By Réka Bencsik
In the beginning of September, when the temperature is dropping but it’s not yet too chilly, it’s a good time to go outside and enjoy the first days of autumn in the middle of Finland, in Kainuu. The variety of lakes and hills in the boreal uninhabited forest area creates an enjoyable environment for all sorts of activities and sports.
In recent years, trail running has become more and more popular, increasing the need for well-designed new routes that can challenge hikers and runners. The sparely-populated hilly landscape around Vuokatti, surrounded by beautiful lakes, provides a perfect place for such an activity. Not missing out on these opportunities given by the landscape, the route of the Vuokatti Trail Challenge has been set through the trails of Kainuu and North Karelia.
Vuokatti Trail Challenge consists of three routes: 23 km, 42 km and 100 km, which challenge individuals on different levels. The 100 km route starts at Hiidenportti National Park and guides the competitor through beautiful places such as the Talonpojan Taival -hiking trail, Murtovaara, Kuiruvaara, Helmejärvi and Maanselän Etappi. All three routes are surrounded by a wild forest area that can be very challenging. The competitors will face swampy, steep and rocky areas, small and narrow paths and, as the last challenge, high hills just before the finish. Vuokatti Trail Challenge has been approved as a qualifying race for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, proving the professionality of the competition.
Walking around in the wild forests in Kainuu provides the visitor with an opportunity to pick berries or see squirrels, deer, moose and other animals. The experience of seeing these animals in their natural habitat, without a cage, is truly incredible. Moreover, all the excitement of the natural environment can be enhanced by going on husky or bear safaris, both of which are common in the area.
The event centre of the competition, Vuokatti, can be reached easily by various means of transportation. The easiest and most comfortable way is to come to Kajaani by plane from Helsinki. For cheaper options, we recommend travelling by train or bus, which also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the landscape during the trip. Vuokatti can be reached easily by bus or taxi from the nearest city, Kajaani, which is serviced by all forms of transportation.
There are several types of accommodation available. For those who prefer to be in a comfortable hotel, Vuokatti provides a variety of options. However, for those who are looking for more excitement and want to experience the Finnish culture, rented cottages (mökki) in the middle of the forest, most likely next to a lake, could be the perfect choice.
Vuokatti Trail Challenge on 2 September 2017
Photos: Vuokatti Trail Challenge 2016 / Vaarojen Valokuvaajat