The northern lights are the world’s most magnificent light show. Particles ejected from the sun at 1000 km/s collide with oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere at the poles, which results in a glowing light. According to local legend, a fox running across the fells swept the snowy slopes with his tail, the sparks creating the northern lights.
Indigenous Canadians tell a similar tale about a caribou with a sparkling pelt. The Norwegians see a bridge built by the gods, set on fire to prevent the giants from crossing. Inuit tales say the northern lights are a torchlight procession of ancient spirits leading the souls of the dead to the afterlife and they used to keep their children inside, when there was a display, for fear that they would be taken away with the dead spirits.
Auroras Now! is a space weather service maintened by Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) to help watching auroras in Finland.
Northern Lights Hunting Link Hints is just that - a website providing hints about figuring out the solar activity and your liklihood of seeing the lights.
Hetta Summer Adventure Week
Hetta's summer adventure week's website is: http://www.retkiviikko.fi/. It was the brainchild of Saija-Maaret who offers health and fitness and personal training services in the area (http://www.saija-maaret.fi/).
Hetta Summer Triathlon
Hetta's summer triathlon takes place each year at the end of the Hetta Outdoor Week (normally at the end of July / start of August). The route includes c. 12km biking on both tarmac roads and forestry trails, c. 8km of xc running and a 2km paddle: http://www.retkiviikko.fi/files/8414/0023/9980/Reittikartta.pdf
Hetta Pallas Ultratrail Run
The 55km Pallas - Hetta Ultratrail Run takes place at the end of July and includes a sweet 1800m of ascent. http://nuts.fi/tapahtumat/pallas/
The Full Moon Art Night.
This takes place once a year – normally in mid-October. It includes presentations of music, poetry, literature and handicrafts.
The event will include presentations on local life skills, business products and services, villages, organizations and other entities in the market place and evening events.Common celebration and presented invited to participate in all;local residents, leisure-time residents, neighbors and visitors.
Hetta's Christmas Market happens at the beginning of December, each year and takes place across two days. Local craftsmen present their wares in the village school.
The Frostskade 500 route takes you through Norway, Sweden and Finland during some of the coldest months in the Arctic. Participants can use a GPX to navigate and can travel by ski or snowshoe, using either backpacks or pulks for transporting gear. http://www.frostskade500.com
Hetta Music Festival:
This celebrated event takes place, each year, in the middle of March and concerts and choral evenings are held in the church and other venues throughout Hetta. More information can be found from www.hetanmusiikkipaivat.fi
Marianpäiväit (St Mary's Day Celebration):
This is a big celebration of Lappish Culture by both Sami and Lapps that has taken place, annually, since the 1500s. It happens right at the end of the international tourism season, towards the end of March. Traditionally it was a time when people would gather together for baptisms, births, burials and trade. Reindeer racing has been part of the event since the 1940s and continues, today, alongside lasso-throwing competitions, musical evenings, a Lappish handicraft and products market, Sami theatre and films etc. More information can be found from www.marianpaivat.fi
Hetta Snow Adventure Week:
There are 10 weeks of the year when the area's companies offer their products as part of a fixed weekly programme. More information can be found from the Tourist Information Office (the Skierri).
Enontekio's Ice Fishing Week:
This takes place annually in the last week of April and contests are held in waters around the municipality.
Sami Ski Race
This annual race from Hetta to Kautokeino is increasingly popular on the long distance race calendar. The main event is a90km track across the tundra but it is also possible to take part in shorter 30km or 60km stages between Hetta and Näkkälä or Näkkälä and Kautokeino. http://www.saamiskirace.fi
Lapponia Ski Marathon and Ski Week
There are a couplehundred kilometres of ski tracks in abeautiful landscape in Olos, Muonio, Finland. The skiweek is about having a good time ingreat company and skiing collectively for three days in the week. Everybodyreceives ahighly admiredmedal and diploma. Race office is locatedat Olos. One 60km race goes between Olos, Keimiöjärvi and Olos (although you can opt for a 30km race goes between Olos, Jerisjärvi and Olos that day). The 50km route is between Vuontisjärvi, Pallas and Olos with an option to shorten it to 25km between Pallas and Ollos. The grand finale is an 80km race between Hetta and Ollos with the option to reduce it to 40km if starting in Kerässieppi instead. http://www.lapponiahiihto.fi/en/
Real Women on the Big Fells Winter Adventure Week in Kilpisjärvi
Only Two Fish Fishing Competition: Kilpisjärvi (Vain 2 kalaa Pilkkitapahtuma 2015)
This annual event which takes part normally in the start of May, attracts literally thousands since the prizes are extraordinary (new snowmobiles etc) and likely to be won by someone catching just one or two fish. Some people enter from afari since, if there is no success finding fish, all 'participants' enter into a draw for the prizes. (http://www.vain2kalaa.com/).
