Rokua National Park

Last July we were heading back to Lapland with two caravan cars. I, my husband and our son in one car and my parents in the other. Our first stop was at the national park of Rokua in Vaala. We left our cars on the parking place in the southern side of the park and packed our bags with snacks. Sun was setting slowly but Finnish summer nights are short so little evening walk wasn´t a problem.

Rokua is a really small park (8,8 km2 ) founded  in 1956. It’s also a part of Rokua Unesco Global Geoparks together with some other areas at Oulu. Geology is one of the reasons why Rokua is a national park. The esker of Rokua which is the main area of the national park is made by ice moving sand and stones during the Ice Age.

Rokua forests are full of pine trees and lichen grows everywhere on the ground. The side of the park where we started our walk, has a little lake called Pitkäjärvi, on the shore there´s fireplace where to cook and you can reach it with a whealchair too. We walked up to the Rokua esker to the peak of Pookivaara. There´s an old tower which was used by the fire watcher to prevent forest fires but now it´s for the tourists. My son, husband and my dad climed up to the tower to see the sights but my mom and I thought it´s best to stay on the ground.. We grilled some sausages at a hut located up the hill with few other houses, rental cottage and an old tiny fire watchers house. It´s easy to see how in these grounds could start a forest fire. Land is mostly sand and everything is really dry.

Our tummies full of sausage we walked back to the car in the darkening night. We were the only people at Pookivaara and on Pitkäjärvi there was only one person camping which was unusual since it was July but I quess Rokua is so small park most people make only day trips there.

Back to Midsummer 2

Last post was about our Midsummer trip to Central Finland so I will continue it on this post. Our next stop was also in Laukaa at Kuhankoski canal. Unfortunately I don´t have picture of the still working canal but behind it there was an older one that is not exactly a canal but a power plant. It was originally built to produce electricity for paper factories in Jyväskylä and Mänttä. We could go to see it from a hanging bridge. Those are my sons favorite..

Next we headed back home but not yet all the way. Karhunahas is a little place at Petäjävesi. Karhunahas means a tight place for a bear. The place has gotten it´s name from bear hunting because hunters have used the clifts to get the bear in a narrow place where it could not escape. Well that was long time ago and now it´s a nice place to visit.

The main thing at Karhunahas is the rocky lake. It´s small but beautiful. There goes a little nature path around it, only about 600 meters long. There is an old little mill that looks like it has become one with the surrounding nature now.  A little stream goes towards the lake, it streams slowly in the dark forest. At the top of the clifts you can also have a nice break at lean-to with a fireplace. Evening sun was shining beautifully when we walked on the cliffs. Our dog really loved climbing on the rocks.

 

Before camping for the night we visited a sigthseeing tower close  to Karhunahas but on the side of the town Multia. It´s called Kiiskilänmäki. It was a great place to end our tour seeing the surroundings and drive home next morning.

Back to Midsummer

Autumn is here, holidays are over and we are back to the “routine” life. Back are also the darkening evenings, freezing nights and the berry season. Our freezer is filled with blueberries and cloudberries.  We have been travelling quite a lot during the summer so I´m really behind on my writing. So this text goes all the way back to the midsummer weekend in June.

We made a few days trip by caravan car to some nature sites quite nearby.  All of them are located about 150 km from our home, so it´s a short distance to us. We coudn´t travel before the night of midsummer eve so we thought  we will just drive for one hour and then stop to sleep. But when we reached our first destination, called Kulhanvuori, the night was so beautiful  we just wanted to walk the nature path then and sleep late in the morning. So you have to forgive me if the pictures aren´t the brightest because I left my camera to the car since we weren´t supposed to walk through all the path in the evening..

Kulhanvuori is a nature conservation area located in Saarijärvi. We spotted it on the map and searched some more from the internet. We walked through a 3,2 kilometer long circle path. There´s also a fireplace area, 500 meters from the parking place, which you can also reach by a wheelchair. The site was unknown to us and not very promoted but I really liked it.

