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I have been hiking in Upper Lapland since I was seven. At that time my father brought me and my little brother hiking in Lappland for the first time. My father had been there with some of his work mates already before, and even my mother had been hiking once. Hiking in Lapland became something we did every year, we spent every summer about a week there.

Our hiking group shrinked slowly, the colleagues of my father dropped out, then my little brother and eventually my cousin too. After my college years I forgot the hiking myself as well for about ten years. Now I have found again time for hiking, and it has not been too hard to persuade my father to go along, too. On the other hand, these trips have been lately a bit too rough for my father, and I have been hiking mostly alone lately.

During the ten years without hiking, one of my friends, my namesake Jussi, started his hiking hobby. Summer 2005 we were together at Kebnekaisella (highest mountain of Sweden, the link is Finnish only). Namesake-Jussi's old pages are here and new pages hopefully some day here.

I have been hiking lately mostly alone though. Hiking alone is, of course, against all common advice. However, I feel like experienced hiker, and it is actually not that dangerous. You need to have experience, good equipment, and you need to respect the nature. When you do not seek for dangerous situations, but are very careful when passing rivers and wherever you go, you can go on your own pace, and stop for taking photographs whenever you feel like. When you hike with someone, sometimes it is a bit hard to make compromises between different expectations. One wants to fish in the valleys and I like to go up in the fjell to see the beautiful landscapes up there. And nowadays everybody has so tight schedules, that it is hard to even agree on the time of the hiking trip. I guess the circumstances have made me hiking alone.

Of course I do not recommend anyone to go hiking alone. But if you do have hiking experience and you trust your skills, you get quite a lot out of your trip when you go hiking alone.

For the foreigners I would like to remind, that hiking in Nordic Lappland is very different from hiking in Central Europe, for example. Here in Finland there is really nobody out there when you go from the beaten paths, and there is not necessarily anybody at the paths either. If you want to go hiking in Finnish nature and meet people there, in general you need to bring the people along. If you run out of food, you get hungry. And if your gear get wet or break, you are in real life threatening danger. Mobile phones are not working in the wilderness in general. You may not be able to make fire, because there is no wood. You need to know how to navigate, you need good maps, and you need to survive in challenging situations. In Finnish Lapland, even in summer time, there may be wet snow or hailstorm, and temperature may fall below zero centigrade. I've seen that happening in July. Gear designed for Central European summer is not necessarily good for hiking in Finnish Lapland. You need gear ment to be used in spring and autumn time as well. You need to be prepared, though normally the Lapland will show it's best during summer time, sun is shining all day long (and all night long too, to be accurate), and the weather is warm.

About my gear page contains information on my gear and why I selected something like that. Without any unnecessary advertising you get here opinions about my gear, and some advice when selecting equipment. Hiking does not need to be about the gear, but having proper equipment makes hiking more comfortable. Your set of gear will take form in the long run. Someone carries only the most necessary things, someone else something more comfortable, the third one has tighter budget than the fourt one and so on. Your mileage may vary.

My gear list page contains my gear list. I use this list as a checklist to be sure I do not leave anything important at home.

Navigating page contains some navigation advice and GPS usage page contais some advice on using GPS satellite navigator when hiking. GPS is of great help, but you need to be able to use it, and you need to do your home work, otherwise it is of no use in the wilderness.

Hiking links page has some links to other hiking related sites (some of them in Finnish only), and links to gear manufacturer's sites, net shops and that like.

You can find some hiking stories in the hiking stories part of this site, but unfortunately only in Finnish for now. The images may be worth looking at though.

Copyright © Jussi Ristilä 2004 - 2006. Last update 23-Jan-2006.