide takes us on what is known in the area as the 'Little Bear Trail', which encompasses some of the most spectacular scenery in the park. The trail takes us to the south side of the River Kitka and then up to the Kallioportti viewpoint, where we survey the vast snow-covered surroundings. On the return to Basecamp we head over another suspension bridge in Harrisuvanto before taking a well-earned rest in the sauna or the outdoor hot tub.
A short hike (approx 3½ hours) takes us to the incredible frozen Jyrava waterfall and to the Aallokkoski rapids. The skills that we have learnt will be put to the test today as we pass over more of a challenging terrain on the north side of the River kitka.
End Basecamp Oulanka.