Hiking in Vaisakko Nature Reserve

As so many beautiful places also this hiking destination came to my eyes and mind while doing some travel research on the nationalparks.fi pages that are maintained by metsa. Being close to Salo and therefore somewhere on my track towards the north of Finland I decided to mark it on my travelmap for my trip. After visiting Teijo Nationalpark I arrived here to do this rather easy hike.

You can see on the map the trail leads after about 1,6 km to a 1,1 km loop and we will need to return the same way.

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The parking is remote inbetween farm land.

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I was quite surprised about the good quality of the trail at first, but unfortunately that should change after some minutes. Lets assume that the restoration of the trail will continue soon to make it easier for the visitors of the nature reserve…

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… cause after some minutes I ended up trying to find the duck boards inbetween the high standing grass. Sometimes I step into gaps or simply missed the boards while defending myself from horse flies.

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After the worst part seen on the previous photo things became a little easier and the hike turned more and more  fun.

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I have to say that the nature here is different to many places in Finland that I have been to. It more reminds me of forests in central Europe. Continueing the trail I passed big rocks.

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You will pass some grass areas. Especially there is one located in the loop of the trail. Signs set up there explain that there used to be a farm in the past.

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This is the point at which we reach the loop. You can eiter go clock or counterclockwise. I decided to go counterclockwise, taking the right side.

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Looking at the signs that were put up by metsa, you will learn a lot about the specific plants and animals that live here. There are several really rare ones here making the reserve a special place.

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I really loved those very big trees that are standing in the reserve,

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After the loop we return the same way back to the parking as it was marked on the map. Note that there is no service like toilets or bbq places in the reserve. Please keep it clean and in shape!

Find the official internet page for the Vaisakko Nature Reserve here (in Finnish only).

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Teijo National Park – Hiking the Matildanjärvenkierros

Teijo National Park is very close to Turku and therefore a very good starting point or end point for a trip through Finland if you enter or leave the country via the Turku ferry. The national park offers easy access and a very pretty nature. You can find several hiking options of which I chose the circular hike around Matildanjärvi. In case you saw an older post of Teijo NP, you might notice that the very first meters are leading the same trail, but this time I continue to follow the shoreline of Lake Matilda counter clockwise. If you see the map below you can see the broken line around the lake in the center. In the west of the lake you can see that you will need to walk some kilometer along the road, but there is hardly any traffic and it is speed limited as it is inside the village. But now everything in the right order…

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We start our hike at the main parking area of Matildanjärvi, which is located at the camping ground and the visitor center. In case you need some additional information or you want to have a cup of coffea you should stop at the visitor center. To continue you follow the trail leading around the right side of it down to the lake. From here it is about 5 km to walk. I have to say that in the area of the village I lost the trail and basically returned to the parking directly making me not really sure how long my hike actually was. But looking at the map it comes pretty close to the 5 km.

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The trail along the lake is in a very good condition and easy to follow. What I really like here is the very varying terrain.

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Following the trail at some point we come to a crossing. At this place the former hike that I did here in Teijo NP left the lake for a clockwise hike, but we keep following the shore.

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Already here in Teijo NP on my first day in Finland this summer (2017) I noticed fast that this year seemed different regarding nature. I could not remember that the heather was blooming so intense. My friends told me later that spring had a very slow start delaying nature by some weeks. I could not complain with these nice flowers and it also had a positive effect on moskitos and particular mooseflies of which I only caught three during the entire trip of three weeks. That is normally the rate of mooseflies that land on me in some places within one minute when only looking at some information board.

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Along the lake there are plenty of beautiful spots formed by water.

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It is nice when the views open up to the lake and you can admire the large water surface. You notice maybe that there were some clouds. They became pretty dark and I was not sure if thunder and lightning might start, so a little worried I continued my trip. But it stayed ok until the end.

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Quite at the far end of the lake you will need to cross this bridge.

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After forest, bridges, rocks we also have to crosse a remarkable piece of swamp. I loved the view that I took the photo of as it really looks like the trail would vanish.

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More rocks and some ascent for us, but there is not much difference in altitude along the entire trail.

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Looking backwards we can see the rocky nature along the lake. Also here as in entire Finland (and generally Scandinavia) the nature was strongly changed during the ice age when the enormous masses of glacier ice reformed the nature making the surface of the rocks pretty smooth with long scarves by scratching stones.

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At some part we directly follow the lake. Beatiful views!

