If you are equipped with a vagabond soul you know the feeling. At least once a year you need to pack your rucksack and go. Go where? Well, basically it does not matter. More important is that you just go. It is good for your soul to disconnect from your desk for a while and take a small adventure.
So, if you are a true vagabond you hear the call of the road. You go for a road trip. For me the formula of a decent road trip is build from two parameters. Hunting and Lapland. You can add also some forests and fells to this, but I think they come together with first two. If you go hunting you go either to the forest or to the fells, small Lapland mountains.
I enjoy very much old spruce forests. The capercaillie lives there, and the light is very unique there. Green shadows, soft moss in the ground…Unfortunately Finnish forestry has cut most of this kind of spruce forests down and replanted them with pine. You know, that is where the cellulose is made.
Still, I found some very nice forest somewhere in the middle of Finland. I enjoyed about a long lunch break there and tested my new Samyang 14 mm wide angle lens. That fits well to my Sony A7 because I got a one with Sony E-mount. Ultra wide lens and full frame camera is a nice combination!
After last years road trip I prefer fells over everything. The beautiful brutality of the most Northern Lapland, the tip of Finland is just so magical. For me the the True Lapland starts about 300 kilometers above Arctic Circle. There are the biggest fells, there is the border of tree line.
First of my fell stops was this year at Luosto, in Sodankylä. This area is in the border of old forests and fells so that is the place. My first visit ever at Luosto was great. I fell in love in this fell also. At Luosto the speciality seems to be the rocky mountains. There are lot of hills covered with the signs of Ice Age and there were some great mornings where the top of the fells were covered with clouds. Grey rocks in the grey clouds at the grey morning got some contrast from the colors or Ruska.
Next milestone in my road trip was a leap to the true classic of Lapland. Saariselkä wilderness area is a legendary hiking spot. I have been hiking earlier here but this time I just took a sunny evening walk at Kiilopää. A great one after a grey morning. I stayed couple of days at Saariselkä region.
Nowadays there are also lot of more so called Lapland exotics for tourists, like the spa and lot of restaurants. Yes, does not sound like a wilderness anymore but there are still plenty of solitary places there. This is actually the place where Santa Claus really lives because the Korvatunturi, home of Santa is here at the Russian border.
Because I had some photography to be made I visited in one of the Must Places to visit. At the fell Kaunispää there is a nice old restaurant on the summit. Restaurant Huippu is the northernmost Finnish restaurant having the Rotisseurs shield. There you have straight view in to the middle of wilderness area. If you look to the east, towards Russia you can basically see the center of the wilderness area.
While I was waiting for the sunset I took about a thousand pictures from all possible angles, with all the lenses I had with me. I did not concentrate only for the nature. They were building a new street to the Kaunispää. I wonder why the old one was not enough because it is one of the most beautiful roads in Finland, especially at sunny evenings.
It was time to take the final step to the actual turning point of this road trip. Inari is a large area and I was going to visit over the tree line. Pine forests do not grow over the Kaamanen village, north from Kaamanen there grows only small birch. There are also some great spots for snow grouse hunting. There is my Dreamland. A week in heaven suits for everyone or do you disagree?
In Scotland there are lot of moors, in Finland the counterpart is here. At these scrubby birch thickets there are our moorlands. At the end of September weather varies because of the Arctic Sea is so close, but these magical moorlands maintain their temptation. The Place for a pointing dog hunting.
The grouse population is varying a lot and this year has been a hard one for them. The midsummer was so cold that in many places all the nesting failed. We saw mostly adult grouses, so we kept our trigger fingers well controlled. It is not wise to shoot down the ones who are needed to make next years population. We had still some great situations with my young dog and that is always delightful.
There was still lot of other reasons for great outdoor experiences. The life in Lapland is so different that just visiting in the villages, and also outside them takes the tourist to interesting attractions. For a cameraman there is lot of targets. For example a boat at 300 meters over sea level, over a mile away from closest waters.
Because this road trip was also the annual meeting of our own special society, The Friends of Pine Grosbeak (Taviokuurnan Ystävät ry), we had also our traditions to be maintained. That covers for example some light painting tryouts. The Friends of Pine Grosbeak is also A Fellowship of Weird Light Paintings. At least we tried, and we had a lot of fun.
After a great week Out There the trip took me back to the Summit of Kaunispää. Their crowberry cakes are just so mouthwatering that it is impossible to skip them. I left a big part of my soul again up there.
Photos and videos have been recorded with Sony A7. I must say I found it very very handy pro-level travel camera. As a mirrorless full frame camera it is small but powerful. When more quality lenses get available I will enjoy even more.