Hetta-Pallas hike, part 1: From Hetta to Pyhäkero Wilderness Hut

A boat ride across Ounasjärvi Lake took us away from the mundane world.

Our chauffeur was a man who spoke a strange dialect that we’d grown accustomed to in our stay but something about it made us feel warm and fuzzy. It was their home and we were merely visiting.

We stood on the sandy beach in the warm sunlight, still thinking about home and sending text messages to our family members because the cellphone coverage was going to be scarce in the upcoming miles. After a few photos and checking the adjustments in our backpacks, we were almost ready to begin our journey.

I had read this story about a hut that used to be there on the beach and was well on my way of telling said story but I soon realized I was talking to myself, my companions seemed distracted by all the stuff around us. The hut bore the the name “Taukota” (which is a play on words with tauko and kota – break and hut), even though the official name was the Hut of Ounasjärvi Lake. It had burned to the ground in 2010 and all that remained was a a table and a few benches for people to sit on while they wait for their boat ride.

It was 5,6 kilometers from Ounasjärvi to Pyhäkero wilderness hut. The trail goes into the woods, in a slight incline. The scenery had plenty to offer but to be frank, we were too caught up in the Lapland mountains that were still to come. They kept peeking through the trees, though! But it was beautiful and as the sun warmed my face, I caught myself nearly skipping onward. I was finally here, in Lapland. We reached the hut in no time.

The reason we hold Pyhäkero wilderness hut so dear, is that we’ll be coming back in Autumn for volunteer work. Sure, we’ll be hiking all over the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park but this will be the main stage of our painting skills. So expect an in-detail look at the area later this year!

We roasted our first patch of sausages in a large open fireplace which by the way was a nice piece of masonry. The brand was the critically acclaimed Huiluntuhti, which we enjoyed in between pita breads. We met a group of hikers who were on their way to Hetta for a day trip – apparently they left their backpacks stashed in the very place we were planning to spend our first night, Sioskuru. We were pretty sure they were just going to restock their liquor supply at the local Alko. Just kidding!

Pyhäkero wilderness hut can accommodate five people. We, however, had plans to stay at the next one down the road. But since we had accidentally skipped lunch in Hetta, we stayed for a bit and a bite. The hut also had a gas burner for cooking and boiling, to decrease the use of logs – you shouldn’t start a fire for every liter of water you need to boil.

After refilling our respective water containers at the well, we took a quick look around at the perimeter. The area had a ski trail café (which was obviously closed), a fire pit, outhouses and a a few maintenance buildings. Hetta-Pallas hike has recycling options in all of the huts but it felt criminal to use them, to be honest. If you can carry the stuff in, you can carry them out.

A refreshing respite was all we needed to start ascending Pyhäkero and towards our next stop, Sioskuru wilderness hut. Stay tuned, more to come this Friday!

//Anne

 

 

We took on the Pallas-Hetta hike (from Hetta to Pallas) in early June 2016. We chose the Hetta-Sioskuru-Tappuri-Hannukuru-Nammalakuru-Pallas route. We’ll be presenting the hike in small portions of ten posts, of which this is the first. I’ll also be talking about the gear choices we made for this trip. If there’s anything you’d like to know about a specific destination or if a certain part engages your attention, please don’t hesitate to comment! We’re happy to tell you more. Everything concerning the hike can be found by using the identifier hetta-pallas hike.

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