Weekend Trip To Kemijärvi - Day 2



As Fins would say
It's a new day!

Previous trip to Kemijärvi post, day 1.

Just about 9 kilometers by road from Kemijärvi centre lies Kotavaara observation tower.
kota = goahti, tipi-like hut, traditional Sami dwelling, tepee, Laplander's hut
vaara = forested hill (also danger, harm's way, but as you can see, not in this case)

But if you're by foot, you can skip the roads meant for cars and bikes and just go and walk on the railroad. That takes about 2 to 3 kilometers off. Abandoned railroad. But I'll come back to that later.


Kotavaara observation tower is an excellent place to visit because it's so near the town center. My opinion is that about 14km there and back is totally walkable distance. And it's not even hard terrain but wide paths, gravel road, asphalted pedestrian walkway and, if you choose, railroad track. So a great place to visit and if you choose to go there by car, there's a parking lot only 400 meters from the Kotavaara peak. So not a terribly high hill or a long distance to walk.

Huawei P9Cosina Flash 35E

Traditional Finnish scenery. Lapland scenery. Again the horizon is ever so slightly tilted (okay let's face it, not slightly but lots but then again not enough to call it purposely done) but as you can see, the film version of this scenery has other shortages too so oblique horizon fits in well with the other flaws.


There's almost a straight road from Kotavaara observation tower (red arrow) to Kemijärvi center with only one exception. The first landfill and bridge crossing over the lake (purple/violet arrow) is meant only for trains and on some places so narrow (trees, cliff, water on it's both sides) that there's not even a tiny path next to it so that you could walk beside the railroad, not on it. Not to mention cycle somewhere else than on it. And of course the wooden ties are not one step distance from each other but closer and also random, so you constantly need to check your step because not all the ties are ground level. But if you're offroad or trail cycler, then I absolutely recommend this route for you.


So if you do not have time to go to any other hiking sites in Kemijärvi which are so far that if you're going there by bike, you have to dedicate the whole day for it, but want something more than the few kilometer park walk routes near the town centre, this is the place you should go to.


The road that comes from the observation tower car park and crosses the old railroad.


This is the railless railroad that continues all the way to the next town, Salla, just 65 km to the east and almost to the Russian border. Salla still has a railroad station and rails but no trains going there.

I would have wanted to go there. 65 km by train sounds like a day trip. Two small towns on one weekend would have been awesome as each of the towns are so small that it's hard to find enough things to do for a longer trip. Especially now, during the covid restrictios when all the places you could go might not be open.

But as the rails have no rails and no trains go there and as all the cars to this weekend in the near car rental place were reserved many weeks before and as 65 km (there and back) is a bit too much by bike or by foot, visiting Salla was not an option.

Huawei P9Cosina Flash 35E

These are the last two comparison photos. The last photo from this trip taken with my "new" Cosina film camera that I want to show to you. And I think it's the perfect last photo as it's a bit eerie. Fits perfectly to the theme. Rails without trains, back to the 80's hotel and a small town vibe.


Trainless railroad doesn't mean the rails aren't in use as the railroad actually is used. Not by trains but by locals since this is a good route from this side of the lake to the other side. Only about 1 km by rails or almost 4 km by road. Which one would you choose?


What view! Looking back to Kotavaara. With the same slightly tilted horizon theme of course. I wish I had my good camera with me.


Only one short bridge.


A local going over the bridge that I've just successfully accomplished, survived and I'm sure, leveled up in both, urban and wilderness exploration.


Another happy local with a handcar.


Continuing with the locals theme. Reindeer number two. Not stuffed but alive one.


This is where I came from.


And this is where my journey on the tracks by foot ended. I'm sure I could have continued on the tracks a little while longer because my guess is that the rails separating from this junction to Keitele Timber Oy and through the city center is not in use on weekends. But as the walkway was near and continues relatively straight to the town, I chose that.

So as you saw, the rails are no longer in use because the National Railways Group (VR Group) has some time ago decided that there's not enough demand for passenger or goods transportation. Well now that there is none, not even one train a day or one train a week possibility it's really easy to say that there's no demand for it. But the train that took us to Kemijärvi and eventually back to Tampere, the train that travels once a day from the capitol of Finland, Helsinki, trough Tampere, Oulu and Rovaniemi, all the way to a small town called Kemijärvi (because the rails end there) was loooooooooong and I assume quite full. At least the cabins were. Only two weeks prior to this weekend, we got the last available cabin. So I'm a little bit skeptical about the argument: no demand. Not profitable would be more accurate as the Finnish National Railways most important goal seems to be making profit, not enabling the transfer of people and goods.

Funny thing as we do pay taxes to have better access.
A second poem! :)
Or should it be axes?
My axe must still be in the mail which reminds me that the Finnish postal service is s total joke nowadays.