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After we have passed the village we need to cross the forest to reach back on the shore. To do so you will need to keep going along the road and then following the dirt road that you drove to the parking. At some point the trail will leave the dirt road to the left into the forest back to the shore.

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Here roughly 500 meters before the parking we pass a bbq and resting place. I had no idea that this hut would become the place for my ‘goodby’ bbq before heading to the ferry. But it became so handy to stop here in Teijo NP on my way to the ferry that I could not resist.

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As always for the Finnish National Parks I recommend warmest the official page of Teijo National Park. You can get there by clicking their emblem below. It will bring you to the main page of Teijo NP. Have a look at their downloadable pdf there, which gives a good summary. Enjoy your stay at Teijo NP!

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Admiring Torronsuo National Park

Visiting Torronsuo Nationalpark I decided to make the smaller circular tour that leads the visitor on a 1,5 km long trail through the mires. The park features a really high wooden lookout tower and a nice bbq place with firewood provided. The map shows the route with the points of interest.

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The typical high standard of Finnish National Parks: Signs pointing the way.

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From the parking a wide duckboard leads to a small platform. It allows people in wheelchair or prams to get a very good impression of the area before the trail continues on a narrow path. Take care if wet, duckboards can be very slippery.

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From the platform you can get this good view onto Torronsuo.

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Trees have it hard to live on the wet ground. As you see, once the mire ends, trees get into full size again.

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But we continue the trail.

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At some point it turns slightly back to the forest, its a circular trail… we need to get back.

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So some parts are in forest, but it has also charm.

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Another view of the beautiful mire. It is hard to pass a viewer of the photos the atmosphere in the real environment. Everything is so very quiet. There are no noise sources except the wind and maybe some birds. So on calm days you only can hear yourself.

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It is beautiful to look around, but keep an eye on the small things aswell. It is fascinating how much life has taken the duckboards as their new home.

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At some point suddenly the watch tower shows up. It is one of the tallest I have been on in Finland.

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So a good view is given. You can see the duckboards of the large circular trail meandering through the mire.

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On top you are over the tree tops.

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Below you can admire the size. Not far from the tower you find the bbq place. It is maybe 30 meters. And the carpark about 300 meters.

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-> The official page of Torronsuo National Park

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Kurjenrahka National Park – Lake Access

Kurjenrahka National Park is located at the Lake Savo (Savojärvi). From the visitor center it is possible to follow a trail down to the shoreline. It is very nice that this trail was made in a way that it gives also access to the lake to those people using a wheelchair. The trail is winding down in several curves until it reaches the level of the lake.

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The last part is easier as it is quite flat.

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But any effort is worth it as the views here are really pretty. A beauty of a lake…

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-> Official webpage of Kurjenrahka National Park

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Kurjenrahka National Park – the uncompleted hike

As stated in another blog entry, the Kurjenrahka National Park is a very important place for cranes to stop for their yearly journey. Here I planned to make a short hike after seeing the visitor center and having a look at the lake. The hike itself, if the short cirular hike, is only 1.4 km long. It is not much, but rain started and intensified quite much, affecting my camera and more important the grip of the wooden trail. So I made the decision to return back to the car after reaching the Kuhankuono, the small monumental stone. Still I think I made some nice photos and want to share them with you…

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Knowing it might rain more heavily I started taking the photos quite late to get some meters done. Here is a photo of the Kuhankuono, which is an old boundary marker and according to the official page of the park it is sitting here for more than 600 years!

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Here some wet memories of this really short hike… 🙂

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-> Webpage of Kurjenrahka National Park

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Hiking Pyhä-Häkki Nationalpark

Many of the Finnish Nationalparks feature special flora, fauna or geological features. My hike on a small circular trail in Pyhä-Häkki Nationalpark brought me into a beautiful old-growth forest. Here in the area covered by the Nationalpark the impact of men on the forest is very small, so that people nowadays can admire trees standing here for centuries. Only in some parts trees were cut here as masts for sailing ships as the trees are very straight and therefor ideal for that purpose. One areas name, Mastomäki, still refers to that periode when these trees were cut.

Old trees means that there are plenty of opportunities for woodpeckers to make their housing and to find their food beneath the barch of the trees. No surprise to find one on the symbol of Pyhä-Häkki Nationalpark.

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As stated, my hike was not the big round (good to know there is some option for another visit), but the small one that I marked on the photo of the map, which hangs in the information center of the park. The trailhead is located at the parking symbol, which I colored in the same color as the trail.

