Those who explore Lake Kalliojärvi and the Salmijoki River gully will come across eskers, rocky ponds, a fascinating river gully and the river with its bifurcated rapids. The area also includes majestic primeval forests of ancient pines that have refused to fall in the storms of time.
Here in the wilderness, in the middle of nowhere, everyone is equal
Speaking of falling, are you familiar with Lasse Virén, the Finnish long-distance runner and national hero who won multiple Olympic gold medals? At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, he famously fell only to get back up and win the race while setting a new world record. He is one of the many people who have come to Salla to find peace and focus, in his case in his own log cabin. Perhaps the secret behind his superior endurance was his habit of drinking reindeer milk?
In many ways equally heroic were the people who sailed on the shores of the Salla glacial lake over 10,000 years ago. They were the bold explorers who migrated to the lands revealed by the withdrawing ice sheet at the end of the Ice Age. They were the people of the Mesolithic Period, the region’s earliest dwellers in the Stone Age. They were the people who migrated to and from the area, from all directions, in the millennia and centuries that followed.
War also creates its own heroes. The heroes of World War II are warmly remembered in Salla. Many families lost men in the war. Many were exhausted on their evacuation journeys. Many took a severe psychological hit in those difficult times, and the events of the war are still featured in local stories. After the war, a new Salla rose from the smoke and chaos. It was built by the heroes of Salla.
Here in the wilderness, in the middle of nowhere, everyone is equal. Everyone is the hero of his or her own path. The wilderness does not differentiate between people who achieved heroic feats on sports fields, in working life or the battlefield of war. This is a place where everyone can take time to discover the hero inside them, to think back to their own successes and failures, the falling and the getting back up.
These are deep thoughts, but you need not take them too seriously. Sitting in a gully formed by a glacial river during the Ice Age and seeing the play of water between the rocks, you may gain completely new insight into your life. It makes no sense for man to try and overpower nature.
Trail difficulty rating
Services on the trail:
The trail is marked partly by blue signs, partly by reddish brown paint. In places, there are both signs and painted markers. There is a lean-to in the Salmijoki River gully and a day hut in Kalliojärvi. The trail crosses a few streams that can be used as sources of water.
Trail conditions, related risks and recommended equipment
Many of the signs and route markers are difficult to see, particularly along the section following the trail’s starting point in the Sallatunturi fell area. Parts of the trail follow roads and paths that are easy to travel, while other parts are uneven, rocky and somewhat overgrown. There are a few steeper sections, primarily in the Salmijoki River gully area. Recommended footwear: in the summer season, hiking boots or rubber boots.
Description of the natural environment
Mostly commercial forests. There is a more wilderness-like primeval forest section near the Salmijoki River gully. As you ascend to the tops of majestic eskers, you will enjoy beautiful views of the rocky ponds below.
Description of the cultural environment
Salmijoki River gully, primeval forests and fell scenery in the Sallatuturi area.
Located between Salla village centre and Sallatunturi fell. Starts from Sallatunturi Fell Centre. The Salmijoki River gully can also be accessed directly via Rojulantie road, which passes between Hatajavaara and Hangasvaara. Follow Rojulantie road about six kilometres from Salla towards Kemijärvi to reach the point where the trail can be accessed. The distance from the trail’s turning point to the lean-to in the Salmijoki River gully is about 700 metres of easy terrain.