Almost 900 km from Helsinki to Kemijärvi and this is not even in the northmost part of Finland. The northmost railway station still in use is in Kolari, but you can't get there from Kemijärvi or not even from Rovaniemi as the lateral train routes suck (there is none), but from a small city before Rovaniemi, Kemi. And then, if you still want to go all the way up to the northmost part of Finland, you have to hop off from the train in Rovaniemi and take a minimum 8 hour trip with a buss to Nuorgam. Or rent a car from Rovaniemi which quite frankly doesn't sound that tempting to me as I would be the only one driving. I can't make content to Hive while driving and my ass and my back think that 300 km per day sitting is enough.

And I would really like to use public transport. Railways. I love trains! And sitting in a buss for a long time is worse than driving yourself. Not having the luxury to decide when to take a break, which road to take or deviate from plans (if any was even made) and go see a weird thing on the map or investigate an interesting sign beside the road that says that something which you absolutely should see is located just 2 to 20 kilometers from the main road. An unusual pile of rocks. Fine wall. Witches tree.

Also I would love to support traveling by train simply because of ecological reasons. There should be more rails, more trains, more routes, more possibilities to book a cabin for you or your party, not only few work cabins or sleep cabins on night trains. And also more possibilities to take your own bike with you.

Back to Kemijärvi.


Fins speak Finnish. Our second official language is Swedish. There is no third official language. But as Russia isn't that far away from Kemijärvi and as Russian tourists are quite common sight in Finland, especially in the towns near Russian border, translating this info board also in Russian is fairly wise.


Obligatory flower photo,again the old voluntary fire brigade building and a traditional Finnish scenery.


Off to the sport ground. Number 17 on the map above. I would have translated urheilukenttä = sport court or field but who am I to judge, I'm sure my posts have plenty of weird translations and looking at this photo, it sure looks more like some ground than a court or even a field. But there also was a court there which you will soon see.


This sign says: "You shall not pass this sign to the ski jump, unless you are Insane, then it's okay. The Real Insane blogging to Hive about going up is awesome, so go ahead! We love you Insane!"

What can I say, Finnish is just so expressive language. Only few words but so much info and pure love wrapped around the words.


This is not that high.


Uh. Think this is high.


Just few photos and then back to the surface of the ground. Down. There. Controlled step by step descent.


This is deep.

Back to the city centre and towards the railway station. And of course few obligatory graffiti photos.



It says legal graffiti wall.


The last photo from Kemijärvi. Some random storage or bunker (I don't know it's purpose, perhaps it's my future home?) near the railway station.


Bye Kemijärvi, bye north, bye everyone! Didn't see that many mosquitoes which was a pleasant surprise but also, bye mosquitoes, you shall not be missed.

I've pinned this post to the Kotavaara observation tower in the map because most of this post is about the tower or the way back.
[//]:# (!pinmapple 66.707808 lat 27.577729 long d3scr)


Manually curated by ackhoo from the @qurator Team. Keep up the good work!


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I hate the trains in Finland. For military defence reasons our railways fucking suck. I pretty much always use the bus because it’s quicker, which makes no damn sense. From Jkl to Oulu? Bus max 4,5h, train MINIMUM 5,5h, usually over 6 and with many changes, and also way more expensive. Trains are probably a good choice only in Uusimaa.


You're absolutely right. The only thing good in a train is that you have more space in there and that you can walk during travelling. The second thing that could be good with trains is the speed. The time it takes to travel. But mostly it isn't true for anyone who doesn't live in Helsinki, Turku or in some cases, Tampere. Because the lateral rail lines are missing. And furthermore to add the pain, there is an almost direct line from your town to Oulu, but it's only for goods, not people. So FU VR!


I actually don’t mind the not walking, I usually just try to sleep or listen to a book anyway. Our Vihreät should really put their focus on improving our public transportation outside of the cities. Having a car is really the only viable option to survive if you don’t live in the city. Maybe the railways should be made public because I do agree with you that there is in fact a demand.


I usually just try to sleep or listen to a book anyway

I'd like to sit too but unfortunately my back and ass disagree and for instance 3 to 4 hours without proper walking breaks is the max amount I can sit. And to get to that, 4 hours continuous sitting, I have to have enough space to sit in various weird positions or all is lost, I will snap and I will kill everyone.

All the parties should put more effort to get better railway coverage. But that's just the thing, people are so used to use a car and I do admit that it does make ones life easier, so I guess there's no will to put more money to the railways. To admit the fact that there should be passenger transportation on those lines too where there's not that much people because it makes people more equal. Those who can't drive, don't own a car or can't afford a car should also have the opportunity to travel easily. To work and to holidays.

And as we do pay taxes and part of it goes to the railways, VR should absolutely be 100% owned by us, the people, Finns. But of course at the same time private entrepreneurs should be allowed to use the rails too (at a fair price) and offer better coverage to the whole country.


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