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As in all Nationalparks and hiking areas also here there is a very well maintained infrastructure for the guests. You will find these information boards where you can learn about the park and its features…

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… or have a picnic. In my case it was the breakfast. I slept in my car to be here early and to avoid to put the tent into the rain. As I did it several times, I know it is not the most comfy way of sleeping, but it is fully sufficient not to mess my mood the next day 🙂

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So with a good mood and a breakfast in my stomach I started hiking my round.

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A sign at the dead tree states that once the spruce trees die, their liquid can move down to the lower parts and more or less petrify the trunk. This way it can remain standing for a long time.

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As you see the trees here are really long and straight. This is the area call Mastomäki.

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If you have maybe wondered what the star meant on the snippet of the map, it is a sight in the park. In this particular case it is the tree on the photo.

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This tree is now called Uusi Iso Puu, the new large tree. While the old large tree died, the new large tree is still alive with an amazing age as it was born in 1641!

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After admiring the tree and maybe a hug 😉 we continue our hike. As you see the trails are well marked and the ground easy to walk on.

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In old growth forests you find many trees in decay. Nature gets back what the tree took from it. The circle of life.

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Surprisingly, as it is hard to see on the map, we also pass a mire landscape. Mires are wetland areas in which plants die and can not decompost in the wet. The mire grows layer by layer.

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Taking shortcuts is a stupid idea, not only because it destroys the nature, but also because the ground is like a lake.

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You should take some time while hiking for a rest and detailed view on these very beautiful plants.

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After the mire we follow into the forest again back towards the parking. I found this mushroom with that beautiful brown shades. Thought I share it with you.

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If you want to see more of this beautiful park, than I recommend as usual the excellent pages of outdoors.fi -> click here for a new window….

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Hiking to Tiilikkajärvi

The huge list of beautiful spots on Outdoors.fi brought my attention to Tiilikkajärvi Nationalpark. It combines very beautiful scenery with a touch of history as hiking here will bring you to a farming ground and a place where people produced iron.

At the trailhead you will find an information board that informs you about the fauna, flora and history of this area. I remember reading about how bear tracks look like as they are passing through Tiilikkajärvi Nationalpark. So, time to make some noise 🙂 I took out the part of the map in which my more or less circular trail lead me through this nice piece of earth. You can see the bright red track with arrows.

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From the trailhead with its fireplace, drytoilet and boating access I started hiking the Uiton Kierto leading me along the western shoreline of Sammakkojärvi towards Autiojärvi.img_7136

The views here are breathtaking and with the silence around you it is very relaxing.

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Some parts of the hike lead you through dense forests. I wonder if I was close to a bear on the hike. I guess I wouldn’t have noticed if it kept calm hiding somewhere.

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Quite typical and also a result of the iceage are these edges. You see it goes down on each side. These are deposits from glaciers placed here during and after the iceage.

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After passing Autiojärvi you can make a short detour to see the shores of Tiilikkajärvi. Here at the beach it is allowed to bring a tent and to stay overnight. Of course it means (same applies to hiking) no littering. Everything brought here has to leave the place with you.

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Back on the trail we have to cross this bridge at some point. It helps us to cross the connection of Autiojärvi with Tiilikkajärvi.

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Take some time on the bridge for the scenery.

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As you can see, autumn colors start end of August. Nature has to start preparing for the long cold winter.

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The cottage that you pass, is a rental cottage. The hike took place in 2011, some changes happend in the rental of cottages from the Wild North (cottage rental of forest authorities). So I hope it is still open for rental.

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Not much further we suddenly come on a huge farmground still with cottages that remained. One of them is a Open Day Hut. It means it is open for the people that pass by to have a rest or to take shelter. Staying overnight is not the purpose but in emergency cases permitted.

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Inside the hut you will find again information about the area. I liked the place.img_7212

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Check out the things that are pieces of a tiny exhibition. As stated at the beginning here close to the hut people made iron from ore that was a deposite of iron oxyd in the sea.

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I found the area really idyllic like in an old film on TV.

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As I thought the hike would be a little too short, I added that triangle loop in the north that you can find on the map. Trails here are quite straight forward.

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Nevertheless always something to see 🙂

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Often it is good to keep an eye on the ground…

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… while still admiring the landscape.

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During the time I mostly come to Finland it is mushroom time, but dont eat the following.

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Well, I conclude this blogentry with the beauty of wetland shortly before returning back to the trail head.I have to say, it is a very nice hike and fully recommend it.

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Please follow this link to the webpage of the forest authorities page about Tiilikkajärvi Nationalpark. Another window will open…

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