Tips from a Lapland wilderness expert
Photographer and wilderness guide Eeva Mäkinen discovers her most memorable (and Instagrammable) moments close to home.
Not many people know that there’s a 40-metre-long, 80-metre-deep canyon hidden in the north of Finland. Kevo Canyon is a strictly protected nature reserve carved from 1900-million-year-old granulite bedrock extending from Paistunturit Fells in Utsjoki to Saariselkä in Inari. Enriched by water flowing into the Arctic Sea, the walls of the canyon are described as miniature botanical gardens full of incredible wildlife.
Visiting the canyon proved to be a turning point in the life of photographer, wilderness guide, and Instagram celebrity Eeva Mäkinen.
Having newly finished her wilderness guide training, Mäkinen headed straight for the canyon and its 63-kilometre trail from Sulaoja to Lake Kenesjärvi. “I had confidence in my skills and knew I could make it on my own in the wild,” she describes. Not only did she survive, but she thrived in the wilderness.
Since then, she has completed hundreds of wilderness quests around the globe and gained a following of 100,000 people on social media. Countless admirers have been mesmerised by her amazing footage of the Northern Lights, journeys through the snow, and the incredible landscape of Alaska.
Mäkinen’s success as a wilderness seeker is driven by her unquenchable thirst for freedom. “I’ve been an entrepreneur all my working life, for more than ten years now. For me, it’s the only way to live and be free,” she says.
“I used to travel to faraway locations, but now I stay local,” says Mäkinen. With a nose for trends, Mäkinen predicts that local travel is set to be the next big thing.
“People are rediscovering their relationship with nature. And instead of travelling thousands of kilometres to remote places, they have started looking closer, chasing experiences more locally,” Mäkinen muses.
For Mäkinen, the best thing about the Finnish wilderness is its tranquillity and distinctive seasons, creating landscapes that never produce the same photo twice. And many places in the Nordic north still await discovery – but to find them, you really have to live for the search.
5 tips for Kevo Canyon
1. Park your car up north and catch a bus to Sulaoja. Upon finishing the hike, you pop out of the wilderness in Lake Kenesjärvi – right next to your car!
2. Bring warm clothes for evenings at the campsite. Merino and pure wool are best.
3. Purchase a pair of Crocs. They will keep your hiking boots dry while you do the water crossings.
4. Leave a treat in the car for when you return. You’ll thank yourself after the 63-kilometre hike!
5. Carry a notebook. The trek is long and full of things you will want to remember later.
Text Elena Sulin
Photos Eeva Mäkinen