First we climbed up to Kulhanvuori, vuori means mountain in finnish so it´s kind of a funny word to use for a place that´s 260 meters from the sea level. But it was a beautiful hill top anyway. We were the only ones there since the last person just left when we came. It was beautiful evening and the sun was shining through the trees. Path went down from the hill top to the forest with a nice little stream called Syvänoja. Birds were singing and mosquitos hadn´t found us.  The path was slow to walk in some parts, rocky with ups and downs. Actually it was a little canyon called Syvänojanrotko. I really liked the forest changing from dry pine forest to darkgreen spruces by the stream  and to these little lakes. There was also a little open area that used to be a homestead, few loners used to live in the area long time ago but now the marks of any living had disappeared. This small lake we passed had a lot of signs of beavers living there too.

We were back to our car way over midnigt but that´s the best part of Finnish summer, you don´t have to care about the time because it´s bright all night long. After a good night sleep and a morning walk with the dog at Kulhanvuori we continued our journey. On our way back we stopped at this old mill which had been restored.

Our next stop had also rocky paths and ups and downs. It was called Hitonhauta and it´s located in Laukaa, near the city of Jyväskylä. It was  a day that had sunshine and rain shifting. When we started our walk to Hitonhauta the sun was shining but the ground was wet. The path goes first along the small roads but turns then to rocky forest. And rocks and water can be quite a slippery combination. Sun also went hiding. This site was a lot more popular than the last one. And it was easily seen from the more worn out path.

Hitonhauta itself is 800 meters long gulley and 30-40 meters wide. It´s 10-20 deep. The path goes all the way to the other end at the bottom but you could also make a little circle up to the clifts. Near the end there was also a little cave surrounded by ferns which grew everywhere at Hitonhauta. The cave was very usefull when little rain shower surprised us. So we didn´t get wet but walking there was really slow with the wet rocks. But the path is only few kilometers long so it wasn’t too bad.

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The cave at Hitonhauta from up

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Path went through all kind of rocky places

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ferns at Hitonhauta

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ferns

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Hitonhauta

It was a beautiful place and I wish the sunshine would have come back few minutes earlier so pictureswould be nicer but ofcourse that happened when we were nearly by the car… I will continue this story at the next blog text. Beautiful Autumn days to all our readers!

We are on holiday!

IMG_20190721_143246_982It’s July and our trip to Lapland is on! So there will be a little break on our blog but we are updating our Facebook site and Instagram. My sister updates Instagram and I update Facebook.

 

But here’s some sneak peak to our trip. Happy summer to everyone!!

 

Easter holiday part. 3

This last post from Easter has taken a while to publish. First of all we had such a great weather for a long time that it didn’t feel like sitting by the computer. Then I was traveling and my sister bought a house and has been busy moving in. Now back to traveling on summer holiday, but here some memories from the spring time.

I finished our last post on the Kaarina castle ruins afer which we headed to the National park of Teijo. It´s partially an old iron foundry area. So there are still buildings in of those times in three different locations. My pictures are from Kirjakkala area which is the smallest one. Even thought Teijo is right next to the ocean the area has several lakes instead of sea shore. We also stopped at the church of Teijo which is on nice hill top at the little village.

We made a stop in several places around the national park but decided not to walk longer here, mostly because we wanted to make it to Hanko before dark. But we did walk to this beautiful cape where a lean-to  with a fireplace was located. People were fishing on the shores and having picnic at the top of the cape. I mostly like to take pictures without people but on this trip it was challenging. But someday we might to go back for a longer visit, I know my husband wants to because he bought some local beer from Teijo village shop and apparently it was good….

Hanko was little further than we originally wanted to drive but since I always wanted to visit there  and the drive from Teijo to Hanko wasn´t so long we headed there anyway. Hanko is the southest point of Finland if you don´t count the islands. At the far end, after the city of Hanko there´s harbour area as well as lot of beaches and Tulliniemi nature reserve. Not too good place for our dog, since naturally you can´t take dogs to the beach but also the nature reserve was forbidden for dogs.  So she got a bone and stayed happily in the car. The sun was setting down when we walked in the nature reserve that goes on the shore line all the way to the southest point. All the people that were still there were returning while we were just on our way there. But the sun was so beautifully setting down and the colours were amazing.

