Hiking in Senja – understanding the beauty and power of nature. July 2020 (Eng)

Hiking in rain and fog is not for everyone

When following social media feeds with hastag Senja it´s all about incredible views, blue sky and sunshine. But there is another kind of Senja to experience as well. Senja is like a charismatic and surprising person who wants to keep her audience excited and interested.

I attended a hiking trip of one week in July in Senja, Norway with a group of 11 persons all together. I am happy I got to know Senja’s diverse beauty and the power of nature.

We had five hiking days in northern part of Senja peaking the following fells: Husfjellet, Flobjörn, Skinnkollen, Barden and Förste Svanfjellet. At the end of the blog post you’ll find a video summary of our hiking destinations. You also find some  practical tips about how to reach Senja and tips for responsible travel.

It was not only about hiking but also about spending time together, laughing, swimming and having nice conversations.  Some of us had a morning swim in Northern Atlantic and we did have an afternoon swim couple of times on the beach you can see in the picture above.

Husfjellet is said to be possibly Senja´s most rewarding hike: moderate, with a gradual uphill climb and stunning views. We didn´t see the views -this time – because of the rain and fog.

When I met the group for the first time I was asked to tell my expectations for the week. It was easy to answer;  I was happy to break away from everyday life and have an active week outdoors – no matter the weather – even though I also told I had repeated a ”sun mantra” and was confident that sun would appear despite of the weather forecast.

”Ut på tur, aldri sur” as they say in Norway: Out for hiking, never in bad mood – or could be translated also as ”Enjoying the outdoor activities – no matter the weather”.  On the peak of Flobjorn the views were foggy but there were some moments of clear sky as well.

The first and third day were quite rainy and foggy – but we had couple of beautiful days as well. Honestly, it´s not all about sun and blue sky while hiking, but also about so many other aspects to experience. For me hiking is one of the best ways to get connected with nature, calm down and get a kind of peace of mind. I tend to be social and talkative person but there are two situations when I  prefer to be in silence: while walking in nature and when taking the sauna. Hiking in group, the discussion, however didn´t disturb at all.

Last day´s hike ended up on the peak of Förste Svanfjellet which is also known because of the plane crash in 1966. Some pieces of the plane can still be found on the peak.

The attitude and vibes in our group were very good; maybe the bad weather even made the group become more closely. Roope, our tourleader and host made good plans considering the weather. We didn´t hike so many kilometres per day (7-11km)  neither the peaks of the fells were very high, but  the balance of hiking and doing other things were very well planned for our group.

Solo travelers, new luxury and glamping

The phenomena of new luxury and solo travelling fascinates me in context of Tourism industry. As I have been specializing in my professional career in sustainability and responsible tourism I am not very much interested in luxury as we used to understand it in traditional way. According to international studies, solo travelers, new luxury ( glamping as part of it)  and responsibility are growing trends (eg. Tourism trends 2020 by Forbes).
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The fourth day´s hike in Barden was beautiful and the route very varied.

As a pragmatic person I tend to combine theory and practice and now wanted to have an authentic experience of new luxury and glamping in nature based outdoor services while travelling alone. You might now ask what makes a hiking trip in rainy weather and by public transport  luxurious.
I would describe new luxury in concept of hiking as following:  You take the best out of the experience as getting exhausted of full day activities outdoors and someone else ”do the hard work” like planning the routes, making the meals and taking care of the comfortable accommodation. This means that all is planned and organized by professionals and you pay for the service. You can read more about new luxury in general here: New luxury

We were staying in a house in village of Skaland. We had separate alcoves with curtains to sleep, shared toilets and showers as well as dining and living room. Sonja and Lone together with Roope were part of the professional team to take care of our hiking tours and meals.

Glamping is where stunning nature meets modern luxury. Experiential travel is an authentic way to connect with nature. Some call it luxury camping.  Some call it glamorous camping.”  One can  stay the night over in tentsiles ( a kind of mix of hammocks and tents ), in stylish tents, treehouses or in modest but innovative cottages. In our hiking trip we had a cosy house with magnificent views where we had comfortable beds to rest.
Ryhmä vaeltajia yhteiskuvassa Senjan vaellusviikon päättyessä.

Tack för turen Roope/ Moln outdoors. Thanks for very good company Petteri, Milla, Sonja, Lone, Fredrica, Reino, Krisse, Niina and Satu! It was a pleasure to get to know you!

