Olhava, Repovesi National Park

Olhava, Repovesi National Park

Autumn

I have now hiked in Repovesi National Park in autumn and winter with both trips being equally interesting in their different ways. One of the places I visited during both trips was Olhava, a huge rock cliff that is a popular spot for climbing, but also a great place for photographs.

During the autumn I was restricted to the lakeside but in the winter with the lake frozen I was able to move freely and take photos from any angle, I was also able to walk right up to and along the cliff.

What’s your favourite view?

Olhava, Repovesi National Park

Winter

In response to the photo challenge A Good Match

Further reading:

Don’t forget to read about my latest visit to Repovesi National Park in Winter, as well as my other posts from my nature trips in Finland:

Repovesi National Park in Autumn

Three Nations Border Point

5 Things to do in Finnish Lapland in Summer

Repovesi National Park in Winter

Among my many aims during the winter months was to spend a night camping. I had been camping many times but in the U.K temperatures generally stay above zero and the chances of snow is almost none. To winter camp in Finland would be an interesting experience and, more importantly, a test of what I could endure.

With a few friends we drove out to Repovesi National Park with the aim to spend a night in the Finnish nature. Luckily, the temperature was a pleasant -8°c., not too cold but cold enough.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

Repovesi National Park in Winter

While walking it was easy to stay warm, normally stripping back to only the necessary layers but once we stopped it became important to put those layers back on.  My difficulty has always been my toes, no matter what I do when I stop they are the first body part to get cold and the hardest to keep warm.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

Hiking during winter had one great difference, there were short cuts everywhere, when ever we needed we could just cut across the frozen lakes rather than keeping to the trails, making the national park very accessible. There wasn’t much snow cover so walking without the assistance of snow shoes was comfortable.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

Our aim for the day was the rock formation Olhava and we arrived a little before sunset, though there would be little chance of seeing one. The clouds broke for a moment when we arrived but more rolled in as we made the climb to the top.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

After spending some time on Olhava, we decided to camp in the area and use the fireplace by the lake to cook our dinner and supply some much needed warmth.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

After dinner we headed back to Olhava across the frozen lake to take a few night time shots, using our headlamps to create different light effects on the iconic cliff face.

Sleeping was the time I was dreading the most, it was easy to stay warm while walking but during the night that might become more difficult, especially if the temperatures dropped. I layered up, almost wearing more clothes now than I had been wearing during the day. I was determined to sleep well.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

The next morning we broke camp and hit the trail without breakfast, aiming to be back at the car park before lunch and indulge in a pizza on the drive back to Helsinki. It wasn’t as cold as yesterday but by the time all our gear was away we needed to start moving to warm up again.

Compared to the others I had similar experience but I didn’t have the gear. I had to pack more to make sure I was prepared, extra clothes. two spring sleeping bags combined with a liner,  and two sleeping mats. Everything was used to ensure I ‘survived’ the night.
Repovesi National Park in Winter

A short route was planned with some backtracking involved. We wanted to take in the view from the viewing tower, a place I had also visited during the Autumn. Repovesi National Park is full of excellent viewing spots and we had managed to visited a few of the best during this short trip.

After the viewing tower we cut our way back across lakes to find the shortest and most enjoyable route, making any detours that we desired until we found out way back to Lapinsalmi Bridge. This time we crossed the lake underneath it rather than crossing it as we had done the day before.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

If you have enjoyed this then my other experiences in the Finnish nature may be of interest to you.

Further Reading:

Repovesi National Park in Autumn

Three Nations Border Point

5 Things to do in Finnish Lapland in Summer

Repovesi National Park in Autumn

I found myself in Repovesi National Park for the second time this year. My previous visit I walked the enjoyable but short fox trail during summer, this time I set my sights a little higher and planned to spend two nights in the National Park.

Repovesi in Autumn

Along with a friend we arrived in the park late, it was already dark when we parked and saddled up. The walk through the woods was a little challenging as we had to keep an eye on the path and there was little to navigate by even with the light from our headlamps.

The idea was to walk to the first camping spot and settle in for the night but when we walked in it was already packed with a group of lively teenagers. A decision was quickly made and we pressed on for the next camp site an hour away.

Repovesi in Autumn

We found a secluded spot in an already full camp site and made dinner, by this time it was already very late and we headed to the tent as soon as we had finished our dinner. I was already cold standing around outside and prepared for a cold night with plenty of layers.

We woke early the next morning to make the most of our only full day, where we planned to walk a majority of our planned route. I emerged from the tent and was finally able to see the scenery around us. A lake stretched out in front and I hoped that a moose would swim across it or appear from the woods that lined its banks, but I had no such luck.

Repovesi in Autumn

The variety of scenery was excellent, we went from walking in the beautiful autumnal forests to high up on rocky hills with views over lakes and trees with little sign of life except for a handful of scattered houses.

Repovesi in Autumn

Evidence of the last ice age is dotted throughout Repovesi National Park you just need to keep a lookout for the signs. Below is the corner of a large boulder that has been left by the movement of ice balancing on the smaller rocks underneath.

Repovesi in Autumn

Even though it was early we decided to stop for lunch in a quiet corner of Olhava. The view over the surroundings was one of best I have seen in Finland. We carefully approached the edge and lent over to look down to the surface of the water meters below, the only thing to block our view was a lone climber. Olhava is a very popular area for hikers and one of the best cliffs in Finland for climbing, during our lunch break a few climbers would hitch up and make their descent.

Repovesi in Autumn

Repovesi in Autumn

An hour or so later we had skirted the lake and were viewing Olhava from below. Finding a small fireplace area, which was also a base camp for the weekend climbers, below the cliff face we enjoyed a sausage cooked over the open fire and caused quite a stir when we cracked open a beer we had been saving for the right moment.

Repovesi in AutumnThe park is full of amenities, campsites, toilets, fireplaces and even water pumps can be found every few kilometers, making hiking a much more luxurious affair.

There are a few spots in the National Park where you can enjoy the view. We had already visited Olhava and after our sausage break the next was a tall bird watching tower on top of another smaller hill.

Repovesi in AutumnNext, we aimed to finished our day watching the sunset from Katajavuori and after enjoying another spectacular view we continued on.
Repovesi in Autumn

Arriving at the top of Katajavuori just in time to watch as the sunset, we sat in peaceful silence as other groups came and went. After the sun went down the clouds begun to roll in and we made our preparations for the night.

Darkness quickly came and the light from our tent was the only one visible until the small town miles away on the horizon.

Repovesi in Autumn

Even though we emerged to beautiful views over the forests and lakes below in the morning there was little chance of seeing any signs of a sunrise as the morning sky was heavily overcast. We broke camp and after a quick breakfast made our way down the many stairs towards Lapinsalmi.

Repovesi in Autumn

We entered Repovesi via the ferry late at night and now we would cross the same body of water via Lapinsalmi bridge in the early hours of the morning. We hadn’t camped that far from the car park and it wasn’t long before we tossed our rucksacks in the back of the car and headed for home.

Repovesi in Autumn

Further Reading:

More from Repovesi read my post Repovesi National Park

If you enjoy Finnish nature and scenery take a look at my photographs from Lapland