On the beach I really missed my binoculars since there were lots of birds passing by since it was migrating time.  Most of the birds right next to the shore were common mergansers and cranes heading in large groups to inner Finland. Absolutely beautiful evening. After all those crowded places it was so relaxing to walk on the beach without anyone and look at the sea. We didn´t reach the most southest point of Tulliniemi because it was getting dark and we wanted to see the older side of Hanko city.

So we turned back after walking on the more forested part of the path which some of it had old structures of a camp of female prisoners of war, kind of a spooky place. So we visited a little beach on the other side of the cape, the cape was only few hundred meters wide from point we left our car. In the middle was a harbour where they store all the new cars imported to Finland, other side was nature conservation area and on the other side a beach.

Hanko old town was beautiful, it´s filled with really decorative old villas from late 19th century. At 1879 they built a spa to Hanko which made it a popular summer city. We stopped at the Hanko casino which nowadays is a restaurant during summer time. We walked a tiny path there and on the beach. While driving away from Hanko at the east side of the cape, we got to see how long the sandy beaches actually are, they just went on and on.

After having a good night sleep near Hanko we started our journey back to home. We had the whole day to go back so we stopped at few places too. First was a place where I definately want to go back in the summer time. It´s called Häntälän notkot and it´s located in the municipality of Somero. It´s a agriculrural heritage habitat which belongs to Natura 2000 network. But it is easier to show with the pictures what the place looks like.

A nature path goes around the area and we walked trought it. During summer time cows take care of the valley so there are fences and you go inside them and walk most of the way there with the cows. Now it was so early spring they weren´t there yet but it was such a beautiful place anyway. And we were the only ones there. First summer flowers were already on blossom but I can only imagine how green the place is in summer.

Our last stop on the trip was at the national park of Torronsuo. It´s a little wetland park in Tammela. It´s the deepest wetland in Finland. The peat layer is over 10 meters deep. We walked a little nature path on the wetland and climbed to this bird watching tower.  The sun had gone behind the clouds so it wasn´t as warm as it had been so far.  The parking lot was so filled with cars we hardly fit in there. The last Easter day had gotten people really on the move. After a really fun trip to the south it was nice to go back home and start the spring work in our garden.

 

Summer start

Before publising the last part of our easter trip, due little delay ,here´s some photos from our first trip to Lapland this year. They are taken at the first week of June. As you can see it doesn´t really look like summer… When we arrived to Kilpislake most of it where still frozen..

Beginning of June is the time for little reindeers, they are so adorable!

These next photos are from Laanila, near Saariselkä, where we walk a little path.Well my son had a bike so He didn´t walk.. The path was about the history of gold mining in Lapland. First part of the week was quite cold and rest of the week was about +25 degrees celsius… That´s the best part of first summer trips in Finland you never what to expect!

 

Easter holiday part. 2

Last time my story ended at our visit to Turku center. Our next destination was the town of Naantali. I have wanted to visit there for a long time because it´s the place know from the Moomin world. Well that wasn´t the target this time since it is not open before the summer but I got nice suprise there anyway.. But first to Naantali. It was really beautiful small city by the sea and the old part of it and the harbour area was so nice. We bought some ice cream and walked along the seaside in the warm evening. The lane next the little harbour was full of little restaurants, it would be great to sit there in the summer, eat and enjoy the sea air. We walked up the hill where the church of Naantali is located. Since I have never visited there before I had no idea where the Moomin world was located. But from the top of the hill we saw a bridge and gates that led to the Moomin world. And people where going in..

