The river forms a wide valley, in which it meanders slowly to the southeast. Although being a pure natural product, the water of the rivers and lakes often has a brownish shade, as if polluted. It isn't, it just contains some more organic substances and tannins from the abundant lakes and swamps of the area. It takes some willpower to get accustomed to this.

Oulankajoki Oulankajoki


A place for camping along the Karhunkierros-trail, a so-called laavu, a simple but solid hut that is open to one side. We set up a tent because of mosquitoes.


Whether huts or laavus, both provide firewood and fireplaces for cooking with additional gas-stoves in huts. Everything is well maintained by the park-service.
Laavu Vasaoja On Kitkanjoki


In some places the river turns wild. This is Kjutaköngäs, where the river goes down by 14 m on a length of about 600 m. This happens very close to the Information Center of the Oulanka NP, easily accessible by car.

Kiutaköngäs Rapids Kiutaköngäs Rapids


After the Kjutaköngäs rapids the river widens to a lake-like patch. The rapids are caused by a geological change from hard quartz-rich bedrock to softer dolomite.


Yet another rapid, the Myllykoski on the Kitkanjoki river, a tributary of the Oulankajoki. Rafting is a popular sport in the area thanks to the rapids.
Kiutaköngäs Rapids Myllykoski Rapids


A Red Squirrel high on a tree, watching. One would say that it is almost impossible to see a small animal such as this among the thick branches, but the slightest movement of the tiny squirrel causes disturbance in the static picture. If you don't want to be seen - don't move!


The forest is roamed by groups of reindeers, often equipped with ear-marks. This one is a loner, standing in the rain chewing grass, while staring at me, a fantastic target for the camera. It still wears rests of its winter coat - a good idea in this weather.
Red Squirrel Reindeer


Before the water races down the Taivalköngäs rapids, it rests in a calm segment reaching up to the lake Savilampi.


The scientific name is Rhododendron tomentosum, also sometimes called "Wild Roesemary" due to the strong characteristic smell.
Oulankajoki after Taivalköngäs Wild Rosemary

One lake

Finland is known as the land of lakes. Mostly flat and recently shaped by glaciers there are countless lakes of all sizes. This here is a pretty small one called Suolampi.

One more lake

Bigger, but still small, the Iso Kuikkalampi. Both lakes offer a laavu-hut for camping, and thus blood for its mosquitoes.
Suolampi Iso Kuikkalampi


From atop a small mountain range we have a wide view across the plains, at the lake Konttainsjärvi, and to the right at the mountain Konttainen (407 m).

From the hills

The highest peak is the Valtavaara (492 m) within day-hike reach from Ruka, starting point of the 80 km long Karhunkierros-trail. The way over the mountains close to Ruka is unusually tough for flat Finland and sucks quite some power from the muscles.
Konttaisjärvi From Valtavaara