Urho Kekkonen National Park Day 2: Sarvioja – Muorranvaarakka

Route: Sarvioja – Muorranvaarakka

Distance: 10km / 5 hours

Even though going to sleep very early, we slept until nine in the morning. First prepared our “instant” breakfast that included instant porridge, hot chocolate, plain bread, instant coffee and tea. The food rations had been carefully planned to keep the pack weight at minimum. Basically everything we carried was “instant” or high in calories (chocolate for example). Others in the hut had yoghurt and some cheese, cucumber and ham to put on their sandwich. We were a bit jealous to say the least…

After re-packing the gear, cleaning the hut and saying goodbye to the Narri dog and his owner Pertti, we headed for the day’s trail. Sanna and Jaakko were also heading for the same direction (Luirojärvi), but had chosen a different route and hut for the next night. Again, the first task of the morning was to cross the river. This time we used the stones as steps and managed go across without getting our shoes wet. The path climbed steeply uphill and soon we found ourselves above the treeline, walking along the side of the fell. The landscape was very different from the previous day. Instead hiking in the forest we were now walking among small dwarf birches and heathers, and could see the fells in the horizon.

Route map Day 2

Route map Day 2

The trail along the side of the fell

Somehow we managed to miss the path that would have taken us to the top of Ukselmapää, the second highest fell in the region (698 m), so we followed the river and ascended a very rocky formation at the very end of the pass. That route took us near the summit of Lumipää (Snow Head), from where the views were magnificent. We could see endless lines of fells stretching all the way to Russia.

The rocky end of the pass

We set our headings to the nearest valley and stumbled upon a small patch of snow, that had survived the summer without melting. There are several similar shady spots around the park where the snow almost never melts.

Snow from previous winter

The landscape soon turned from rocky and grey to lush and green. At the same time the sun also came out from behind the clouds and we saw some blue sky for the first time. The view was beautiful.

Lush and green instead of rocky and grey

The trail followed a small river, and we stopped several times to pick some blueberries which were plentiful. After walking for a while we arrived to a swampy spot where the trail turned into wooden planks, that ended at the river just across from the Muorranvaarakka wilderness hut. We could already see the hut but the water was deep and flowing fast, so a suitable crossing spot had to be found downstream. A tree had fallen to a small islet in the middle of the river creating a natural bridge. Using the tree we were able to cross half of the river without getting our feet wet, but ended up having to cross the other half barefoot in the cold river anyway.

Crossing the river

Muorranvaarakka hut was newer, bigger and in better condition than the one where we spent the previous night. At the hut we met Matti who was feeling ill and had stayed there already one night resting. Despite the fever he was very nice and friendly.

After enjoying our carefully rationed dinner, we made some more firewood and a small bonfire to the nearby fireplace. There had not been many mosquitoes during the day and it seemed that the cold nights were starting to take a toll on their population. From the hut’s guest book we read that a few weeks earlier there had been so many mosquitoes, that someone had pitched a tent inside the hut just to be able to sleep. Someone had also seen a bear just next to the hut. Sadly (or luckily) we did not see any. The night was really cold, just barely above freezing.

Making some firewood

Here you can find a few more pictures:

Here is the map of the full route we hiked in 5 days:

The full route of the UKK hike

 

Day 1: Aittajärvi – Sarvioja

Day 2: Sarvioja – Muorranvaarakka

Day 3: Muorranvaarakka – Sokosti – Luirojärvi

Day 4: Luirojärvi – Tuiskukuru – Kustunlampi – Suomunruoktu

Day 5: Suomunruoktu – Kiilopää

Make sure also to check the packing list if you are planning a trip of your own to the Finnish Lapland.

 

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Comments

  1. Hi,
    I plan to spend few days in Urho Kekkozen park next summer and I have a question about this Day 2 of your trip. I don’t see any trace between Ukselmapaa and Lumipaa to jump to the other side of the mountain for Muorravaarakka. Can you confirm your map and the level of this passage ?

    • Hi! Thank you for your comment 🙂 As far as I remember there was a trail most of the way on this day 2 route we hiked, and at points where there was none it was easy to navigate with a proper map 🙂 It was not hard.

      • Great, If i’m lost, I will send you a mail and you’ll come to help us 🙂 I’m joking.
        your trek is very interresting, we will do the same as your 3 first days, then back to Aittajarvi from Luirojarvi because of the car. I will try to make the last 20km between the 2 lakes in 1 day. I think it’s possible because we also have 2 nordics dogs to help us walking…I will send you a mail to tell you if we did it in 1 day or not when we’ll be back end of august. It can be intersting if other people have to go back at the same place than the departure. My only concern, is the river, the first day, with dogs…I expect some funs moment during crossing the river with them…:)

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