There are more and more solo travelers all around the world willing to combine the sense of freedom to the possibility to share some experiences with like-minded persons sharing the same values. Outdoor activities are good example of gathering travelers with same interests together without to be forced to spend all the time together.

While having a lunch together in very challenging situation you will possibly remember it for the rest of your life 🙂 There are five persons having a lunch under the yellow protective fabric!

There are plenty of possibilities to improve the services for solo travelers starting from the restaurants: how about offering the option to be seated in a shared table to have a breakfast and other meals. It would help solo travelers to get connected with others.  In Mood of Finland Company we have an interest to develop concepts for solo travelers with an international twist as soon the borders are opening again. Stay tuned!

Some tips for Responsible Travel

You will find plenty of general information about responsible travel in my blog, starting from here: How to be responsible Tourist followed by several articles of hiking trips in Finland and in Spain.

All the dimensions (ecological, economical, social, cultural, ethical)  should be taken into account while travelling.

As I have got feedback that the prices and time spend while travelling by public transport are interesting points to know as well,  I will now publish them here.

My travelling schedule, routes, time spent and prices were the following:

19.07.2020 outward journey
Train Hyvinkää – Tampere – Oulu – Rovaniemi: 8,5hrs | 75€  (daytime)
One night stay in Rovaniemi Hostel Koti Café 73€
Bus Rovaniemi – Nordkjosbotn by Eskelisen linja: 7h 45min | 92.70€ ( 11.40 – 18.25)
Lift to Skaland by Reino 🙂
26.07. || 28.07.2020 return journey
Lift from Skaland to Kilpisjärvi by Niina 🙂
I stayed two nights in Kilpisjärvi Retkeilykeskus 214€
Bus Kilpisjärvi – Rovaniemi by Eskelisen linja: 6.5hrs | 75,90€  (11.00 – 17.25)
Train Rovaniemi – Riihimäki – Hyvinkää: 10hrs 40min | 158€ night shift, sleeping cabin

The price for transport was all together 480€  (+ accommodation, food and beverage).

The most challenging part in this journey by public transport was the distance from Nordkjosbotn to Senja as the timetables from one bus to another were not well synchronized. I was lucky to have a lift by the other group members and shared the cost of gasoline.

I took a night shift to travel back home from Rovaniemi – Hyvinkää and had a sleeping cabin with private toilet. I didn’t even consider booking a shared cabin in this special time of Covid-19.

 

Counting the emissions was a bit complicated but to get an idea, the emissions by plane Helsinki – Tromso – Helsinki would be about 240kge and train & bus Helsinki- Rovaniemi – Tromso – Rovaniemi – Helsinki would be about 74kge. The average annual emissions of a Finn are about 10,000 kge (shouldn´t be more than 3000kge by 2035)

 

Other responsible observations during this trip were such as respecting the nature by following the marked routes, not disturbing the animals, not collecting flowers neither leaving footprints in nature (eg. assembling stones). You can read more about ecological responsibility in blog post with shared ideas of my friend and colleague Javier Pedrosa:
Don´t leave footprints…

Economic and social responsibility

This trip was organized by MOLN  – a Finnish agency specialized in outdoor activities mostly in Northern countries. As we all have been reading news about the difficulties small companies have been facing this year because of Covid-19 crisis, buying services from enterprises instead of travelling without spending money is a good way to support. Hopefully travelers will buy services and spend money from here on  – also while travelling at home.

Lone, one of the team members of Moln, is half Norwegian and shared beautiful stories about Norwegian way of life.

Local community should always get benefit from tourists visiting the area. In this case I trust Moln company co-operates with the local enterprises and respects the locals in all decisions. When travelling by my own I do have more contacts with locals than in this journey but all the trips don´t need to be the same.

The main aim is to do more good and less harm while travelling. With responsible choices we all can influence.

 

Hiking tour in pictures

I hereby invite you to follow our hiking week in Senja. Hope you enjoy the video and got interested in to discover the beauty of Senja in northern part of Norway.

I continued my hiking trip in Finland

After crossing the Finnish border in Kilpisjärvi I still had couple of lovely hiking days in Saana fell and in the border of Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Thank you for following my blog!

Hope you enjoyed this article. I am happy to get any comments or feedback. In the picture below you get some tips about the suitable outfit for this kind of hiking trip.

With kind regards,
Anu