Friday, 20 October

Ruka-tunturi is located in Northeastern Finland, in the southern parts of Lapland.Ruka-tunturi is located in Northeastern Finland, in the southern parts of Lapland.On my visit to Finland in the late summer of 2015, I hiked to the top of Rukatunturi in Northeastern Finland. The fell (tunturi) is located by its namesake town Ruka, and is a all-season tourist attraction. 

 A Finnish tunturi is similar to a fell, which is a type of rounded, bare hill. The mountains were formed to their current shape by receeding ice during the Ice age. The highest point in Finland is the shoulders of Halti at 1323 meters (4340 feet) over the sea level. The peak of Halti is on the Norwegian side of the border. The highest mountain top in Finland is Ridnitsohkka at 1317 meters.

Ruka is a full service ski resort with multiple ski liftsRuka is a full service ski resort with multiple ski liftsRukatunturi is only 490 meters (1607 feet). But Finland being so far north, the Ruka still gets plenty of snow in the winter. It is a full service ski resort with multiple ski lifts, and an extensive cross-country trail network. In the summer, hikers frequent the mountain with its abundance of hiking trail systems. 

It was late summer, still warm and nice, maybe about a month or two before snow season. There were wild blueberries growing on the mountain, which came in very handy as instant snack during the hike. Fresh blueberries are very delicious!

Domesticated free range reindeer roaming all over the resortDomesticated free range reindeer roaming all over the resortThere were also reindeer roaming all over the place. Reindeer are found in Lapland, which spans over Northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. They are domesticated free-range grazers. They used to be earmarked just like the free range cattle here in the USA. But nowadays they instead carry a band around their neck for ownership identification.

Territorial views on RukaTerritorial views on RukaThe hike itself was relatively easy, with well-marked trails, and wooden steps at the steeper areas. The ski lifts were also operating, so one could, for a fee, take the lift up to the top, down, or both ways. Great for those who aren't able, or dont have the time, to do the hike, but still like to enjoy the great territorial views.

Bob-sledding down the mountainBob-sledding down the mountainWe (me and my dad) decided to hike the whole trip. We would have missed out on the blueberries if we had taken the lift! There is also a sledding tube track. I didn't see anyone using it, but I was told that in the summer, you can rent a sled at the top, and slide down the tube. I assume it is a smaller form of bob-sledding.

Ski-jump on RukaSki-jump on RukaWe also saw a huge ski-jump on the mountain. Ski-jumping, along with cross-country skiing, down-hill-skiing and snowboarding, is very popular in Finland. Not to mention ice-hockey. Finnish hockey is world-class!

Being on the top of the mountain, one has a 360 degrees view over the beautiful Finnish landscape, with mostly forest, and multitudes of lakes. To the east, afar, one can see Russian territory.

There are many national parks and wilderness areas in Finland. One very popular wilderness trail nearby here is Karhunkierros (Bear-circle). It's about 80 kilometers (50 miles) long, with over-night shelters. I would have loved to hike it, but unfortunately didn't have time to do that. Hiking to the top of Rukatunturi and back only took a few hours at a leisurely pace.