Autumn Hike in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area: From Hetta via Olkojärvi to Pöyrisjärvi

view from a fjell down to long and narrow lake
Lake Olkojärvi

It has become some kind of tradition for me to spend at least one week during autumn in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. Also this year I felt the urge to go for a hike and camping trip into Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area, even though the hiked distances this year were less than in recent years ..

 

Like in the past few years also this year I wanted to go for a hike during the wonderful autumn season, which attracts with a colorful environment and the very limited amount of annoying biting insects. Since the Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area is very close to Hetta and just a few hours walk away, it became my favorite destination for hiking, as I do not need to use any kind of noisy, bad smelling and polluting motorized vehicle to go there.

Unfortunately my partner was bothered by an old injury so we couldn’t go for a long hike in terms of distance, which is why we decided to take it a bit more relaxed this year, make less kilometers and maybe spend more than one night in a single place. In practice that meant that we were hiking from Hetta to the lake Olkojärvi, from where we continued to the lake Pöyrisjärvi.

birch trees, swamp and little brook in wide valley
Närpistö valley

Already on the first day we hiked a bit north from Hetta, reaching the Närpistö valley, before we turned east and entered the Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area right after crossing the river Näkkäläjoki. After our first night we continued to the lake Olkojärvi, where we spent a couple of nights and explored the near surroundings during the days. Apparently the autumn came about three weeks later than in the past years, probably due to the cold and hardly ever sunny summer. While that meant that there were still many leaves on the trees and many of them still green with the blueberries not even being ripe in most places, we also had the luck that cloudberries – which are my favorite kind of berries – were still available and just perfect for eating. While cloudberries are usually at their best in August, to our surprise we found lot’s of red cloudberries, which means they were not even ready yet. Anyhow, with the advantage of still finding many cloudberries we could significantly increase the taste and quality of our meals and deserts.

Orange tent in birch forest, near lake shore
Camp site at lake Olkojärvi
Cloudberries, chocolate and tea; served on a big rock on the top of a fjell with nice view
Desert: Cloudberries, chocolate and tea during sun set

 

 

 

 

 

 

The days and nights we spent at Olkojärvi we had fantastic weather with lot’s of clear sky, particularly during the nights. This way we were able to see wonderful northern lights for two nights in a row. But before the magic in the sky started to appear, we had the luck to become witnesses of the local bird life. Near our tent was not only the rather big lake Olkojärvi, but also a couple of other, smaller lakes, which are situated at different elevation levels. One evening we could observe how a single whooper swan landed in one of the smaller lakes. Maybe fifteen minutes later another swan, most likely the partner of the first one, came to find his fellow whooper swan. Since the lakes were partly separated by small hills, it took the swans for a long time to search for each other. Flying from one to another lake, calling each other, and often missing, the swans had obvious difficulties in finding each other, leading to the sad fact that at some point both of them separately flew back southward where they came from. While with big interest following the happening and observing their searching techniques, we got – almost unnoticed – new visitors at our camp site: Two owls came close to our camp fire to inspect what was happening here. While one remained a bit distant from us, the other owl came very close toward us and sat down on a rock maybe two to three meters away from us. After some preliminary check up, the owl circled around us and over our heads for a couple of times, coming very close, before apparently deciding that we wouldn’t be a threat to them. It seemed that we were camping in their hunting territory, as also the next night they were flying and hunting around and very close to our camp site, which provided us with the opportunity to closely observe their nightly hunt that was quite visible to us due to the bright light of the wonderful moon allowing us to see enough without the need for flash lights at our camp site.

northern lights
Northern Lights near Olkojärvi
Photographer on swampy shoreline, taking pictures of an island
Day program: Taking pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we decided to leave lake Olkojärvi the weather started to change and thick clouds prophesied soon to come rain showers. While we still spent some nights in the tent, we slowly moved toward the lake Pöyrisjärvi, in order to reach the open wilderness hut there. Fortunately we didn’t really get wet, as the rain showers were short or during the night when we were in the tent, but thick and low hanging clouds nevertheless reduced visibility and introduced very humid air.

After we finally reached the lake Pöyrisjärvi, strong winds and lasting rain showers set in. We would have loved to rent some canoes from Näkkälän Eräpalvelut – a very small and Näkkälä-local tourist enterprise – to go around on the lake Pöyrisjärvi, but the weather, especially the strong wind kept us from doing so. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to wait for the weather getting better, to either go canoing or to continue our trip, so we had to walk to Näkkälä where a friend of ours gave us a lift back to Hetta.

Thick and low hanging clouds, hiding a hill with tundra landscape in the foreground
Rainy Weather
Sandy road with birch trees on the sides, embedded between forest covered hills
Path to Näkkälä

 

 

 

 

 

Even though I would have wanted to hike further, we nonetheless spent some wonderful time in the Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. Since autumn came a bit later this year it wasn’t yet as colorful as in the past years, but we got compensated by still finding plenty of delicious cloudberries. During the clear nights we could enjoy the berries we picked while watching northern lights and different bird species in their natural wildlife. After all, another great experience in the close-by Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area.

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