Looking at the weather forecast (a cold and clear week), with a friend we decided to go for a one week ski hike. As we both haven’t yet been in the Pulju wilderness area, we thought it would be a perfect time to explore this corner in the south-east of Enontekiö.
The winter has generally been quite warm. Also the meteorological institute reported above average temperatures for the entire winter. Finally, now in March, the temperatures had dropped. Despite the landscape already looking spring-like (no snow in the trees any more) at least the forecast promised a clear and chilly weak. This was quite inviting for a ski hike. With a friend we packed our pulks and headed to the east of Enontekiö. From the road to Kalmakaltio we started our hike, which brought us into the three border area of Pulju-, Lemmenjoki-, and Pöyrisjärvi wilderness areas.
Chilly start to Pulju Wilderness Area
Our first goal was to reach the Korsatupa open wilderness hut. When we left in the morning, the thermometer showed at -22° Celsius, so had we had a chilly start (though, the mornings should all be around that temperature during our hike). The cold night left frost in the trees, making them appear white again, like in winter. Along the way, we were surprised to discover a valley that was covered by a spruce forest, which seems quite north for this type of vegetation. This day was easy skiing, as we mainly skied over frozen swamps, and thus didn’t have to make much altitude. When we arrived at the open wilderness hut, we unfortunately only found very little fire wood left. In combination with only an open fire place in the hut (and no stove) we prepared for a cold night. Indeed, in the morning when getting up, my thermometer showed -20°C inside the hut. Yet, we still were somewhat protected from the cold, as the hut’s outside thermometer showed -27°C.
Via Korsajärvi to Avisuora autiotupa
The sun already came out quite high during the days. After we set to continue our hike after breakfast, we had around -8 to -10 degrees Celsius during the day. After skiing over lake Korsajärvi, we turned north. We passed by an old and pretty hut in Kultakuru, crossed some swamps and hills, and found our way to the Avisuora open wilderness hut. We were both curious to see this hut, as it is a so called “goahti” (in Sámi); a hut with moss/lichen on the roof. This hut was very cosy and small. Not high enough to stand fully upright inside, and with two beds (though the table section in-between could be filled with a wood board, so 4 people would have easily found space for sleeping). Thanks to the small size of the cabin, we only needed a few pieces of wood to get the hut warm. After being exposed to the cold day and night (before), we appreciated the warmth, and decided to go for a day trip the next day and to enjoy another warm night in this cosy little hut.
The next day we crossed the border to Lemmenjoki wilderness area, and headed a bit north. Like the days before the snow carried well, however, unlike all other days during this trip this day was windy, cloudy, and brought some fresh snow. Our goal for this day was to have a look at lake Rotkojärvi, which appeared to be an interesting landscape feature on our maps.
Skiing over the fells
After this “lazy day”, skiing without luggage, we continued our journey once again further north towards Kalmakaltiojärvi. This day, again with blue sky and chilly weather, brought us over two fells: After crossing Avisuoratunturi we also skied over Peltotunturi. When crossing the latter, we also skied around a big herd of reindeer. For the night we put up a tent and camped in the wilderness. I felt quite comfortable in my sleeping bag in the morning, to only get a chilly breeze when opening the tent. Looking at my thermometer showed that it was -21°C. When we went to bed, under some beautiful northern lights on the clear sky, it was even a few degrees colder, but our sleeping bags kept us warm.
Camping night before skiing back
This was the northernmost part during this trip, as we already had to start our way back. First we skied to the Kalmakaltio open wilderness hut where after another chilly night we found ourselves again under a solid roof and a room with a proper stove. This allowed us to dry our gear and warm up again, before heading back another day’s hike to Nunnanen, from where we got a ride back to Hetta.
All in all we had quite easy weather for a ski hike. Out of six days five days where sunny and relatively warm with little or no wind. Most of the nights were between -20 and -30 degrees Celsius, while during the day temperature usually reached -8 to -10°C. The snow was carrying pretty well, even in the forests. While some nights were chilly, fortunately our gear kept us cosy and warm, and we fully enjoyed this great week of spring skiing, in the corner of the Pulju, Lemmenjoki, and Pöyrisjärvi wilderness areas.