Martimoaapa – An evening hike through a Northern swamp

Preparing my regular trips to Finland I found a nature reserve in the (for mid European view) high North of Finland just beside the end of the Baltic Sea. The nature reserve called Martimoaapa features an important and large mire landscape. A long chain of duckboards makes this
beautiful but fragile nature accessible to the visitor.

As usual in Finland also here a high standard of infrastructure assures a splendid visit. At the trail head (see on the east of the map above) that leads into the small circular trail marked in violet you will find a lean-to shelter with a fire place and firewood stored. There is another fire place in the South close to this trail.

My stay here in Martimoaapa consisted in two seperate hikes as the evening of arrival the weather looked unpleasant and it became late.
I stayed overnight in my car and continued the next day. So I started with the circular trail, southwards and made the detour to the fireplace at Martimojärvi, then returned via the shortcut in the middle of the circular trail. In a second blog entry I will tell you about the next days circular hike and the visitors (better said ‘followers’) that came to me on the way. Some holidays I hope to make the full large trail.

At the very beginning at the trail head the trail is wide and comfy to walk. Dense forest is still able to grow as the ground is dry enough for the trees.

Shortly after the forest opens up and we suddenly stand in an open landscape. We need to walk on duckboards, not only to protect the very sensitive and slow growing nature, but also not to get wet feet.

At some point it is possible to see an open water surface through the struggling trees. It is the Martimojärvi (Lake Martimo). I wanted to reach the fire place there, but already started to be a little concerned about the dark clouds.

It is always fun to see a crossing of duckboards in the absolute nowhere… This the start of the short detour from the circular trail to the fireplace at the lake.

Suddenly I could see small huts and stored boats. Some people have their boats here to go fishing on the lake. The huts are for us visitors, it is the lean-to shelter, a firewood storage and (not entirely sure) a dry toilet.

The arrival for todays hike. Weather turned darker and darker. I was not really sure if there could be a thunder and lightning which would be highly unpleasant in such an exposing environment. But I can already say it did not happen, only some rain came but I had time to do something I looked forward to …

Yummy!

As you can see by the emblem also this lean-to is maintained by the forest authorities who also take care for the firewood supplies. A great work of them as always!

I was surprised of the size of the lake…

Anyhow, after cleaning up it was time to go back. With the tendencies of the weather I decided here to make the shortcut and not to go all the circular trail the evening, but instead staying overnight and do it in an enjoyable pace the next day. Temperatures were not to high so I looked forward to stay at the fireplace at the trail head a little and enjoy the warmth of a fire there before sleeping.

With these thoughts I ‘said goodbye’ from the lake and started my return.

Soon the forest was in front of me again.

And looking aside it was clear that the water of the lake was reaching far almost invisible.

Back to the trail head it was time to warm up at the fire. Sitting there I suddenly heard strange noises in the forest and branches cracking. After a short while a bunch of reindeers jumped over the trail in the background. I was fascinated, and of course didn’t know that I would see them again soon.

Below you can see the embedded map of google maps. I marked the trail head with the parking. If you zoom in, you can see the duckboards and the fireplace at the lake. I think it looks fascinating from the sky!

For further detailed information about Martimoaapa please check out the splendid pages of Nationalparks.fi (former outdoors.fi).

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Karlsborgs Fortress

During the plannings of one of my trips through Sweden I found Karlsborg to be an interesting place. Actually I did not really do any detailed research, just found it on spottinghistory.com as a historic place and put it on my travel list. So I came there and even before finding a parking lot noticed that it is not an ordinary town. Basically it is a historic military town at a strategic position at lake Vättern. At the place construction of the fortress Karlsborg was started in 1819 around the time the famous Göta channel was digged through Sweden connecting Göteborg and Stockholm leading here into lake Vättern coming from lake Vänern. At the fortress people settled close to the channel and soon a town developed… nowadays Karlsborg.

Coming here all the architecture clearly depicts the character of a military base. Buildings are large halls and kept functional, still having ornaments kind of typical for this periode. Nowadays they are protected by the state

It is worth to have a stroll around. And to visit the huge military museum with various exhibitions. You can find it at the Garnisons Church. I plan to have an extra entry to show it to you in more detail.