Skierri - the Fell Lapland Sami Culture & Nature Centre
The Fell-Lapland Nature Centre, (otherwise known as the Skierri) is an important tourist destination (attracting approx. 25,000 visitors per year). It is located near the base of the ski centre and most of the area's nature walks and XC ski trails also start from here (although they can also be accessed from tracks leading out from the back of the school in the centre of town). There are two main opening times in the year depending on when it is high and low season. High season is between mid July and end-September and again in March and April. At these times, the Skierri is open from 9am to 5pm daily. Low season months are from May to mid July and again, from September until the end of February. At these times, the Skierri is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 4pm.
The information centre is normally located in the Skierri – The Fell Lapland Nature Centre, which is open 09:00 to 17.00 Mon - Fri and sometimes, depending on the season, on weekends. In summer, however, it is often located in the ground floor of the municipality house in the centre of town, which is open during normal finnish working hours, (which are incredibly short!) from Monday - Friday.
The Hetta Church
Central Hetta's beautiful church spire can be seen from miles around the centre of Hetta village. It is actually the 6th church built in Enontekiö during the 400 years of Christian religion in the region. The last one was burnt to the ground during the German occupation but this one was built and consecrated in 1952 when Enontekiö received a sizable donation from the American Lutheran Church. It was designed by architect Veikko Larkas and the mural on the wall behind the altar was designed by the artist Uuno Eskola using fresco and mosaic techniques. Some say that this is what makes it one of the most beautiful churches in the whole of Finland. The organ was a gift from West Germany, and the red pine baptismal font, a gift from the 3rd Company of the Lapland Border Guard. It is a nationally significant built heritage site and one of the three death masks of Martin Luther which exist in Finland is hung on the wall of the sacristy.
It is one of the municipality's six churches and holds services weekly as well as arranging carol singing in English during the winter season. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 to 16 between June 1 and September 30, since it is one of Finland's so-called 'road' churches (a network of churches open to the many Finns who travel through the land in the summer with visiting churches as a primary tourism goal). The parish office is open Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to 12. tel. 040 770 2073, fax 016 521 080, email@example.com, 040 757 0047 +358407570047, 040 757 0047
Hetta's Snow Castle
Another popular attraction during the winter months, is Hetta's unique Snow Castle, which is built yearly in December and normally melts in the May spring sun. The castle attracts c. 5,000 visitors each year. More information can be found from http://www.en.hettasafaris.com/
The Enontekiö Local History Museum
The Enontekiö Local History Museum was founded in 1987 and opened to the public in 1991. The museum is situated in a historic area which, 5000-7000 years ago, was inhabited by Mesolithic Stone Age people. The buildings which were transferred to the location (since only one building was left in the whole area after the retreat of the Germans during world war 2) illustrate local life in the early 20th century. Most of the artefacts are on display in Vieno Kyrö’s Cottage. Other buildings are used for organizing a variety of events.
The museum is open in July 2014 every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 12 a.m. – 6 p.m and entry is free. There are two big events surrounding the museum most summers - an open day and a traditional music evening. In 2014 these were scheduled on 10th of July, 12 a.m. – 6 p.m and the 'musical moment of the evening', on 24th of July, at 6 p.m.
Jyppyrä hilltop is only c.100m above the nature centre (at a height of 400 metres above sea level) and climbing to its lookout point is well worth the effort since it provides an amazing panorama of the surrounding area and of the Pallas-Ounastunturi fell chain. Getting to Jyppyrä is easy: a marked trail leads from the Fell Lapland Nature Center to the top and just below the summit there is a laavu where you can relax and enjoy the view whilst cooking sausages on open fire using the plentifully supplied firewood, grilling sticks etc.
You can explore the cultural history of Jyppyrä along the way since signboards explain that Jyppyrä was historically a place of spiritual worship and that there was an important religious Seita stone, en route. Seita stones usually appear as landmarks in the arctic tundra but they can also be found in places, like Jyppyrä, which have had important meaning for Sami. Seita tended to be massive naturally formed boulders with cracks caverns and sometimes sketches of people or animals. Different natural products were sacrificed at the seitas such as fish meat, blood, reindeer or antlers or wild deer meat in return for help or success from the gods. The nature of the gifts or objects worshipped depended upon the situation and the aim. Reindeer herders, hunters etc usually worshipped their forefathers, nature gods, water spirits and game animal spirits whilst some Sami people believed that the world had three levels; the present the upper and the lower (the dead) and that only shamen had contact with all three. The story goes that the massive Seita rock that was located near the top of the Jyppyrä hill was rolled down the hill and into the lake when Christianity started to battle with the area's pagan beliefs - and that fishing in the lake has never been the same since. Nowadays there is a small rock and plaque marking the spot where the Seita used to stand and you have to journey to the start of the Näkkäkä - Hetta trail to see one still in existance and to leave an offering.
Bird watching towers
Sotkajärvi and Yrjö Kokko bird watching towers are good places to observe the life of the typical birds of Lapland during the short but intense arctic summer.
The Yrjö Kokko bird tower is surrounded by amazing fell and river scenery. You can see Siberian jays around the campfire. This friend of hikers is more than happy to share your meal. The lush lake Sotkajärvi is a valuable wetland. Its typical inhabitants include smew, swan, white-tailored eagle, duck and goose. On summer nights, you can hear the vibrant song of the bluethroat, also called the nightingale of Lapland, from both bird watching towers.
