Although I’ve been able to get outside a fair amount over the past few months for things like camping, fishing, boating, firemaking, looking for wild edibles etc., it had been about a year since I spent a larger portion of a day on the trail. I rectified this situation last Saturday at Nuuksio National Park, which believe it or not lies within the Helsinki metropolitan area.
This national park is 45 sq. kilometers/17 sq. miles in size and is growing little by little as new bits and pieces of surrounding forest are added over time. It’s located less than an hour from downtown Helsinki and is a good place for people pent up in the city to get their outdoor fix. Within the park, there are marked trails, unmarked trails and space with no trails, depending on what you’re looking for. I decided to do an easy no-brainer dayhike by covering the three marked loop trails in the park because I was in the mood for something easy. 🙂 I also did this so I could get a good initial idea of the terrain in the heart of the park, as well as to see how crowded these trails get on a Saturday in July, which is probably the busiest they get all year. While there were a good number of Finns and tourists from a few different countries on the trails, there weren’t so many as to make it annoying, which was nice.
The three loop trails I covered were the Punarinnankierros (2 km/1.2 mi), the Korpinkierros (8 km/5 mi) and the Haukankierros (4 km/2.5 mi). Between these three trails and short sections of other trails, I ended up hiking about 17 km/10.5 mi altogether. Nothing Earth-shattering, but honestly, it’s enough hiking for me in one day. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of terrain types at the park, from dark and wet low areas to dry, grassy and stony hills to conifer-covered cliffs overlooking lakes to birch forests.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking and add commentary here and there. (Again, sorry if some of the pictures don’t load properly. For some reason, Photobucket seems to work intermittently. Please try reloading the page later!).
Yes, I really do wear the Swedish combat boots while hiking!
Despite the fact that these trails are heavily trafficked, there were plenty of bilberries (related to blueberries) to be found all over.
This park really does have everything, including huts where you can spend some quality time with your significant other. Just kidding! This sign indicates that there is an outhouse to the right. Hey, when you gotta go, an outhouse can be an object of affection, too. 😉
To my Finnish readers: I think I’ve discovered “tunturi Uusimaa” here. 😉
Anyone know what kind of parasite made the red balls on these aspen leaves?
After a while, I plopped myself down on a fallen log near a small pond to eat lunch. Eh, it ain’t health food, but I…uh…needed the calories for my hike…yeah, that’s it!
This was followed by a little light reading of my favorite magazine, The Backwoodsman.
Here’s the pond where I stopped. If you get out your microscope, you can see the ducks near the center of the photo.
This is a laavu or lean-to shelter. I’ve seen plenty of these before, but never one so small/low to the ground.
And the nearby wood shack, stocked well with wood by the “Metsähallitus”. This is a government enterprise which manages state-owned land in Finland.
This is the first chaga fungus (inonotus obliquus) I’ve seen in Finland, so it was a nice surprise to find it.
This looked like an idyllic place to try my hobo fishing kit, so that’s exactly what I did.
I threaded a fake worm onto the hook.
I didn’t have any luck when using a bobber to suspend the worm in the water, so I took off the bobber and tried to fish the bottom of the lake instead. I like to wrap the line once around my finger so I can feel when a fish strikes.
I didn’t end up catching any fish (maybe because this popular lake is over-fished or because it was the middle of the day?), but the rig itself functioned very well, so I’ll be using it again for sure. I found that I liked using it even more than the telescoping pole, because I could get much more distance to my casts. We’ll see how it works out over time. After hitting the trail again, I saw more chaga.
I’m pretty sure this is the work of woodpeckers.
Nuuksio is surely a place I will visit again, though in the future I will probably stray from the marked trails and Helsinki tourists. Soon I will return to one of the places shown to me by Scandic Woodsman over the past few years. Hopefully he’ll be there as well!