If you need a rest and want to have a coffee you can have a rest at the cafe. The also serve snacks.

This is the Garnison Church. In the building you also find the Military Museum.

Hope you liked this very short stroll through Karlborgs Fästning as it is called in Swedish. Click the logo to open SpottingHistory.com in a seperate tab and show the entry to this place…

Hiking in Knisa Mosse

One time travelling along the Swedish coast northwards, I decided to stay a couple of days on Öland, the long stretched island east of Kalmar. On Öland I found a nice Nature Reserve called Knisa Mosse, which features one of very few wetlands that remained on the island during a wave of draining. So the area remained a wonderful place for birds that live here. If you want to visit Knisa Mosse, be aware that it has a periode of access restrictions to protect the bird life. It was from 1st of April to 15th of August during the year that I came here (2009). This time I was lucky being on my vacation off-season, so I could do the hike. For infos about Knisa Mosse, you can have a look on the links that I put on the emblems on the bottom of this blog post.

What I like here is the varying terrain as you have this for Öland so typical dry land, but also the lake landscape. It makes it to a very interesting place. Only the markings of the trail were partly not so easy and I had to improvise from time to time. But as said, it was in 2009, so I hope it has improved. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth to come here.

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Please click the emplems for more details on external pages…

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Lössi to Manamansalo

Finland, as the country of lakes, in many places requires to short cut long road drives by establishing ferry connections. Like in Sweden and Norway also here short ferry connections are free to use as it is officially a part of the contries road system. These short ferries are called Lössi and partly are cable driven.

My last Lössi tour was in summer 2017 to short cut the access to the hiking area on the peninsulae Manamansalo in the large Oulujärvi. But I have been on several like the connection to the island Hailuoto just south of Oulu or in the lakelands in the central south. In Sweden this is a very convenient way of travelling around Stockholm on its east through the skerries.

For your trip through Finland you can look up any connection on Ferry.fi.

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Southern Konnevesi National Park

Up to my last visit to Finland in 2017 I always thought that the Southern Konnevesi National Park particularly focusses on the lake areas and therefore there was no hikning option, but I learned the truth. So it was time to stop here and to do some hiking. My choice fell on the Kalajan Kierros, the Kalaja Round that is shown on the map in red. This circular tour leads up on top of a rocky hill from where there are beautiful views over the surrounding landscape. Please click on the map to reach the original map in pdf format on the pages of outdoors.fi (the official pages of the Finnish National Parks).

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As you see the first part of the hike is to walked back at the end, and once we reach the ‘kierros’ we reach also the border of the National Park, which is indicated by a sign.

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In the area you will feel quite remote. I am always glad not to be completely on my own as long as those people before or after me are quiet. Here also some people were hiking, but went the clockwise direction as proposed on the map. I went the wrong way round, but it was no problem. Steep parts are on both sides as you will see later.

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At some point we reach the lake. Here everything is well maintained and you will find a bbq place.

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I continued along the lake … and also took some photos look to where I came from.

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At some point it gets quite steep, but the ropes help to get uphill.

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But after a shorter while…

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… we are on top of the hill.

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Also the rocks of these massive hills were affected by the huge ice masses during the ice age, this is the reason for the very flattend surface.

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Nowadays it helps to walk over it, so the hiking trail leads along here.

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From time to time there is a chance to look over the beautiful scenery of Finlands forests and lakes.

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And also down to the lake at which we arrived when reaching the bbq place. But on the photo you see a place (tree gap in the right center) that we reach soon. It is time now to step down from the hill.

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Now standing in the gap we can take the photos in opposite direction.

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Up there we have been before!

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It is time now to follow the trail along the lake to the bbq place again.

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There on the left of the photo you can see it. Soon we turn right and follow the same path back that we came here. Hoped you enjoyed!

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Please click the symbols for the respective webpages… Thanks to Metsähallitus for maintaining the infrastructure!

