HENDRIK MORKEL got his passion for the outdoors from his parents who used to take him to the Alps to explore as a child. During his university years he lost the time to pursue his interest in the great outdoors but ten years ago he once again caught the hiking and adventure blog and has since made a life from his love of nature and exploring.
Here Hendrik talks about some of his most exciting hikes and where in the world the sport has taken him. Read on to find out more about the limitless possibilities of thrilling hikes in Finland and the books Hendrik’s written on the subject.
You can find Hendrik’s popular hiking blog at www.hikinginfinland.com.
At what age did you start hiking and how long was until you realised you had a real passion for the sport?
I started as a child with my parents and brother in the Alps, but during University lost the time to go out into nature. But then, around ten years ago, I started to get into backpacking and hiking again, and since then have been outdoors as much as possible. First only on foot with a tarp and quilt in my backpack, but with six months of winter in Finland soon XC skiing and ski-touring came to be favourite activities.
What have been some of your most memorable hikes and how often do you go hiking?
I go at least once a month backpacking, but am hiking almost every week. Our family doesn’t own a car (it is a conscious decision) and so we like to ride our bikes on the weekends to the coast or to the forest and go there for a stroll with the kids.
As for my most memorable hike, that’s a difficult question. Hiking in the Urho Kekkonen Nationalpark with my brother was a superb experience, as was backpacking through the Dolomites with my best friend last autumn. Often it is the people who go backpacking with me who make a trip very special, although I also enjoy solo hikes – that gives me a lot of space & time to think – and I do get a lot of great ideas on such trips!
Where in the world has hiking taken you and where is your favourite place to hike?
I have hiked in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Belize, Macedonia, Greece, Finland, Sweden and Norway, Germany and many more. I generally like to hike everywhere where there is beautiful nature and not too many people – that can be the forest close to my house or the mountains in the off-seasons.
What does Finland offer those with a similar to passion to yours and tell us about the book you wrote about hiking in the country?
Finland has 40 national parks and a dozen Wilderness Areas with thousands of kilometres of trails, but my favourite thing about hiking in Finland is definitely the superb infrastructure that is in place: there’s hundreds of free open shelters and comfortable huts, which come with a fully stoked wood shed with an axe and saw for cutting the wood. These huts and laavus are often located close to lakes or rivers with great views – and did I mention already that they’re free to use for everyone?
I wrote a book about the Pirkan Taival Trail (http://amzn.to/2qBQS7h) in German, and currently am writing an English-language guide book about hiking and trekking in Finland which will come out next March. It will detail my 20 favourite places to go hiking and backpacking in Finland, from Nuuksio close to Helsinki to the far naort in Lapland. I’m pretty excited about this book as it will be the first English language Hiking Guide Book for Finland!
When did you start blogging and what can our readers expect from your blog and website?
I started blogging in 2009 and have been loving it since. Hiking in Finland (www.hikinginfinland.com) is Scandinavia’s most-read English-language outdoor blog and readers like my trip reports and detailed gear reviews. Right now I’m working on a video series that I’m very excited about and which will launch this May, so keep an eye on my Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/hendrikmorkel).
Do you have any exciting hikes or projects planned for the months ahead?
I have another video project planned that I will execute during the fall and for which I’ll travel to the USA, Canada and Italy – and I plan on going for a hike in these locations then too! This summer I’ll be exploring some more Finnish trails and national parks on foot and by bike, and I’ll go on a bike-tour with my whole family to Åland, the Archipelago between Finland and Sweden!
And if you want to follow along, make sure to check out my Twitter at https://twitter.com/hendrikmorkel, Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hendrikm/] and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hikinginfinland/].