Thursday 18 September 2014

Ruska in Tähtelä

In Finnish Lapland, mid-September is well-known as the ruska time of the year, when leaves turn orange or red and the ground itself shows golden shades. It is the best time for mushroom and bilberry picking.

Scarlet trees are particularly gorgeous

Ruska only lasts for typically a few weeks. Mosquitos are (almost) gone, temperatures are still warm and days are still long, allowing very pleasant walks in forest. It is also the season when the hunting activities are increasing.


Every year, ruska occurs at the same period, as it is triggered by the drop in the daily amount of natural light reaching the trees. In Sodankylä (and therefore in Tähtelä), ruska reaches its climax during the second and third weeks of September (the official starting date and time are still actively debated). 

However, some years show a better ruska than others. To have a good ruska with outstandingly colourful displays, the air must be rather dry in late August and early September, and slightly freezing temperatures are required at night. This was not the case this year in Sodankylä, and leaves therefore tend to fall from the trees as soon as their colour changes. Yet, the landscapes still prove breathtaking.

Misty sunrise on the Kitinen river

In a week or so, most of the remaining leaves will start to fall. Then, after the equinoxe, days will become shorter and shorter; evenings will soon get darker and darker, nighttime temperatures will drop below zero. And within less than one month, there will be the first snow falls.

Winter is coming.

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