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Isojärvi National Park – Extended Heretty Nature Trail

I had been to Isojärvi National Park in a previous trip, but this time added it to my plans as it was on the route and I had good memories about it. The last time I hiked the Heretty Nature Trail, but this time I decided to extend it by a larger round bringing me further away and back via Kuorejärvi.

The map shows the normal Heretty Nature Trail marked in red, but this time I continued the large loop all the way to the information board marked with the ‘i’ in the top right corner. From there I returned along Kuorejärvi back to the parking. All in all the hike was about 7 km leading me through a very diverse landscape.

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At the parking inbetween several buildings we find the information hut from Metsä. The building complex was a loggers camp in the past.

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Excellent information for the visitors! Plan some time to have a look at the interesting information about the nature and history of this place.

IMG_0627At some point it is time to start the hike. A lot of remains from the ice age are still visible along the hike. Those big rocks were deposite here by the huge glaciers pushing the ice over the landscape.

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We follow the Heretty Nature Trail and after about 1.1 km we head to the right.

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There are no mountains here, but the trail is far from flat.

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After about 2.8 km we get a view on Hevosjärvi, the lake in the far north east of our hiking route.

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Despite Heretty being a loggers place in the past, the nature looks really unspoiled and it is really beautiful.

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This is the information board that is marked on the map. On my hike I was considering to make an even larger loop and turned right here for some hundred meters, but found the trail in a not optimal condition. So I returned and followed the trail as described in this blogpost.

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From the information desk it is not very far and we reach the next bigger lake… Kuorejärvi. With the weather I could enjoy the view, even took a rest here.

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As you see it is larger than a pond.

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Through dense forest…

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…and along thick moss covered stones I continued my circular hike.

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At some point we will need to take a bridge over a small bay of Kurkijärvi, the Kannuslahti. For a bbq place you need to turn right immediately after. For me it is one of the most beautiful bbq places I have been to.

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It is located on a tiny peninsulae in lake Kurkijärvi. As usual wood is provided and there is a dry toilet. Thanks for this! Just you need to cut it in pieces as it is only made storable there and not already in usable bits. But that is easy as all tools are provided.

The view from the fire place is great.

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From the fire place it is an easy walk back to the parking. I hope you liked joining me through Isojärvi National Park!

Thanks to everyone that helps to make the place so enjoyable!

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Evo Hiking Area – Staying overnight

Most of the days during my trip I do not know where I will end up staying the night. I keep it open as I don’t want to rush or staying at places that tend to be boring. So I need to be flexible. After Hämeenlinna I planned to have a look at the Evo Hiking Area. Here I had been before, but these places offer so many possibilities, that it was a pleasure to return. As it was to find a place for the night, I checked the map at the Visitor Center. A man passed by and I asked him if he knows any camping places closeby. He pointed out the large camping area, that normally is for big groups, and mentioned it is ok for the night. As it was officially closed also the toilets were closed, but for just the sleep it was ok, knowing I could come to the Visitor Center again the next morning. So I took the car for the handfull of kilometers to the camping place. It is really impressively huge. I set up my tent in a far corner close to the nearby lake, had some food and set down on a log at the sea shore for the evening. It is always a very beautiful atmosphere with the night coming in and light disappearing. As I had a long day, I went to sleep early looking forward for nice hikes here in Evo Hiking Area.

My tent set up. On the left of where the photo was taken, it is only 20 meters to the lake.

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This is how the sea shore looks like. It came nicely that these logs were left here. Ideal for sitting and as table for a beer 🙂

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When I arrived it was still bright day.

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Had time to look at the camping area. You see it is huge. This structure is for having dinner. There are more of these.

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As light started to fade, I went back to my tent and then enjoyed the lake view.

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In the morning a coffee is obligatory. Also in the wild… 🙂

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Now it was time to take down the tent…

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What hikes I did, I will show you in the next blog entries coming soon.

And of course a big thanks again to Metsä for their great help by providing such a valuable internet page giving a lot of information for preparing your visit to Finnish nature. Click their symbol to open their Evo Hiking Area page.

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