Midsummer hiking in Norway

September 16, 2018

Midsummer is a big thing where I live. Most people leave the towns and head to the countryside and summer cabins with friends and family. If you live in one of those destinations all year around, like we do, your best options are to stay at home.  Or go on a midsummer hiking.

It was midsummer’s eve, the day before the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Here it doesn’t really mean anything, the sun doesn’t go below the horizon for two months. It’s all daylight for us from mid-May to mid-July. It was midsummer’s eve. People were getting ready for their bbqs and saunas, when I got the idea – I’d go midsummer hiking.

I packed the tent with all sleeping gear. Didn’t find a map (turns our, husband had it with them on their hike with the customers) but put the compass in my pocket. It was familiar terrains, I wouldn’t need a map anyway. After a quick dinner, a friend dropped me off to the boat. My midsummer hiking adventure was about to being.

Kilpisjärvi is located just at the border of Sweden, Norway and Finland. In summer time, you can take a boat across the lake for a short day trip to the three country border cairn. It’s said to be the most peaceful border in the world, no wars have ever been fought over it. Some other wars were fought in the region, but that is another story, I’ll get to that some day.

It was the last boat of the day.  Once we got to the other side, I let the other people go ahead. I wanted to walk slowly and in silence, enjoying being back at my beloved fells, which I had missed all winter. Only one other person from the boat stopped to read the nature reserve’s welcome info boards. I took my time to read the familiar texts, studied the maps to make sure I still remembered the route right, and set on my way.

It was a chilly evening, typical at this time of the year. It had been raining and the birch trees smelled fresh and what I would describe as “green”.  You know it, the smell of forest after a rain.

I walked the first three kilometres and arrived to the three country border cairn. I’ve been here countless of times, but only in winter. It was nice to see the familiar place in it’s summer mode, open water water around it. I had never realized how shallow the lake was. In wintertime it looks like a large lake and you can imagine it being rather deep. But no, it was barely a metre deep. I couldn’t resist running around the border cairn, three countries in a matter of a few seconds.

After the little photo shoot and crossing the border, I continued my journey in Norway. The only tell-tale of the border crossing were the route markings. The wooden signs on the Finnish side were replaced by red dots on the rocks. It was just another three kilometres to go to my camping site, where I’d also meet my husband and his group. I kept my slow pace, taking note of the baby birds in their nest and the bright yellow marsh marigold blossoms along the streams. The mountains were hidden under the clouds, but to me the views were equally amazing.

The Troms Turlag outdoor club runs some superbly equipped wilderness cabins in the region.  We cooked a nice dinner with my husband’s group, and chatted a while with the couple who had arrived on the same boat with me. Although there was space in the cabin, I had carried my tent here for a reason, I had a strong desire to sleep outside.

I crawled into the sleeping bag and listened the rain to start. The rhythmic drizzle on the tent’s outer layer is surprisingly calming. I fell asleep quickly.



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