Hermit's path 10.6 km (Kaunisharju trail)

The legendary Salla hermit, even called the Snowman by some, lived around these parts. Who was this soul-seeking man? He came out of nowhere like the first snow in the wilderness, later disappearing like a bear's footprint on soft moss. He left behind stories, memories, mysteries.

The hermit walked only in his own footsteps.

The hermit was a free spirit, a true maverick. He only walked in his own footsteps.

No one knows exactly where the Snowman came from when he showed up in Salla. First, he settled around the grounds of Onkamojärvi lake, moving on later to the Kaunisharju terrain, where the hilly landscape is particularly beautiful. These ridges were created when the ice began to melt during the last ice age; the waters collected fine sand and gravel at the edges of the ice masses.

There the hermit lived in his tent, even through the winter, burning candles for light and marking his territory with empty milk bottles. The local police sometimes paid him a visit to see how the hermit was doing in the middle of nowhere and without any equipment.“I ask you to please leave my camping grounds”, the voice from the tent shouted. Well, at least, based on him speaking, it was evident he spoke Finnish.

The hermit was indeed a peculiar character. He would walk on the road, and when a car approached, he would turn around as if he were going the other way. In winter, he would always retrace his steps when returning to his dwelling. When he visited the town, he could always be found at the bus station's pub. One person claims that our hermit had a habit of buying a bottle of yellow Jaffa, an orange-flavoured soft drink. Another person says it was two bottles, and always the red sort. A third person claims he never opened them, just sat there with an empty glass in front of him. A hermit even when among people, in the middle of nowhere.

These stories make you wonder what a man truly is, surrounded by all this nature and within his own nature. In the landscapes of Salla you easily find yourself dwelling in these thoughts. Leaving the roads behind and walking the ridges, up and down, you find yourself in the wilderness, in the land of the Hermit. Detached from everything. Close to everything. In the middle of nowhere.

Trail difficulty rating

Intermediate.

Services on the trail:

The trail is marked by blue square signs attached to trees (red square signs on the section that goes along the UKK Trail). Resting places available in Tunturilampi and Kaunisharju. Water sources available near the lean-tos. The services of Salla Reindeer Park are available a short distance from the trail.

Estimated duration

3–5 hours

Trail conditions, related risks and recommended equipment

The Kaunisharju trail partly follows the UKK Trail. The trail and signposts are fairly clear. Most of the trail is relatively wide. In the winter there is a lit ski track along the trail. The trail is uneven in places and there are a few steeper sections, mainly along the Kaunisharju-Poropuisto-Sallatunturi section. Recommended footwear: in the summer season, hiking boots or rubber boots.

Description of the natural environment

The trail crosses various types of terrain including commercial forests, dry heath forests and bogs. There are a few sections with a strong wilderness feeling in spite of the trail’s proximity to Sallatunturi Fell Centre.

Description of the cultural environment

Views of the fell.

Accessibility

Starts from Sallatunturi Fell Centre (behind spa hotel Holiday Club Salla) with signposts pointing the way to the trail.

 

Basic information
Contact information:

Postipolku 3
98900 Salla

European Union - European Regional Development Fund Regional Council of Lapland Leverage from the EU Salla


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The tale behind the name Murhahaara (Murder Branch)


In the northern parts of Salla, in the Tuntsa area, there is a hut in the wilderness called Murhahaara (Murder Branch). For centuries, it has been rumoured to be haunted. In the guestbook of the hut, people have scribbled warnings to those spending the night about ghosts appearing during the...