So we went to check it out and the gates were open and we could walk around the Moomin park. And for free.. It is quite expensive in the summer which is one reason I have never visited there. Of course all the buildings were locked and the Moomin characteres weren´t there but seeing the place was just enough for me. So we and other tourists, most of them foreigners, circled around the island of Moomin world which isn’t huge. If I was a kid, I would probably want to come again in the summer when Moomins are home but now this was enough for me. Location on the island is great, very Tove Jansson kind of location, otherwise it´s mostly  an attraction for kids, althought many adults are huge Moomin fans too. So Naantali has a home for Moomins and in summer time for Finlands president as well. Presidents summer house Kultaranta is located close to Naantali center too. Summertime they also have some visitor days but not at spring.

 

From Naantali we continued our trip along the coast towards north. We found a little nature path which was more remoted so we could walk there in peace with our dog and have a break from are the city stop. The path went up to this rocky hill top where the village have had a dancing place long long time ago. Dancing place is actually a wrong word since it is just a smooth flat rock where the young people gathered to have fun.  Sun was shining and there was no wind. Our dog and son run around the rocks and fallen trees.

From there we drove to the area of Louhisaari manor. The manor is open for visitors only at summer but I wanted to see the places and fields. It´s a birthplace of one of our presidents, Mannerheim. Now it belongs to the Finnish Heritage Agency. The house itself is a lot different that most of manor houses in Finland. It’s white, square shaped, high building made of bricks. A tree lane leads to the yard like in the most of manors. We saw lots of deer on the fields of the manor, if I’m not mistaken, some manor owners brought deer to their grounds even from abroad to hunt them. And those deer have spread from there.

We found a parking place for the night next to a small bird watching tower by the sea. I sat in the darkening night at the tower with a glass of wine in my hand listening to seagulls yell. Northern harrier circled around and everytime it came close to the gulls they all rise to the air and tried to shoo it away.  My kind of night!

In the morning we turned our car back towards Turku partially because we needed to use some gas station services for our camper van and partially because we wanted to visit few locations in that direction. Next stop was a spare of the moment thing, I was watching the map and saw the Kuusisto piispanlinna (Kuusisto castle) at Kaarina quite close to our location. So we desided to drove there. I did´t even exactly know what it was before I googled it.. The castle was used by the bishop until the reformation when it was distroyed. There´s also the manor house of Kuusisto which nowadays is an art gallery. We walked the nature path going around the area. It was more popular place than I thought and people had come to spend the Easter day there. The path went up to the hill through an old spruce forest and continued by the side of a field to the ruins.

There are only some walls left from the structure but at its’ own time it was a very modern building. The signs informed that it had probably the first indoor toilet in Finland. The ruins are also at seaside and people had come to have a picnic on the tables that were in common use. At summer time there is also  a cafe.

 

I really liked these places, it was one of my favorite sites on our trip. We walked back to our car from the other side of the nature path which was more quiet since most of people came back the same way. Spring flowers were blossoming at the grounds already and the day was sunny and beautiful but on the seaside it´s not that hot with the constant wind. But it surely felt like spring!

 

Easter holiday part 1.

I know I many times start my blogs by writing a little bit about the weather and the season, but now it is kind of hard to write since the weather changes daily (or every hour). Temperature has been changing from over +20 degrees Celsius to minus five and snow fall. We have only had couple of snow flakes today and nothing on the ground but last weekend everything was white again.  However now it should change back to warm weather. So it is better not to take all our winter clothes to storage yet even though the summer clothes have been taken from the closet. All the trees are starting to be green again and the first garden flowers have appered. At the north some skiing centers are still open but here most of the snow disappeared around Easter time.

So to the real story part. We didn´t have strict plan when we started our caravan car for the first time this year. But we had a little direction since we wanted to go to a place where was no more snow. So we headed towards Turku and decided to stop where we would feel like it.  We ended up visiting four national parks, one strict nature reserve and many other fun places.

Our first real stop was in Puurijärvi-Isosuo national park. It is located in the municipalities of Kokemäki, Huittinen and Sastamala. It´s a real bird park since wetlands and lakes cover huge part of the area. It´s a small park with 27 km2. It was founded 1993.

