The UKK Trail is a national hiking trail named after President Urho Kaleva Kekkonen. The trail crosses parts of North Karelia, Kainuu, Northern Ostrobothnia and Lapland. Its southern starting point is Koli in Lieksa and it ends at Tulppio in Savukoski in the north. Urho Kekkonen himself hiked the trail in 1957.
These enigmatic names leave endless possibilities for the imagination
UKK Trail, section Aihkipetsi-Poropuisto-Sallatunturi-Tunturilammit-Aatsinginhauta
The section of the UKK Trail that cuts through the Sallatunturi Fell Centre offers unforgettable scenery ranging from the ancient pines of the Aihkipetsi wilderness to the Aatsinki rift valley. The trail is suitable for both day trips and multi-day hikes.
The sun is shining! What a sight it is to see the face of the round-headed Iso Sallatunturi fell reflected in the sky blue waters of the calm Tunturilampi pond. The fell smiles to you!
Actually there are two ponds separated by a dike, so perhaps we should refer to them as the Tunturilammet ponds. Two wilderness ponds with clear water, only a short hike from Sallatunturi Fell Centre. Their waters are drawn from underground quagmires through barely fist-sized holes in the earth. Who is in control of the tap down there? And how did the ponds get their names? According to a former Salla resident, the ponds were named by Lapland. Perhaps that is to suggest that their names are derived from the Sami language. The Finnish word tunturi, or “fell” in English, almost certainly has its origins in the Sami language. The Finnish word tanner for ground is likely to be of the same origin. Perhaps the word “tunturi” in the name of Tunturilampi pond refers to the flat ground, the field, the battleground.
And what about Pahakuru, Finnish for “bad gully”? Who was the gully bad for? Or did the word paha have some other meaning? Shout a question into the gully and the echo will reply, but there is no other answer. It is but another secret that Salla will keep. As in many other respects, the history of the region has an element of mystery. The local place names hold many such secrets. The highest points of the nearby Aatsinginhauta have such fascinating names as Julmoiva, Koutoiva and Haltiavaara.
Julmoiva. A former Salla resident once told an etymologist that Julmoiva refers to a large and harsh fell.
Koutoiva might be a reference to a great wise man mentioned in a poem by the Finnish poet Eino Leino. In the poem, “Lapin Kouta” was the greatest wise man beyond the fell. However, etymologists have suggested that the name could be derived from a Sami language word meaning “in the middle of something” (Koutoiva is in the middle of the Aatsinki fell area) or a Sami language word for snake.
Haltiavaara brings to mind the description written by I.T. Itkonen, a scientist who made nine expeditions to Lapland in the first half of the 1900s: “The people of Lapland knew not only the gods to whom they made sacrifices, but also a large number of spirits that did not need to be worshipped; most of them are still remember by name. Some are still believed in, while others are only used to scare unruly children. Some spirits only appear in fairytales and stories.” The word haltia, or spirit, has also been used as an euphemism for the bear.
The word Aihki is believed to be of Sami origin and it means an old tree. Aihkimänty, or ancient pine, is the old sage of the forest. The importance of pine trees to the ancient dwellers of this area is also reflected in the names of other places around Salla, such as Petservaara. These enigmatic names leave endless possibilities for the imagination.
Trail difficulty rating
Services on the trail:
The trail is marked by orange signposts (red squares). There is a campfire site in Pahakuru. There are lean-tos in Kolmiloukkosenlampi, Tunturilampi and Koutalampi. There are huts in Siskelilampi, Kylmähete and Pitkälampi, and a day hut in Aihkipetsi. The trail crosses a few dikes that provide a source of water. There are also several ponds that can be used as a source of water for boiling.
Trail conditions, related risks and recommended equipment
The trail is narrow and uneven in places.The wettest spots have duckboards. The duckboards are missing or broken in some places. Approaching Koutalampi, the trail is almost completely overgrown in many places and the route markers are not easily visible. Recommended footwear: in the summer season, waterproof high-cut hiking boots or rubber boots.
Description of the natural environment
There is a more wilderness-like section in the Aihkipetsi end. From the middle section to Poropuisto Reindeer Park, the terrain is mostly commercial forest, but there also some bogs and bog ponds. The Kylmähete area is more wilderness-like. There are magnificent dry pine forests in Pahakuru. After Pitkälampi the terrain is mostly bogs. Before Koutlampi, there are groves around streams.
Description of the cultural environment
There are magnificent old pine forests around the Aihkipetsi day hut. Wilderness and fell landscapes.
Located in Salla. The trail can be accessed from Sallatunturi Fell Centre. The trail can also be accessed from the Aihkipetsi end. From Salla, drive about 20 kilometres towards Kuusamo. Turn right at Kallunkijärvi and drive about seven kilometres on the gravel road. There are signposts for the trail along the road.