5 days in Oulanka National Park

This past week (February 23 - February 28) my Winter Ecology and Physiology class stayed the the research station in Oulanka National Park! This is the same place I went (and wrote about in this post) last semester. 

It’s in the Northeastern part of Finland, near to the Russian border, and is one of the snowiest places in the country. It was absolutely unbelievably beautiful during our stay there. We spent each day cross-country skiing (we fell SO MUCH) and doing field work like drive counts, bird censuses, counting animal tracks in the snow, measuring snow quality and effects of snow on ice and trees, etc. and each evening we had sauna and ice-hole swimming! 

The entire trip was definitely one of the coolest (haha, puns) things I have ever done in my entire life. One of the best parts was on Wednesday we did a day trip to Riisitunuri and skiied up to the top to compare snow quality from the bottom and the top and near the top we stopped at a cabin to make makkara over the fire and drink hot coffee/tea. The scenery there was stunning. Photos of that up soon!

Oulanka National Park

So my “Humans and the Environment” class went to a research station owned by our university which is located in Oulanka National Park in the Northeastern part of Finland. We left early on Friday and came back late on Sunday. It was such a great trip! The sights were beautiful (we went on two separate hikes) and the company was fabulous. Each evening we got some time to just hang out in a big common room where we were staying. 


After we arrived, we saw a presentation on the research station and toured some of the labs. Then, after dinner, we just had some time to settle in and to go to the sauna! A group of friends and I spent time after the sauna playing loud obnoxious card games in the common room and it was a blast.


We saw some presentations and then after lunch and a presentation on the forest, we went for a short hike which started just down the road. We walked through a lot of wetland areas and around a small lake before getting to an area where there was a huge river running through earthquake fissures from long ago. After the hike we came back to watch some presentations of the Northern Lights and how they are produced.


We started the day by driving 45 minutes to go on a hike out to Oulangan Kanjoni, which was beautiful! We then drove over to the Russian border (technically the border to no-man’s land, but still.). Then we went back to the station for lunch and to pack up before leaving. On the way back we stopped to see Ruka ski area, which was strange to see pre-season with no snow! 

The picture is me and my friend Valentin at some extreme rapids at the end of the hike.

I’ll put up some more pictures from the hikes soon!