Do you feel like a hike in the fells with your kids or friends sounds too risky?
I don’t blame you. Not with bloggers telling you to buy the most expensive gear and saying you won’t survive without them. Mostly they’ve gotten theirs for free and you’d have to spend your whole month’s salary on yours. And then you hear about even more expensive stuff. I mean, I don’t tell you to buy the cheapest gear but I believe you can have a good and safe time outdoors with a windproof suit and good footwear.
And how about those Every man’s rights and national park rules? Compass seems like an easy apparatus but how about them markings on maps?
The length and duration of a hike is also under fire and how you’re not man/woman at all if you don’t spend a week in the wild.
What if you’re unsure if you have what it takes to spend a night outdoors?
Especially with no outdoor background. And above all: you’d like to enjoy the view without having to learn survival skills and committing to spending every vacation in similar conditions from here on out. This could be a one-time-thing and maybe next time you’d like to go on the beach or horseback riding.*
What do you do? Do you just forget about it?
What if take it easy and take a guide along with you?
My former co-worker Tuija jokingly suggested that I create a product out of this, called #twittervaellus (#twitterhike) after people started responding to her tweet about our little adventure.
Technically we already had one, since I gave her some tips and tricks and loaned her one of my tents for a small hike in the Pallas fells where I happen to intern at the moment.
Do you have to know a hiker guy to gain access to the hobby? Is there no easier way?
There could be. What if you could ask all the burning hiking questions beforehand from a wilderness guide who could either give you helpful tips or accompany you or maybe both? They could help you choose the best gear and route and assist you with navigation. They could loan you gear for a small fee (which would indeed be small since you could split it with the entire party). And you can rent gear as well!
Congratulations! Something like this does exist or at least it should**. And here you are, reading about the beta test!
I’m claiming this #twitterhike as my own. If you have any questions about hiking and/or camping or about nature destinations, I’m your gal! Unless I’m on a hike myself – then you’ll have to wait a bit before I get a chance to answer. We could have a joint hike for everyone who shares this message and we’ll arrange THE Twitter hike.
I wonder if I could do another test while I’m up here in the North. I have the weekends off and my internship has flexible hours so I could manage week days as well.
So in short, I could take you and your crew on an night out in the fells this July!
Hit me up via mail in firstname.lastname@example.org should you feel interested and book me, a wilderness guide to-be as your tour guide in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park!
If you don’t own proper gear, book a reservation hut to make sure you get four walls and a roof over your head. But I do insist you bring your own rain clothes.
And since I’m not a wilderness guide yet, there’s no charge. The only thing I ask is feedback. I want to be a better guide and I’d like to fine tune this new-found concept. But I’m not acting as an entrepreneur but rather as a student.
I’d also like you, dear reader, to throw in your two cents in the comments of this article. What would you be willing to pay for a guided hike for example, in Pallas-Ylläs National Park? If you’re already a graduated wilderness guide enforcing this concept, post your details down in the comment section so people can contact you!
If this potential hike takes place in late July, I could also ask for someone to evaluate my performance!
So be in touch!
And how did we fare on our beta test?
Beta test: mini hike with kids
I was kind of nervous on our way to breakfast at Hotel Pallas, I’ll be honest. A hike for six people, two of which are minors who like light hikes and nice landscapes.
Planning for this wasn’t priority number one for our guests since they’d had a pretty rocky road. So I threw my suggestion on the table and they approved. I would’ve had a few plan B’s and C’s but this one was definitely suggestion A.
We drove from Hotel Pallas to Vuontisjärvi Lake. On the parking lot we picked our rucksacks up and started our journey, uphill of course.
Before Montel Hut we saw forests, mires and partially snowy mountainsides. As soon as the hut peeked over the horizon, the kids practically ran to it and threw their burdens on the ground.
We had lunch inside while discussing the differences between wilderness huts and reservation huts. We also covered hut etiquette, washing dishes in the wild and went through good choices for outdoor meals.
With food in our bellies, the unpleasantness of carrying a rucksack dissipated. We checked the map to see our destination Nammalakuru was only a kilometer away. The map wasn’t really necessary but I wanted them to learn a bit about navigation.
The view was new to us as well, since the last time we approached the Montel hut or Nammalakuru, there was a snow storm. Both reside in epic landscapes and are achievable with ease.
Right after we arrived in Nammalakuru, we pitched out tents and talked about tunnel tents and dome tents and even went for another hike, this time without baggage, to Lumikero.
I promised the youngest of our party that we could turn right back should they start to feel too tired to go on and Heikki would take the grownups atop Lumikero.
Without rucksacks, we proceeded with ease all the way atop Vuontiskero where I delivered on my promise and headed back with our young padawan.
Upon arrival, we started doing the dishes and made a fire. Afterwards we went inside the wilderness hut to talk to the residents there and I, as volunteers do, tidied up a bit. I also wanted to set a good example.
As evening rolled in, we all sat down by the fire and couldn’t stop talking about the breath-taking views. We roasted croissants and made dinner on our outdoor stoves.
It started raining after 9 PM but we were already in our tents. The rain gently rattled against the roof of our accommodation and before we knew it, Heikki and I were sound asleep. Our guests weren’t so lucky, not with the kids playing with the tent zippers, reindeer running around the area and a touch of chill bothering. Getting cold is pretty common on the first time outdoors with summer gear. It’s the North, after all.
Heikki and I had breakfast next to our tent and upon checking how our test crew had fared, we noticed they’d already found their way in the wilderness hut for their morning coffees. We taught them how to use the communal gas stove and after finishing our meals, we started packing up.
The loan tent was wet, obviously but we had good drying options back at our HQ, so it didn’t matter.
On their drive back home they sent us gratuitous messages about how much fun they had and how Heikki took amazing photos!
So I had no reason to be nervous, basically. That is if we don’t count the poor quality rucksack the young one had to carry. But all’s well that ends well!
This beta test crew needed a nudge to the right direction here and there but nothing too profound or cumbersome. Needless to say, I loved every second of it!
*I mean, one time can change your mind about the whole thing and you might end up wanting to go exclusively to fells. So a word of warning!
**I haven’t googled the selection my competition has to offer so you should! I’m sure there’s a fleshed-out product out there already with lots of people productizing regular hikes. Not like they can own hiking, though – wilderness and survival skills have been around since the dawn of time. But fellow wilderness guides, should you know of such a product, leave a link down below!