Sotkajärvi lake is 18 kilometres towards Palojoensuu from Hetta on Highway 93, the tower is on the north side of the road. It is accessible by wheelchair. The Yrjö Kokko tower is 9,5 kilometres from the Fell Lapland Nature Centre intersection towards Vuontisjärvi on the road 956. . There is also a bird watching tower in Markkinajänkkä, 6-8 kilometres north of Karesuvanto.
Hetta- Pallas Car Transfer Services
A number of companies, including ours, offer car transfers from one end to the other of the National Park for those planning to hike or ski its length. Ask for further details.
The Järämä Fortifications
Järämä is a restored section of the Sturmbock–Stellung fortifications built by the Germans between 1942 and 1944. Its purpose was to protect the harbors on the Arctic Ocean.
This Lapland war fortification carved into the bedrock is an interesting point of visit. Järämä is an ideal stop driving along the road to or from Kilpisjärvi. Stop for a refreshing coffee, and get familiar with the local history.
The area has many restored bunkers, trenches, a museum and a café. The museum introduces you to the events of the Lapland War in region, to artifacts of the time and to the civilian experience. Järämä is located along Highway 21/E8 about 20 kilometres from the village of Karesuvanto, on the way to Kilpisjärvi. Open every day between midsummer’s and mid-September from 11am to 6pm. Tickets and guiding: 5,5 €/adult, 2,5 €/6-16 years old children 0-6 years free, family ticket 13 € including two adults and 6-16 year-old children 3,60 €/person/group (at leat 10 persons in a group), Phone: +358 16 524 605, +35816524605, +358 16 524 605
Palsas are rare perennially frozen peat and mineral wetlands. They are found in the arctic permafrost region.
The permafrost is often dozens of meters thick. Palsas are formed in the thickest parts of the permafrost, where the ice begins to push a mound upwards into the peat layer. The peat insulates the preventing it from melting in the summer. Palsas can be 2,000 years old, seven meters tall, and 20 meters wide. Over time,the palsa grow breaking the layer of peat. Heat is then able to reach the center causing the palsa to collapse. A pond forms on the remains. You can see palsas in Iitto along Highway 21, 56 km north of Karesuvanto. Wooden broadwalks lead you right to them.
Iitto is located on the Käsivarrentie road, about 40 kilometres from Kilpisjärvi. There is a rest area on the river’s side of the road, where you can park your car. Walk along the board walk for about 100 metres, there are signs.
Kilpisjärvi Nature Centre
KilpisjärviNature Centre provides information on the natural features of the Käsivarsi region, in northwestern Finland.
The Three Countries Border Stone
The borders of Finland, Sweden and Norway meet at the Three Nation’s Border Point that stands on a man-made island in lake Koltapahtajärvi in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve.
The original rock cairn was erected in 1897. Legend tells that workmen carried rocks for a week to complete the structure. However, the cairn did not survive the vast masses of shifting ice in spring. The current concrete marker was built in 1926. In summer, you can get there by taking the Malla boat, which travels from the Kilpisjärvi village to Koltalahti. The walk from Koltalahti to the cairn is just under three kilometers. You can also reach the cairn by walking 11 kilometers through Malla Strict Nature Reserve. You are free to circle the cairn – unless of course you have goods to declare at customs. Citizens of the Nordic countries do not even need to have their passports with them.
Malla Strict Nature Reserve
Malla Strict Nature Reserve rises directly from the shores of lake Kilpisjärvi and remains almost as unspoiled as it was in 1916 when it was established. It has a unique but fairly fragile ecosystem where rare fell plants unique to the area thrive due to limestone soils and butterflies also abound. Hence, summer travel within the area is restricted to the marked hiking trails in the summer. In wintertime, you can ski freely in the park. The 11-km long trail goes through the reserve to the Three Nations’ Border Point, where the borders of Finland, Norway and Sweden meet which is also worth a visit.
Malla Strict Natural Reserve is located just north from Kilpisjärvi village. Head towards the Norwegian border, and leave your car at the rest area. If you are not up for the 11 km hike all the way to the Three Nations’ Border Stone, just a climb up the fist hill will open up some stunning views.
You can also take the Malla boat to the Three Nations’ Border Point and hike back to Kilpisjärvi through the Reserve.
Try to identify some of the rare plants you find at the Reserve, use this link for help. Remember, that you can only collect plants from the Reserve by taking photos! http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kasvit/
On the main route between Kilpisjärvi and Skibotten, en route to Tromso, there is a wonderful but hidden waterfall just to the left of the main road. If you can find it, it is quite a jewel and there is a nice scramble down to either a good look-out point or - a little more challenging - all the way to the bottom where you can swim in front of the waterfall pool if you dare.
With the 17 meter drop, the Pihtsusköngäs waterfall on the Pihtsusjoki River is one of Finland's largest waterfalls. The falls are on the upper part of lake Vuomakasjärvi and start as a series of small rapids. Mist sprinkles on your face when the Pihtsusköngäs waterfall drop straight down from the rugged cliffs. The waterfalls are along the Nordcalotvägen, Kalottireitti, an 800 kilometre long hiking route that runs through Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian territory.