Saying those plans out loud, or in this case, making them public in the magical world of the internet, means I must make them happen. At least there is a bit more pressure to really make them happen.
So here we go. This is my ultimate bucket list of summer plans for 2017.
1. Seal spotting in Eastern Finland
May already counts as summer, right? That’s what I thought! The dates for my very first summer plan have already been set.
In the end of May, I’ll be heading for Savonlinna and Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland. I will meet up with a fellow Finnish travel blogger Heidi with whom we’ll be spotting (or hoping to spot) extremely endangered Saimaa ringed seals by kayaks. A trip called Easy Seal Paddling will be carried out in co-operation with Oravi Village.
May is the best time for spotting the rare Saimaa ringed seals, as it’s their moulting season, and the seals are often lounging and enjoying the spring sun on the rocks. It’s also the perfect excuse to organise the long-awaited date with Heidi, who I’ve only met once this far. Besides travel bloggers, we’re both so-called nature freaks, so we make a perfect match.
Living in Savonlinna by the lake Saimaa, Heidi already is an experienced seal-spotter. For my part, I’m an experienced kayaker, which Heidi isn’t, so we both have something to give to and learn from each other. A perfect match.
Heidi spotted this little cutie on a seal safari last year. Heidi writes her blog in Finnish, but if you’re dying to see more seal photos, check out this blog post.
2. Giving Stand Up Paddle a try
Heidi is also an experienced Stand Up Paddler, and we’ve agreed she’d give me a SUP beginners lesson. However, in May the water might be still a bit too cold for this activity, so we might have to leave it for later. Let’s see…
I can’t quite understand how I haven’t yet tried Stand Up Paddling, not even once. This summer, this activity will be possible also in my hometown Rauma, so there are no good excuses anymore. This is the year! I could so easily imagine myself being one of the two paddlers in the photo below. This picture, too, is taken by Heidi.
3. A night in a hammock
A fellow travel blogger is the one to blame also for this summer dream. Terhi, the writer of the Finnish blog ‘Endorphin Hunter’, is incapable of talking about anything else but sleeping in a hammock. After spending one November weekend with her on an arctic sail, I was already ready for trying this out.
It’s very likely that my first hammock night will be organised as a gathering of two crazy nature-loving travel blogger Finns. We just need to set the date and go. Terhi took this photo when she was spending her first night in a hammock last summer:
4. At least one overnight biking trip
I’ve been playing with a thought about biking the Archipelago Trail for quite a while already. This far, I’ve only done a few night biking trip once. The destination was Åland, and it’s been nearly 7 years since it happened. I’m almost ashamed!
In 2010, I took the trip with a friend of mine, who is pretty much as crazy and disorganised as I am. I guess it goes without saying that the trip was full of funny mishaps, but unfortunately, I haven’t written about it on this blog. The mishaps are still clearly in my mind, but I have no photographs from this adventure. Such a shame.
Anyway, this summer plan got a confirmation stamp last weekend. I stopped by in a local bike store, just to ask how much it would cost to replace the tyres to my loyal 15-year-old mountain bike. For some strange reason, I walked out of the shop with a brand new bicycle.
These were definitely the most expensive tyres I’ve ever bought in my life. At least they came with a bike. What can I say? I’d better bike hard this summer, for the full amount paid!
5. At least one overnight kayaking trip
If you have visited my blog before, you probably already know that kayaking is one of my dearest summer hobbies. The highlight of my June last year was a kayaking trip to the lighthouse island of Kylmäpihlaja where I spent five unforgettable days, far away from everything – literally.
Perhaps this summer I’ll combine kayaking and hammock camping. At least it sounds like a perfect way of spending summer days (and nights).
6. A trip to Hell
Finland’s centenary is the perfect year to expand my own knowledge on Finnish national parks. There is one specific national park that I’ve been longing to explore for a long time, but haven’t got into it yet. The park is called Helvetinjärvi National Park, literally translated as ‘Hell’s Lake National Park’.
When you enter the edge of the national park, you’ll walk through a gate made of upside down growing trees with a sign welcoming you ‘To The Hell’. You can’t really miss that, can you? This year, yurts will be built at the Hell’s Gate (Helvetin Portti) outdoor restaurant, located right at the gate of the national park. I’d love to experience that, and I can already see a post title bright in my eyes: A night in Hell!
7. More local travelling
As you can probably notice from my list of summer plans, the summer season is always dedicated to Finland. Summer in Finland is short, so it’s best to enjoy it when we can. There’s plenty of time to travel abroad during the rest of the year. Luckily, travelling doesn’t have to mean stepping too far away from your doorstep.
During the spring, I’ll start a series of articles introducing interesting nature trails and destinations in Rauma area. I already have quite a lot of material for the post series, but there are still many exciting places that I haven’t yet been to. The main reason of the series is to help travellers to find the hidden gems of Rauma area. They aren’t always so easy to find, not even for the locals.
The other main purpose is to force myself to go and explore the gems I haven’t yet been to. Even if I love outdoors, sometimes I need a little push. This series will be my push.
The fortress island of Kuuskajaskari is one of the most interesting attractions in Rauma. It’ll be introduced later this spring in the upcoming post series.
8. Implementing ‘The Great Camp Food Test’
The previously mentioned summer plans support perfectly my new hobby-to-be – finding the best options for camp food that is light in weight, rich with energy, easy to prepare, delicious to eat and suit for a problematic tummy like mine. There’s a challenge, eh?
If you have any great suggestions or tips for what to try, I’m all ears (or eyes, as you’d hopefully write your tips on the comments). I’ll then share the results of my great camp food test, once I have something to report.
9. Hiking Kungsleden from Abisko to Kebnekaise
So that I wouldn’t spend the whole summer in Finland…
Out of all awesome summer plans that I can’t wait to happen, the king will be the Swedish ‘King’s Way’ a.k.a. Kungsleden hiking trail. All the previous tasks on this list will also prepare me physically and mentally to this week-long hiking challenge. Somewhere around the end of August and start of September, I’m planning to pack my backpack and head over to Swedish Lapland, again. The first part of the 425 km long Kungsleden, from Abisko to Kebnekaise, is a bit less than 100 km and will be the perfect way to finish the outdoor-rich summer.
Daniel has promised to take the hike with me, but let’s see if he’ll actually do it.
10. Enjoy the summer!
If all my summer plans become true, also number 10 will is guaranteed to fulfil. During the past day, I’ve already been challenged to move into a forest for the whole summer, participate on a sailing trip and God knows what else.
So all we need anymore is the sun, warm summer and a way to get electricity out of the trees to get laptop charged for work when living in the forest!
Have you made any summer plans yet? Share your summer bucket list in the comments!
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