And there would have been lots of migrating birds to see but it was hard to recognize the species since I forgot my binoculars home. But swans, common coots and osprey we saw atleast. Snow was already gone and the paths were pretty dry. We visited a big bird watching tower and also walked a little nature path through the wetland. Easter had really got people on the move since the parking lot was filled with cars. They had promised warmer weather than normally in April so I guess that was one reason.  And it was nice weather if you don´t count the fact that sun only peaked behind the clouds every once in a while.

In the evening we went for a nice evening walk in the Vaskijärvi strict nature reserve in Pöytyä. Sun was just setting down and birds were singing in the old spruce forest. And it was nice to walk in the forest without any other people.

It was really silent and peacefull and it´s definately a place which I want to get a better look sometime.

 

In the morning we headed to Kurjenrahka national park which was really close to the place we had stayed the night. Kurjenrahka is also really small park like most of the southern national parks.It´s 29 km2 and it´s founded 1998. It was also really crowded. Lots of families had came for a picnic and a walk in the nature.  We decided to walk only the closest and shortest path and be on our way.

We walked by the border rock of Kuhankuono which is still on the border of seven municipalities. We also met this little green fellow on our path.

Kurjenrahka also has a nature center where this funny crane pictures are from, since Kurki means crane, so it´s kind of the name bird of Kurjenrahka.

From Kurjenrahka we drove to Turku since my son wanted to visit the city also. And walking by the Aura river is always nice. Below are some pictures from Turku and I will continue our Easter story in another post.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone! We are taking advantage of the Easter holidays and starting our camper van after the winter. Temperature has gone over 15 degrees Celsius even in the shadows and southern Finland is already free from snow. We still have some of it left so the gardening work still has to wait. I will add few photos from last weeks winter views while it snowed more than 20 centimeters in one day. As you can see spring time is changing the view fast.

The melting new snow made our little river a lot bigger although this year we didn´t have real flood. But now that´s over and the sun is here again. And the butterflies and bumblebees are flying around. Cranes and swans are waking us up with their morning greetings on the field right next to our house, natures own alarm clock.

So hopefully next week we will have some new stories to tell about our Easter holiday….

Luosto fell

Days are getting longer really fast although the winter seems to be back and the sun is hiding again. (You can see the latest changes of the scenery on our Instagram.) Ten plus degrees limit was broken during few days and it felt so warm after the winter. Our yard turned into a giant pond and there´s still lot of snow left.. It´s so hard to stay at home these days, travelling bug comes out with the sun.. So I dug up these photos from a really sunny day we spend on Luosto fell, to help to ease the travelling pain.

Luosto area belongs to the Pyhä-Luosto national park and it´s located in the central Lapland in the municipality of Sodankylä. The oldest national park in Finland (Pyhätunturi national park) enlarged when connected with the area of Luosto in 2005. The fell top we climbed to is called Ukko-Luosto and it´s one of the twelve peaks of the national park. Ukko-Luosto only belongs to it partially since there are also few skiing slopes on its side. We have driven past Luosto fell so many times when it has been covered in fog so when the sun was shining from a clear sky we decided to stop and climb up. I was travelling with my son and my parents.

There is a path leading up to the rocky fell with a lot of stairs for you. The 3,6 kilometers long path is worth the climb since up there is a great view to surrounding forest and wetlands. The fell is 514 meters high, second highest peak in the national park. That is probably one reason why they have built a weather radar ball up there.

Luosto also has some hotels, cottages and even a little spa. There´s also an ametisth mine you can visit with a guide. In the summer time Luosto is quite quiet place although with a lot of reindeer.  All the cottages built in the Luosto area are from this grey KELO log which makes the small village look really pretty.  IMG_6333

Now I really have to concentrate waiting the good parts of spring, sun, warmth and the return of the migrating birds. Well, easter is nearly here so hopefully we have couple of days for a little trip…