Crossing the Arctic Circle

Today we crossed the Artic Circle rather unspectacularly, but the next hike at Pyhä with its 2 billion year old mountains was truly fascinating.

Northern Finland – Reindeer area!
And here they are, often next to the road

No bump, no line on the ground, no warnings, …
Maybe I need this cap: “I’ve crossed Arctic Circle”

Our next destination was the Pyhä-Luosto-National Park, where we went on a hike starting at the Pyhä skiing area to round the mountain.

200-year-old pine tree forests grow on the hills
Our hike took us into the Isokuru Gorge

The park’s base is formed by Finland’s southernmost, 12-peak tunturi line. The tunturis are remnants of Alp-like mountains of 2 billion years of age.

The Pyhä-Luosto fells (barren hills or mountain ranges) are mostly made-up of quartzite, which in turn was formed from ancient coastal on-shore and underwater sand. This hard rock type has resisted wear, while the mountain ranges of other rock types have crumbled away. At some points ripples left behind by ocean waves are visible in the rock’s surface.

The wave patterns on the rock surface are characteristic of the qaurzite. They are remnants of former underwater dunes on the surface of which they formed at the time.

Lake Pyhänkasteenlampi

A stream flows into 12 m deep Lake Pyhänkasteenlampi and forms a 17 m high shower-like waterfall not really visible on the foto as there was not very much water coming down at this time of the year.

The names of this area tell of beginnings of Christianity and the old beliefs of the Forest Sámi: Pyhänkasteenlampi means Holy Baptism lake, Uhriharju = sacrifice ridge and Noitatunturi = witch fell. Deer and their antlers were sacrificed on Uhriharju Ridge in hope of a successful hunt. An old Sámi place of worship, a “seita”, was transferred into a Christian place of worship when a minister performed a group christening at Lake Pyhäkasteenlampi for the area’s Sámi in the summer of 1648.

At the moment the stairs from Isokuru gorge to Uhriharju ridge are closed, as they are being rebuilt. Therefore we couldn’t continue our cirlcular route and had to turn around. But we were happy with what we had seen in this wonderful gorge.

Parking for the Night
Autumn leave of the Day

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